Meet Dr. Caroline Hand, Associate Director of Bands, Ball State University
Dr. Caroline Hand grew up in a small town in Northeastern Oklahoma. It was there that she started her musical journey, playing the flute in sixth-grade band. Her band directors, Leigh Ann McClain and Harvey Price, saw her teaching potential and encouraged her to seek teaching opportunities in their program. By the time she reached high school, Hand was teaching in front of her peers and gaining conducting experience.
After high school, Dr. Hand went to Oklahoma State and majored in music education. After graduating, she taught band in Arkansas and Texas for a few years.
As Dr. Hand taught, she attended workshops for a variety of different topics including conducting. At a workshop held at Baylor University, she found out there was a graduate conducting assistant position available and jumped at the opportunity. After graduating from Baylor with a degree in band conducting, Dr. Hand had two options: teach band in the public school setting or pursue her doctorate in order to teach at a university level. When she closed her eyes and imagined where she would be in fifteen years, she saw herself teaching at a collegiate level. And for that, she would need a doctorate. She returned to school at the University of Minnesota.
As Dr. Hand pursued her doctoral degree, she explored the connection between community engagement and music. A passion for inclusivity in music developed during her public school teaching tenure and has continued throughout her professional career. She has been particularly drawn to finding opportunities for including people with disabilities in ensemble music making.
Dr. Hand now works at Ball State University and serves as the Associate Director of Bands at Ball State University, director of the Pride of Mid-America Marching Band, and Director of Athletic Bands. Dr. Hand is instrumental in the planning and preparations of the Concert Band Division at the Music for All Summer Symposium which is held at Ball State University. The Concert Band Division is expected to return in 2023 after the camp’s restart year in 2022 after the pandemic.
She has judged for several concert band festivals, conducted honor bands, and presented at various clinics across the country.
To women in music, Dr. Hand says: “Take risks. Even if you have an inkling about some career opportunity you want, go for it without overthinking and asking, ‘Am I good enough?’ Try it and see what happens. If it doesn’t work out, label it as a learning experience and you can try again. And if you encounter road blocks, I’m happy to help!”