Marching band is more than just playing music, setting drill and wearing uniforms. Marching band is a fine art that teaches valuable life lessons. I had the opportunity to march for my former high school marching band from my eighth grade year up until senior year. Throughout the five years that I marched, I learned five life lessons that I have continued to use in my day-to-day life.
There are many parts of marching band that teach responsibility. This was definitely a life lesson I learned very quickly. In marching band, each member is responsible for learning and memorizing the music, bringing every part of the uniform to every event and making sure to attend every practice. Members are also responsible for practicing music at home on their own time. I remember that when I first started band I would sometimes forget parts of my uniform, and I didn't practice at home as much as I should have. After so long of making those same mistakes, I learned my lesson and made sure I was always prepared.
2. Time Management
Marching band constantly has something going on whether it be practice, sectionals, games, parades or competitions. Trying to balance all of that with school, jobs or other sports can get difficult. I always took honors classes in high school, and my senior year I was enrolled in college classes. Trying to balance college algebra homework with band practice got a little hard sometimes, but eventually, I learned the best way for me to manage my time and get everything accomplished. For me, knowing I had time limits to get stuff done actually made me work faster and more efficiently. This was definitely something I am glad I learned from band because it has helped me a lot with college.
Teamwork. Teamwork. Teamwork. Band is all about teamwork. There is no way around the fact that you must be a team player. Marching band has to be commanded, and when the drum major commands everyone to "halt," the command has to be done by everyone. Not only does everyone have to work together, but they also have to be in time with each other. If members don't work as a team or are out of time with each other, the band as a whole will look sloppy. Judges look for teamwork at competitions. They watch for the people who mess up, and it is easy to spot those people because they stand out easily. Also, if members don't want to work as a team, the band will not be able to function. Before any performance, our band would circle around our drum major, hands on shoulders and our drum major would lead us into the Lord's prayer. After the prayer, he or she would provide words of encouragement. That is what it means to be a team. Remember, there is no "I" in team.
4. Work Ethic
There is no doubt that band taught me to have a good work ethic. I learned very quickly that if you want something, you have to work for it and earn it. Judges just don't give a superior rating out at competitions; the band has to score the best. This means that the band needed to put in the work. Band camp is eight hours a day, five days a week, and after camp, practice is two hours for two to three days a week. That isn't including sectionals once a week, practice at home, and sometimes coming in early the morning of a competition to get one last run through. Worth ethic and teamwork go hand in hand, but work ethic also requires an individuals desire and drive. All it takes is one person to mess up to bring the rest of the band down.
The most valuable lesson that I've learned from marching band has to be the characteristics of a good leader. My senior year I was voted by my section, the clarinets, to be their section leader. That was an amazing honor for me to know that my section saw that I would make the best leader for them. Before band camp that year, all section leaders had to attend a training session with our director. That taught me a lot, but not as much as experience did. As section leader, I was responsible for a lot of things such as uniform check-offs, leading sectionals every week, helping members one-on-one and being the best mentor I could be. There is no greater feeling than knowing I was chosen to hold that position and hearing my section tell me how well I was doing. I loved being able to lead people where they needed to go, and I continued to do so in my life outside of band, even after I graduated.
Like I said before, marching band is more than playing music, setting drill and wearing uniforms. Marching band is an amazing art that teaches valuable life lessons that its members can keep with them for a lifetime. I know for a fact that I am a better person because of band. I wouldn't change a thing. Being in marching band was the best thing I ever did while in school, and I will continue to use those lessons it taught me in my everyday life.