Dear high school band senior,
You're so close to graduating, and the excitement is probably eating you up inside. You can't wait to get to college, make new friends, have new experiences, and pursue your dreams. If you're like I was, there's one thing you just don't want to leave behind-band. If you're even more like me, you'll be convinced you're not, and never will be, good enough to be a member of a college band. Allow me to tell you what you could miss out on if you don't at least try.
You could miss out on pushing yourself past your comfort zone.
The day I auditioned for the Razorback Marching Band was one of the most nerve-wracking days of my life. I barely slept the night before, I was too nervous to eat anything that morning, and to top it all off, I forgot my wallet at home and had no money with me. It wasn't starting off to be a great day, but once I finished auditioning, I was so proud of myself. I had done something that I never believed could be possible — auditioning for the band of the largest university in the state of Arkansas.
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I've learned to push myself through long, hot rehearsals. I've become accustomed to waking up at 4 a.m. for early morning game days. I've high marched for longer than anyone should ever have to endure. None of these are easy, but college band pushes you past your supposed limits, and you'll be amazed at what you can do.
You could miss out on some of your best friends.
I think the most common fear incoming freshmen have is the fear of not finding any friends at school. When you join a college band, it's almost impossible for that fear to come to fruition. You're literally thrown into a group of people who want you to enjoy your experience, like they have so far, so you almost have to try to NOT make friends.
I have met my college best friends and girls I envision standing next to me on my wedding day through my college band. Band friends keep you entertained on 14-hour bus rides to watch your team play. They suffer along with you when you're running on 10 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours. They're the people you wouldn't want to live without, and they alone make deciding to do band in college worth it.
You could miss out on incredible (free) experiences.
When you're in a college marching band, you get some really great perks. You get into all home (and some away) football games for free, and at some schools, you can get into basketball games for free. You get to travel to some pretty great places to cheer on your team(s). You perform in venues you never thought you'd step foot in, in front of people you never thought you'd perform for. Being in a college band is really a sweet deal, you play for them, and they give you a wonderful college experience.
You could miss out on learning about other majors besides your own.
One big misconception about college band is that you have to be a music major to participate, but that couldn't be further from the truth. There are majors from every college within the university represented in the band. Give me a major and I probably know someone who is studying that. I have gained respect for college majors I once thought of as "easy" or "cop-out" majors, which never would have happened had I not followed my dream of being in a college band.
So high school band seniors, I know it's scary. I know it's intimidating, and I know you might not believe you can do it. But you'll miss out on all of this and so much more if you don't even try. So DO IT and don't look back, because, boy, is it fun.