Austin Jay grew up in Camdenton, MO, and found a strong connection with music at an early age. Instantly getting a sound on clarinet in 7th grade sparked a drive to learn more, and that passionate stubbornness continues to motivate Austin to this day. Switching to bassoon the next year, learning saxophone for jazz, and becoming drum major of his HS band was just the beginning. Getting to conduct and regularly stand in front of a full band sound ultimately led Austin to pursue a career in music education.
Austin received a BME from Missouri State University in 2012 and a MM in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Arkansas in 2015. During his collegiate tenure, he performed with and conducted wind ensembles, symphony orchestras, jazz ensembles, countless chamber groups, pep bands, and marching bands. Austin also added euphonium and tuba to his instrument repertoire, marching contra with Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps in 2009 and 2010. He also fueled his love for conducting as drum major of the Pride Marching Band at MSU for three years before refining his craft in his master’s program. He is an alumnus of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, as well as an honorary member of both Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma.
Austin’s dedication to share music with others and provide meaningful and memorable experiences to the next generation of musicians has taken him all over the country. He taught 6-12th grade band in NW Arkansas for three years, PreK-5th grade music in Milwaukee (briefly) while working at a local music store, and 6-12th grade band in SE Texas for the last three years. During this time he also taught open-class drum corps in Wisconsin for four summers. Whether facing a snowpocalypse or hurricanes, Austin has solidified his philosophy that the need for music and music education has become even more quintessential to combating the challenges of the world around us.
In his free time, Austin enjoys being outside, building things, and playing games. He and his wife, Marie, were married in July of 2022, and they have a cocker spaniel-poodle mix puppy dog named Charlotte. After a decade of being away, Austin is so excited to be back in Missouri and to join the wonderful team here at Palen Music Center!