6 Things That I've Learned By Joining My High School Marching Band
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6 Things That I've Learned By Joining My High School Marching Band

As my third marching band season is getting into full swing, I decided to reflect on one of the best decisions I've ever made.

6 Things That I've Learned By Joining My High School Marching Band
Jessica Baskerville

Marching band: satirically known for destroying social lives, containing the nerdiest people of high school and performing at the bubble bowl. Whenever I tell people that I'm in marching band, I usually receive a look of fake interest and concern, almost as if to say "Why?" It's an activity that is usually only brought up when it's the butt of a joke, leaving the fun and beneficial aspects overlooked.

Even though there are countless reasons why I've thoroughly enjoyed my past two years of marching band, and am currently looking forward to my next two, here are the reasons why continuing marching shines above them all:

1. I've gained strong leadership skills, even when I didn't hold a leadership position.

Leadership isn't just a title that you can put on your college application; leadership is a true skill that is developed over a long period of time. I didn't obtain a leadership position in marching band until fairly recently, and even before that, I still learned some valuable skills that helped me earn and set great examples during my various leadership positions in other extracurricular activities. Marching band forced me to develop a growth mindset, and has helped me understand that there's always room to improve. Whether it's for school, a job, a club or another extracurricular activity, the leadership I've been taught by being a part of a marching band is priceless.

2. I have a second family that I can always fall on.

Considering all of the time that I've spent with my bandmates, I've developed relationships with every single member of my band; whether it's been a relationship that's still going strong after all of these years, or it's a short-lived friendship that eventually ends in smiles and waves from across the band room. Sure, we bump heads with people from time to time, but families will always find a civilized way to combat it and will move past it. I've learned how to get along with people I never would've expected to, and I've gain lifetime acquaintances.

3. The memories I've created are stories that I will tell for the rest of my life.

I don't remember much about my freshman and sophomore years of high school, but the most prominent memories I have from those years are all from marching band. Every single competition, rough practice, football game and bus ride are all in a special spot in my mind, at my disposal to blurt out during any silences.

4. I've developed a strong sense of commitment, dedication and pride and the thoughts that people have about me go right over my head.

Being involved in marching band requires a lot of dedication and pride in what you do. It's not easy being constantly made fun of in pop culture, having drivers yell expletives at you as they drive by during practice and having the people around you not understand the amount of work and effort that goes in to what you do. Due to this, I've develop an extremely thick skin when it comes to how people perceive me. I've learned to tune out the people who are completely oblivious to how difficult marching band is and only focus on the "funny" uniforms we wear. Most importantly, I've started to base my self worth on me and me alone, instead of what pop culture defines as "cool." High school bad may not be as much of a breeze as it is for varsity sports players, but the confidence I've built has helped me way beyond just marching band.

5. Oh, the places I've been!

Arguably the best part about marching band: taking trips to go compete are incredibly unpredictable. They could have an awful start, but it could end up to be a stellar performance with great rankings. Somethings, the actual trip part is fun, but the bus ride home after the awards ceremony is miserable. Other times, it's a great trip overall. I've gone to competitions that fit in all of those descriptions, and I wouldn't trade those experiences for the world.

6. I've discovered what I'm actually capable of.

You do not know what your true abilities are if you've never been through a season of high school marching band. Every year, the new freshmen are absolutely terrified that they'll never be able to learn drill, apply marching technique and play memorized music all at the same time. Not only that, but marching band plays with every possible emotion you possess; and it may even unlock some new emotions that you didn't know existed. I've broken down a wall and another one has stood right in my way. Marching band has bent every wall inside of me and consumes most of my time while I'm not at school, and at some point, at least once during the season, you have to ask yourself, "why am I here?" It's an indescribable feeling, though, when you get to see your hard work pay off.

Marching band is dancing around your bedroom when you finally memorized that one part in the music that you've been struggling with for two months. It's crying when you initially realize that you have to balance school work, marching band and extracurricular activities. It's sighing from relief when practice is over, and feeling like you've given it your absolute all. Marching band is screaming after the announcers declare your rankings at the last competition of the season, and feeling empty on the first practice the day afterwards and realizing that the season is over. An emotional rollercoaster is how I would describe marching band, but I couldn't imagine doing any other activity that would make me feel as fulfilled and as strong as I do right now.

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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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