If there's one thing that defines me as a person, it's my involvement in music. I'm a Band Kid and have been for the last ten years. It's crazy to think that half of my life has been devoted to music, but it's true, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Here's just a few reasons why you should either join band or fund band programs!

1. It's like a family.

In every band, there's always at least one person dubbed mom or dad. For pep band, those people are our captains and directors because they really are very parental in the ways that they guide us. But it doesn't just stop there. I was recently dubbed the mom of the flute section, because I carry around a bag that has alcohol wipes, hand lotion, and a million and a half other things to make our lives a little easier. Band really does create a found family sort of community and is a great way to make friends, especially going into college.

2. It helps with literacy.

Believe it or not, learning to read music is akin to learning another language, except this one isn't necessarily spoken. Studies have found that students who can read music are also better at picking up foreign languages, and generally read faster! This is because music requires you to read ahead in the passage and react to upcoming notes quickly.

3. You learn balance and organization at an early age.

Band requires a lot of time and effort. Throughout schooling, band students have to learn to balance music with homework and their other extracurriculars, especially if they participate in marching band or student athletics. I was a very involved student in high school and participated in a number of organizations outside of band and outside of school in general. I learned very quickly that if I didn't take the time to practice at home, I would fall behind the rest of the ensemble, and I'm grateful for the sense of organization that band eventually worked into me.

4. It can be very physically exerting.

Although I don't personally have experience with this, since my high school was too small and widespread to support a marching band, I have heard from a number of friends just what marching band entails. A week of band camp, marching through the hot sun and cold rain, all while carrying instruments, some of which are heavier than you are. Marching band kids definitely don't get the credit they deserve for their athleticism.

5. The opportunities are endless.

I can easily say that a great number of trips that I've taken have been due to band. In high school, I was able to go to Disney and to Virginia Beach with band, and so far in college, band has taken me to Albany, Miami, and California. During my high school trips, it was really exciting to see our hard work pay off as we won awards for our abilities, and now it's just as exciting to be able to cheer on our women's basketball team as they continue to go further and further.

Obviously, band is a huge part of my life, and I'm really glad that I've been able to continue playing in college. Music is something that can truly connect everyone. I feel fortunate that my family is very supportive of music, from my uncle playing bass in two bands to my cousin joining the Army band to my 2nd-youngest cousin finally being able to join her middle school band. I've also been fortunate enough to have access to instrumentation. The flute that I played from fifth grade all the way until the end of last semester was given to me by my cousin and has now been passed on to a student at my high school in desperate need of one. I urge you, if you have an old instrument that's in good repair but isn't being used, donate it to a high school music program. They're always in need of loaner instruments and usually can't afford to buy them. Kids can really flourish through doing music, but they need the opportunity to start.