School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Vernon M. Whaley


HBCU, HBCU Bands, Work-Life Balance, HBCU Band Directors, HBCU Marching Band, Historically Black College and University Music


Music | Psychology


The purpose of this qualitative study is to identify common challenges and provide strategies for band directors at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), who face work-life balancing issues. HBCU band directors typically experience a high level of stress, burnout, and professional and personal role conflicts. There is a significant gap in the literature regarding how HBCU band directors maintain work-life balance (WLB) when dealing with administrative pressure, protecting the band program's reputation, and serving as a leader role-model, teacher, and mentor to their staff and students. Band directors commonly identify with or experience issues related to these research questions: (1) "What work-life balance challenges are experienced in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)?" and (2) "What work-life balance strategies are routinely employed by successful Historically Black College and University (HBCU)" band directors?" These research questions are foundational to this study? Semi-structured and open-ended live interviews are conducted with 12 (four (4) private, four (4) public and four (4) retired) HBCU band directors with varying work, professional, and family life experiences. Research is based upon online/virtual meeting platforms and interviews previously recorded and transcribed. Data analysis of the responses highlights challenges in maintaining family unit support frameworks, consistent childcare and welfare responsibilities, time and task management, family demands, and career planning. This study provides critical coping strategies for current and future HBCU band directors to follow when successfully establishing work-life balance goals.