4 Of The Best Life Lessons Taught By Drum Corps
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4 Of The Best Life Lessons Taught By Drum Corps

It's so much more than "professional marching band."

4 Of The Best Life Lessons Taught By Drum Corps
Southwind 2018 FE / Photo: Leigh Persky

As a two-year drum corps veteran, it is no exaggeration when I say that performers are changed people by the end of the season. The challenges of the summer provide amazing learning opportunities that apply easily to the real world back home. Listed here are 4 of the best of these life lessons.

Be passionate in all that you do.

Photo: Ruth Marek

When people are asked to describe me in a few words, one of those words is almost always "passionate." I attribute most of this passion to my drum corps experience, which dictated that a full rehearsal run on a crappy practice field in the middle of nowhere should be filled with the same passion and energy as a show run in Lucas Oil Stadium. Of course, it was very difficult on some days to push through to the end of a rehearsal, but that energy was the expectation that had to be fulfilled.

It may seem to be an exclusive, almost fabled concept that only a select, talented few may access, but newsflash: this passion lives within everybody. Find the activity that sparks yours! Once you tap into that, you're golden. Whatever you do end up doing, you need to do it with passion or not do it at all.

Take the time to satisfy your own needs.

Photo: Patrick Cloaninger

Rehearsal was discouraging, dinner wasn't appetizing, and to top it all off, the showers were freezing. You just feel like screaming at someone. It's a feeling shared at least once by all drum corps performers. Instead of allowing that negativity to create a potentially worse situation, identify the signs of your own frustration. What makes you feel angry? What are your typical mannerisms when you are angry? By learning your own tendencies, you make it easier to tell when you need to take a step back.

Another important aspect of this is actually taking the break you need! Drum corps or not, there is absolutely no shame in taking care of yourself. One of the ways through which I coped with my frustrations on tour was writing in a journal. One of my colleagues brought coloring books with her. Whatever works best for you!

Nurture your relationships.

Photo: Ruth Marek

The friendships you make while on tour with a drum corps are often the best and longest-lasting relationships you will ever have. I have good friends several states away from my time with my drum corps. These relationships would not be as impactful as they are today if I had not taken the time to nurture them. It is exceedingly important to cultivate relationships. Friendships don't just happen, they require effort; the same goes for relationships with a significant other. Without effort, the relationship will fail.

On a more professional note, you aren't going to like everyone you have to work with. There were plenty of days when I wanted to just be done with certain people. That's life. But by reversing the frustrations and turning it into energy toward cultivating relationships between members of your team - a sports team, a business committee, a club, et cetera - you will find that the productivity and positivity of the group as a whole will skyrocket.

Embrace change.

Photo: Ruth Marek

Ask just about any drum corps veteran, and he/she will tell you the same thing: the most valuable trait to have when it comes to drum corps is adaptability. In the world of blazing summer heat and literal blood, sweat, and tears, the best thing you can do is be open to change. Those four measures you just spent two and half rehearsals perfecting? Oh, yeah...they've been cut. That drill move you've been working on since January camp? Riiight, about that...it's now July. And your dot is going to shift. Big time. It's frustrating, but you cannot let it prevent you from making progress.

If you close yourself off to changes in your drum corps bubble, you're only creating a habit of rejecting change in general. The real world will throw obstacles and changes at you like nobody's business, so once you allow yourself to shut down because of these changes, chances are that you won't be getting back up anytime soon. Instead, keep your head up and take it all in stride. Whether you like the change or not, you'll learn from it either way.

Drum corps was one of the most challenging experiences of my life, but the reward was well worth it. I feel that I speak for all drum corps veterans when I say that drum corps gives performers so many valuable life lessons through the hardships.

Take these life lessons and keep pushing. Show the world what you've got. And whatever you do, never stop learning.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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