Susan Morden is the Band Director at Buddy Taylor Middle School (BTMS) in Palm Coast, Florida. In her own words she recounted how and why she became a band director, saying:
"I began my band career in middle school in Ocala. My father was my middle school band director and he persuaded me to play the trombone. He and I would drive 30 minutes to school each day and talk about band. It was during this time that I decided I would be a band director. I began taking trombone lessons from the trombone professor at Stetson University my freshman year of high school and later decided to attend Stetson University. After four years, I became the band director at BTMS in 2007" .
Ms. Morden is also the Assistant Band Director at Flagler Palm Coast High School (FPC). The band program at FPC is producing college bound students majoring in music performance and/or music education. It is not only about music. Just as important, the band program at FPC teaches all its students the value of hard work and organization and instills in them, problem solving and leadership skills.
While Ms. Morden's efforts at FPC directly contribute to that programs success, her efforts at BTMS inspire students to begin their journeys as musicians and build the skills necessary for them to become successful high school band members. During her time at BTMS, they have started several new programs. The mentor program has been started where high school students go to the middle school to teach students who play the same instrument. The All-County bands were also started six years ago to give the students a unique musical experience with a guest conductor. For the first time, this year, the BTMS band performed at the Stetson Universtiy Honor Band Invitational. A jazz band has been formed, giving students the opportunity to learn how to play a different, exciting genre of music.
Ms. Morden has a keen intuition regarding how to communicate with and motivate students, in many cases reaching students who may otherwise have fallen through the cracks in the system, giving them something to strive for. The parents and students at BTMS and FPC greatly appreciate the hard work, long hours and love Ms. Morden puts into making the band programs at BTMS and FPC successful. Thank You Ms. Morden!