J. Nick Smith is Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands for the School of Music & Dance at Eastern Michigan University. He conducts the Symphonic Band, teaches courses in Music Education, and directs the “Pride of the Peninsula” Marching Band and Basketball Pep-Bands. Smith holds advanced degrees from University of Minnesota (Doctor of Musical Arts, Wind Band Conducting) and the University of Michigan (Master of Music, Wind Band Conducting). His primary conducting teachers were Emily Threinen and Michael Haithcock.
Smith, the 2021 First Prize Winner of the nationally adjudicated “American Prize in Conducting – Band/Wind Ensemble division,” has professional experiences ranging from work with middle school musicians through adult, community, and professional ensemble musicians. Smith currently serves as the Music Director for the Ann Arbor Civic Community Band (annarborcivicband.org), but has had recent engagements with the Encore Wind Ensemble (www.encorewinds.com), Medalist Concert Band (www.medalistband.com), the Neoteric Chamber Winds (www.neotericwinds.org), and the 34th Infantry Division Band. Smith has been recently active as an international conductor and clinician in Beijing, China and the surrounding areas where he has engaged over fifteen local band programs over a five-year period. And, active as a guest clinician, Smith has collaborated with numerous local and regional ensembles, festivals, contests, marching band festivals, and honor ensembles in the areas he has been employed.
As an experienced public-school educator, Smith served a total of six years at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As Director of Bands, the Hillcrest High School Wind Ensemble received all “Superior with Distinction” ratings at all Music Performance Assessment events, was invited to perform at several local and national festivals, and had the highest number of students in the history of the band program selected for the Alabama All-State Festival.
Smith earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Auburn University, where he was named the “Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the College of Education.” Among serving as Head Drum Major for the Auburn University Marching Band and principal trumpet of various ensembles, he was also President and Treasurer of Kappa Kappa Psi,and Founding President for the student chapter of the National Band Association.
Smith is an active member of the College Band Director’s National Association (CBDNA), Life Member of Kappa Kappa Psi, and Honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma.