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Meet Yamaha Master Educator Dr. Travis J. Cross

Band and Orchestra Group
Professor of Music, Director of Bands
University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Travis J. Cross is a Professor of Music and Director of Bands at UCLA, where he conducts the wind ensemble and symphonic band and directs the graduate wind conducting program. His diverse areas of expertise make Cross an ideal presenter for any session designed to enhance the skills of the earnest band director.

For example, his session on the role of the conductor explores the profound relationship between conductor, score and ensemble, as well as common barriers to success, progress and growth. Another session provides directors with strategies to increase the level of students’ individual musicianship skills by empowering them to think, listen and use movement to enhance the performance experience.

As an engaging and active conducting clinician, Cross often utilizes real-time participation, where audience members form small ensembles that Cross conducts. This “real-time” problem-solving approach assists directors in understanding how they may use these techniques in their own classrooms.

Cross is an ideal director for honor ensembles, as he has a profound understanding of music-makers at any age. His dynamic personality engages students quickly, which inspires them to perform at the highest level. His ability to choose the right concert material provides a solid base for enhanced student learning.

Core to his own teaching approach are the tenets of listening, problem-solving and active engagement within the ensemble. On the podium, Cross seeks to conduct not just the music, but also the players — the people who bring the music to life. This subtle shift focuses his words and gestures on how to motivate, educate and instigate the players to make effective and musical sounds. He is passionate about assisting and mentoring educators of all levels, specifically early-career band directors, building connections between university and high school programs.

A few of Dr. Travis Cross’ session titles are:
  • Better than Before: Questions and Ideas for Successful and Sustainable Teaching After the Pandemic
  • The Interactive Rehearsal: Empowering Students to Think, Listen and Move
  • We are What We Play: Developing a Programming Philosophy
  • The Conductor’s Role
  • The State of Our Art
  • Zero to Concert in 48 Hours: Strategies for Success with Honor Bands

To learn more about clinics by Dr. Travis J. Cross, please contact Jalissa Gascho at