David Willson is often called a "band directors' band director," as he has influenced many of his band students to become band directors, and they are considered by many to be among the best music educators in the Mid-South.
David spent more than fifteen years in the Mississippi public schools and has since been with Ole Miss for more than twenty years. During his time at Ole Miss, the university’s band membership has doubled while accumulating both local and national awards.
He was awarded the 2005 Frist Award for service to students and the 2006 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award. He is serving as President of Phi Beta Mu International where he is strongly promoting mentoring for band directors and serving the band profession. He is past president of the Mississippi Band Masters Association, the Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Mu, state chairman for CBDNA, NBA, and served for four years on the National Federation of Music committee. He is active in many professional organizations. His publications include "Starting Beginner Band Students," "Band Calisthenics," and "Mr. Willson's Warm Up," the last two of which are used extensively throughout the Mid-South. His articles have appeared in "The Instrumentalist," "Band World," and NFIMA and Phi Beta Mu journals. He is active as a clinician and speaker throughout the United States.
Professor Willson has always put a strong emphasis on training students fundamentally and has been equally concerned in developing students as well-rounded citizens through his philosophy of being all superior “Every Day in Every Way”. He is most proud of his former students at productive band directors.
Mr. Willson was inducted to the Amro Music Educator Walk of Fame on June 15th, 2013.