Why Is Band Camp So Difficult?

Preparing For Marching Season In Band Camp Is Well Worth The Growing Pains

While your everything might be sore at the moment, the payoff is exponential.

Cpl. Fatmeh Saad / Marines

Marching season is just about to come into full swing. For my band, we had three days of eight hour pre-camp days last week, while this week is actual camp with five twelve hour days.

Despite stretching to our limits during stretch block, doing the actual activity is so strenuous that doing anything hurts. We stretch our backs out when reaching our tallest posture, and we use muscles left unattended while marching.

I'm our trombone section leader, so I know better than just about anyone else that holding our instrument completely still (especially while marching) is no easy task. Every muscle from our shoulders down to our fingers is strained while trying to remain at attention or continue on the move.

I recently had a revelation told to us by one of our teaching assistants: the trombone isn't actually a heavy instrument. The difficult portion is when we get into our mentality. It feels heavier than what we should be doing, and so it is heavy in our reality. We hold our instrument all the time in band class, but out on the field the physical and visual act of holding our instrument becomes a focus again just as it was when we first learned our craft.

We marchers have our differences, but everyone coming off of the field and going home again can agree that we feel physically dead. This is where the benefits start to come in.

Obviously we get more muscle memory and practice moving in our marching manner, but the pain that we feel now teaches us mental dexterity.

Anyone who has seen a marching band can tell you that being in marching band does not require someone to be athletic or even fit. We have people of all body types from all types of backgrounds in our band and every single other marching band can say the same thing.

Marching band does not require physical athleticism because it it mostly a mental activity. It doesn't take a LeBron James or Eli Manning to show up to practices and games and march a show.

Marching becomes difficult when we fine tune things. When your band director screams at you for the fifth time to do the same tedious set, you do it despite the feeling of your legs melting out from under you. When you run out of breath halfway through the opener, you take in a larger breath and pull yourself together to finish the show.

The demands placed physically and mentally upon marchers is nothing to scoff at, and so breaking our bodies during band camp to refine our will is not only necessary but a plus.

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