6 Things I Learned From Being In Band

Courtesy of ODYSSEY.COM

Kaitlyn Wells

With marching band season coming into full swing, I cannot help but think back on my high school years. In high school I was one of the band geeks. There was marching band to musical pit band to jazz band to pep band to show choir band to concert band… If it had something to do with the band program, chances are pretty good that I was involved with it at some point. But that is something that I was definitely not ashamed of then and I am still not ashamed of now. Band taught me so many lessons in life, but marching band taught me the most.

1. Hard work.

One thing marching band teaches you is hard work. Everyone thinks it must be easy to walk around a field and hold an instrument. Why wouldn’t it be easy, right? Wrong. Marching band is tough. It is trying. And at times, trust me, you feel like giving up. To those who think it is easy- try learning 60 sets (that is what those forms that we move to are called), the music for four songs (can I add that your music has to be memorized?), and move halfway across the field in 16 counts. However, learning hard work through marching band can help set the tone for your work ethic for the rest of your life.

2. Dedication.

To be in marching band, you have to be dedicated. You give up a week of your summer for band camp. For one week, you are on the field at 8 a.m. sharp learning the basics of marching. There are also early morning or late night rehearsals. There are times when you are at the school until 9:30 or 10 at night just to fit in those last sets; that takes dedication. You also commit to giving up at least four weekends of your fall and miss out on sitting with your non-band friends at Friday night football games. There is a lot of time and dedication that goes into being a part of the marching band.

3. Positivity

Positivity is another lesson that marching band teaches you. During those early morning or late night rehearsals, the last thing you probably want to be is positive. You are exhausted, you are stressed, and you are about ready to yell at the person next to you for forgetting their spot for the fifth time that rehearsal. You can’t do that though, because yelling would only make matters worse. Marching band teaches you to constantly encourage those around you and to be positive in all situations, even if you are in the worst of moods.

4. Respect

That is a small word that holds a lot of meaning for me when it comes to marching band. There are many times that you do not agree with the director, the drum majors or the section leader. However, out of respect for them you do not fight it. Those people are in charge of you and in order for things to run smoothly and for you to be the best you can be, you have to respect them. And if you are lucky, they will return the same respect back to you.

5. Pride

Nothing brings more pride than representing your school and your community all over the state and the country. Many directors push this on their bands- pride in what you are doing and pride in where you come from. Being proud of where you come from and what you are doing is essential to participating in marching band- the pride you have really does show when you are out on the field performing.

6. Family

Family is by far the best part of marching band. Marching band connects you with so many people who you might have not otherwise found. It is easy to find your best friends in marching band, and you know that you are part of an organization that will always have your back. Whether it be a rough day at school or a serious problem at home, the family that is formed within the marching band will always be there to listen to your struggles and be your shoulder to cry on.

Hard work. Dedication. Positivity. Respect. Pride. Family. Those are all lessons that I learned in just four short years of marching band. So you see, being a band geek is not really that bad. Sometimes being a band geek can teach you the best lessons you will ever learn.

6 Reasons Why Marching Band is a Sport

Courtesy of ODYSSEY.COM

Larissa Kristen Rucker

 

Marching band. It’s one of the oldest ways to celebrate something, and one of the things people most look forward to during parades. There have even been movies, TV shows, and even songs about it. Marching band is also used–in the form of pep band– to jazz up sports games, and halftime shows; playing music the crowd knows and can get involved in. And it is also a vital part of many teens’ middle school, high school, and college experience–including my own (I was in color-guard). One thing, though, that I hardly ever see discussed, that I think should be, is how band is a sport. Yes, really. I think it’s even at the level of football. And here’s why.

1. The definition

By definition, a sport is: an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. Which is exactly what marching band is. There’s even a scoring system, and after almost every parade with bands, there’s an award ceremony where the bands receive there scores and find out their place.

2. The time commitment

Free time? What’s free time? Just like any other sports practice, band practice is held almost every day. Once someone joins band, it’s time to say goodbye to their social life. During school, whatever free time you have during the day is occupied by band. After school is occupied by band. A free Saturday becomes a myth. Sunday is the time to recover… for about five minutes before you practice the song or movements you need to improve on.

3. Especially if you’re a part of something else

Marching band is already a huge commitment, but if you’re part of color-guard or the drum line… the phrase ‘free time’ leaves your vocabulary. The practices start even earlier in the year, and go even longer. Not only are there separate judges for color-guard and drumline, but there are also separate competitions: Winterguard and Drum Corps. And both go all the way to international competitions. How many sports can you think of that have that?

4. The strength it requires

Marching itself, with the choreographed movements throughout the performance of the band, is already pretty exhausting. But, the people in it are also lugging around their instruments. Some of them, like the sousaphones (the big silver instruments above) weigh 30-35 pounds. And drums, depending on their size, come in at around 20. Even if the instrument isn’t incredibly heavy, it has to be held up throughout the performance, or even the whole parade, which still requires some pretty serious arm strength. There’s usually some great muscle hidden under a band uniform.

5. Including the mental strength

The first part of the mental strength band kids have comes from dealing with band practice. If the instruments or equipment won’t be too damaged when practice is finished, a band director won’t call it off. I’ve been through band practice in extreme heat, rain, snow, a hurricane… Well, just kidding. Only the first three.

The second part comes from the mental strength band kids need to get through a parade. They have to remember the entire performance choreography, their music, their cues, what they need to improve on, to check that they are still in line with those around them… and that’s only one performance. But the song is played at least two or three times in a parade.

6. Field Band

Marching band is crazy, but field band is even crazier. And most bands do both. Everything mentioned above is multiplied by about 1,000. Practices can last all day, and even well into the night. And they go the whole band season. A multitude of songs are played, and the performances are even longer. Sometimes, there’s even more running than marching. A good example of a field band is Ohio State (pictured above). How is that not a sport?

Marching band and field band are widely loved by those in it, and those who watch. Lots of time, effort, and even money go into each performance you see. I believe that marching band should be given the recognition it deserves and finally be called a sport.