Paul Stroud was born September 18, 1911 in Henderson, Texas, and was also raised there. Following his graduation from Allen Academy, he studied trumpet privately in Natchitoches, Louisiana then returned to the booming east Texas oil fields of the early 1930's. Acquiring other musicians through Billboard Magazine, he organized and led a dance band that performed in hotels and dance clubs throughout the oil field area. In 1933, before the existence of school bands, Paul began teaching an organized class of 40 students from the Henderson area each paying $6.00 a month for lessons. His successful "Private Music School" soon ended as students became unable to continue paying the fee. He then returned to professional playing, and while performing with the Garth Green Band, Paul met J.T. Cox, then band director at Stephen F. Austin State College in Nacogdoches, Texas. Cox encouraged Paul to enroll in school at Stephen F. Austin, and provided much assistance and guidance as Stroud began his Bachelor's degree program. At the same time, Paul began teaching at Rocky Mount School near Overton, Texas, where his bands won outstanding ratings in regional and state competitions. In 1943, Paul began teaching at Spring Hill School near Longview. During his 7 years there, the band won many Sweepstakes awards.
In 1955, Paul was one of the first band directors of the area to specialize in junior high school band work. During 10 years at Lufkin Junior High, the band won 10 consecutive U.I.L. Sweepstakes awards. In 1961 Paul returned to the Longview area and taught at junior high schools in Longview I.S.D. for 2 years, and in Pine Tree I.S.D. until his retirement in 1977.
During his teaching career, Paul was an active member of T.M.E.A. and T.B.A. He served on the state U.I.L. Music Advisory committee and on the U.I.L. Music Selection committee for Concert and Sight-Reading competitions. In 1974, Paul received the Bandmaster of the Year award from T.B.A. He was the first director chosen for induction into the Stephen F. Austin Band Directors Hall of Fame at Stephen F. Austin State University in 1980.
During his 41 years as a music educator, Paul Stroud has been described by many as the "master teacher" and "the band director's band director". His grand-fatherly approach in teaching young students has brought him much respect and admiration from many students, parents, and friends throughout east Texas