I've been a band kid since I was in middle school, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I've had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York and was Band President my senior year of High School.
But there have been moments that made me raise my eyebrows, grow a couple of gray hairs, and wonder "Does this only happen here or are most band kids like this?"
No matter how many times I've raised my eyebrows at some people, I would never trade being a band kid.
Being a band kid isn't something anyone should be ashamed of.
After all, some of the greatest movies wouldn't be that great without the music score. Any music program is a great one to be a part of, whether it be band, chorus, or orchestra.
Anyone debating whether or not they should be in band should have support and encouragement behind them, no matter their choice. I can't promise it will always be rainbows and happy moments — that's just a part of life — but it is still full of lessons and experiences.
If you're a band kid reading this, embrace it.
I made some of the best memories I'll ever have. Here are seven things you can relate to if you are, or were, a band kid:
1. You belt out songs with fellow band kids.Giphy
It doesn't matter if it was a song played on the radio every single day, a bop from the early 2010s, or a song that became a meme (yes, a meme). I can't count on my fingers how many times I've heard Twenty One Pilots, the John Cena theme song, and a seven-note lick on the piano.
And what band kid hasn't belted Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" at football games, competitions, and end of the year banquets? Not the most in-tune when it comes to singing, but what can we say, playing our instruments is more our forte.
2. You make and share memes.Giphy
I can't say I've ever made one, but we all have that friend in the band who makes memes which turns into a group of people making memes.
Are you really a band kid if you haven't seen or shared at least one band meme or video calling out the piccolo for ruining our ears or relating to band tan lines that seem like they'll never go away?
3. You "memorize” the music.Giphy
At every parade and football game there's always that one kid who, no matter how many times the band director and leadership reminds us and drills it into our heads, forgets their stand, music, and/or flip-folder.
And, when the band director comes by and asks "Where's your music?" they do that classic "It's all up here" while pointing to their heads (Disclaimer: it's never really "up there").
4. You forget equipment.Giphy
I've seen everything from people forgetting their shoes for marching band practice to forgetting their sheet music for a concert. Before I got to high school, apparently someone left their instrument at home while they, along with the rest of the band, were already in a different state for a performance.
I'm very relieved to say that I have never experienced that while in band.
5. You have a massive amount of inside jokes.Giphy
You can't expect to be a part of band and not have inside jokes.
The friends made within band are unique within themselves; these are the people you spend most of your Friday nights and practice days with, the people you ask "Hey, how was the test you had to study for last night after the concert?," and the people who you'd spend competitions with.
Pretty soon all we have to do is give each other a look from behind our music stands, and we know exactly what we're talking about.
6. You have band tan lines.Giphy
Every band kid that has done marching band has gone through the process of receiving the not-so-lovely band tan lines from our shoes, tank tops, sun glasses, shorts, and our stylish fit-bits on our wrists.
They're especially fashionable on Homecoming night and more difficult to even out than you'd think (I just evened mine out, and I'm about to be a college sophomore). But hey, at least you're tanning!
7. You just roll your eyes now when people ask, “Is band a sport?”Giphy
Depending on the person you ask, you could get various answers and various versions of the same answer. When it comes to people saying "Band isn't a sport," I've chosen my words carefully when I explain my take on it.
Band has a foundation of passion, dedication, and hard work. Band kids still stretch and hydrate throughout practice and before performances.
We run reps over and over and over during summer heat, lose sleep on school nights after long rehearsals, go home from practice, football games, and performances thinking "I could have done better," and give our blood, sweat, and tears along with the hours we put into practicing our music and performances.
All aspects of marching band - from winds to percussion to color-guard - take skill, agility, repetition, and an openness for failure; you know you're a band kid especially when you hear the phrase "One more time," for the ninth time.