6 Things I Learned From My High School Band Director

6 Things I Learned From My High School Band Director

Behind every band geek is the person who taught them how to put their left foot first.

High school was a strange time. It acted as a transitional period from the preteen angst of middle school to the pretend-adulthood of college. I learned a lot in my four years, including how to procrastinate effectively and when it was acceptable to wear sweatpants (every day). However, some of the more practical and meaningful lessons I gleaned from the time I spent on the marching field or in the band room. Coaches are often praised for their life advice, but I'm taking this opportunity to give credit where it's due: to high school band directors. Here are six tidbits I learned from mine:

1. When to act professionally... and when to have fun.

Our band director knew how to get down to business; he did not mess around when it came to performance days or precious rehearsal time. I remember all the prank wars on the boys' floor during band camp (stolen mattresses, barricaded doors, silly string, etc.). When our director heard about it... he swiped all of their pillows during sectional rehearsal. It's necessary to be professional sometimes, but it's just as important to let loose and join in the shenanigans.

2. "Don't do anything stupid."

Every year, during the week before prom, our band director would tell us, "Don't do anything stupid. I want to see you all in class on Monday." This advice is still applicable, even though we're not reckless and naive adolescents anymore (maybe). Want to take six shots the night before an exam? Don't do anything stupid, unless you're prepared to deal with the stupid consequences.

3. Family comes first.

A couple years ago, our band director transferred to a different school closer to home, so he could spend more time with his wife and kids. His former students miss him, but he has my respect. Family > career, without a doubt.

4. Money isn't everything.

Anyone pursuing a degree in music, education, or (even better) music education must take this saying to heart. Our band director spent countless unpaid hours working on marching band drills and planning trips and activities for his students because he was dedicated to and enjoyed his job. If you have the privilege to pursue something you love, do it! There are better things to be than a billionaire.

5. If you love something, don't quit.

I can't tell you how many times I was encouraged (rather sternly) not to give up music when I started college. Whether you join pep band, a jazz ensemble, or even a choir or theatre group, your passion for music doesn't have to be left behind with your cap and gown.

6. Music is more than the weekly top 40.

Clearly, I learned a thing or two about music from my band director. Titles, composers, dynamics, time signatures, the way good music feels. Music has a complex and colorful history, from classical to jazz to rock and roll. We not only played music together, but we also listened and learned to appreciate music for more than catchy rhythms and thumping bass lines.

Cover Image Credit: Savannah Now

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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