1. Family - Band provides another environment and family atmosphere for band members to lean on. There will be ups and downs as with any family, but band provides its members with a unique habitat of students that will support them both during good times and bad. For our underclassmen, there are many upperclassmen to learn from who have been through what they will experience. For our upperclassmen, they will learn to develop leadership skills and give back to others in the way someone gave to them.
2. Camaraderie in the joy of music making - While the band members and staff do work hard, we also enjoy one another's company on a daily basis making great music and enjoying sharing our musical gifts with others. Our primary goal as musicians is to entertain and share great music with our parents, alumni, and community. Whether it is playing stand tunes at the football game to fire the team and the crowd up, performing our unique and high energy competitive show at half time or contests, jamming out with our jazz bands or percussion ensembles, lightening the mood of the season through pops music on a concert, or sharing passionate and sophisticated literature through our concert bands, there is no end to the wonderful music that we enjoy with one another. We strive to perform at the highest level but of course, there is great joy in doing what we do.
3. Self Confidence - Band affords its members to benefit enormously from participating on a team that breeds excellence. All 275 of the students are a part of the greater whole. We experience success and failure together, we learn how to handle ups and downs together, and most importantly your band member can take pride in knowing that they contributed to something greater than him or herself, and can take ownership in the group. Band also provides our members with a model of excellence that can boost their confidence in their own abilities in other classes or activities. Band members will learn that they really can accomplish goals with a clear plan and a high level of discipline, and will be able to tackle other projects outside of the band with direction and purpose.
4. Commitment - Band teaches the ability to practice and learn to follow through. “ Doing what I say I will do when I say I will do it. ” Band members learn by committing to a practice schedule, accepting responsibility to complete a task, and making a promise to their teammates to see a task through to its conclusion. Participation in a team sport, and sticking it out when it isn't always fun or the rewards aren’t always tangible at the moment is a lesson that benefits band members far beyond the music classroom.
5. Conflict Resolution - With 270+ members on the team, conflicts are bound to happen. Band members will face conflict in their lives within their families, with friends, and will also have to learn how to deal and work with people they just plain don’t like. Learning to work through these challenges is a unique opportunity posed through participating in a large team sport. Band members will not just “ learn concepts ” of conflict resolution, but will practice them through the course of their season. They will gain valuable coping skills both in learning how to “ blow off steam ” productively and also in how to resolve disputes as they arise.
6. Giving up Video Games - For many, video games are fun. They develop hand-eye coordination and are a great stress release. Unfortunately, they can also become a detriment to productivity. Facebook, social media, television, and other activities are often more fun than the “ to-do ” list, and the band will help its members learn the importance of giving up unnecessary distractions and prioritizing.
7. Life is not fair or always fun - Despite our best efforts, sometimes life isn't fair and it most definitely isn't always fun. Learning how to handle disappointments as well as develop systems for dealing with disappointment is an important part of being in the band. We won ’ t win every competition, band members won ’ t win every chair test, and sometimes they will do everything to the best of their abilities ... and things still won ’ t go their way. Learning how to bounce back from these disappointments will benefit them long beyond their time wearing a band uniform.
8. No matter how good you are, there is almost always a “ faster gun”. There is almost always someone better. In the competitive world, we live in, many strive to be at the top. Learning how to handle the fact that you will not win every competition, and you will not always be the best is an important skill. Whether it is through competition in marching band, chair tests, the region process, band enables your band member to learn that striving for personal excellence is a far more important goal than “ being first place. ” While it is always great fun to win or see our names at the top ... an equal amount can be gained through simply achieving personal goals, and we need not be discouraged or feel as though the only priority is to be the best. And learning how to handle when we aren’t always on top teaches that the world will not end if we do not win, or if we aren’t number one in our class. We can celebrate others accomplishments when they are doing well as we would want others to celebrate with us as we achieve goals.
9. Instant Gratification or Shortcut? Patience - There is no shortcut to excellence at playing a sport or an instrument, or achieving high marks in the classroom. Each requires diligent study, focused practice and a high level of commitment, as well as patience. Band members will learn the level of dedication required to achieve excellence in any one skill. Music provides a wonderful outlet for this as it is something that can provide a great deal of enjoyment at all levels and can take the edge off the pursuit of excellence. However, the pursuit of excellence often comes with bumps in the road and demands perseverance and patience. Farming, hunting, sports, sculpting, crafts, and music all can provide outlets for students to develop patience. In their jobs and pursuits someday, “ slow and steady wins the race ” will benefit them enormously over those who give up long before your band member will.
10. Workforce - The real world expects its employees to show up on time. It expects a level of discipline and follows through, and it expects that if an employee gets paid to do a job, they will do it. There are bosses, co-workers, data reports, and plenty of detractors. Employees who perform at a high level are promoted, those who do not perform well are demoted, and those who do not follow the rules or become complacent are replaced. The band is truly a “miniature playground for the real world ” and places real-world expectations on its students that build character and teach independence. While some students are “ intrinsically motivated, ” others benefit greatly from the structure and discipline band provides.
11. Balancing Act - It often seems like our band members who are involved in most activities, AP classes, and top bands are also the kids who achieved the highest grades. Of course, high school will be different for each and every student. Ultimately, learning how to balance the many requirements of school and band is no different from learning to balance a job, mortgage payments, taking the kids to activities, building in vacation or family time, and other skills that adults face in their lives. While they are “ just teenagers, ” learning to balance on their own will prepare them as they head off to college. College requires a high level of independence, and many college students either fail out after their first semester or burn out under the stress of work. Band will provide students with tools to help overcome these stresses, and ensure they learn how much is possible in a day, and how to manage their time efficiently.
12. Rewards - A great sense of joy and satisfaction comes from achieving goals either as an individual or as a team. Band members will be able to celebrate their victories at all levels. Whether it is simply overcoming the hurdle of checking off a single measure of music, achieving a personal victory they did not believe was ever possible, or learning the exuberance and exhilaration that comes from a team winning an event together.
Sometimes, the greatest rewards are those that come from gaining strength through failure or realizing that the sun will indeed come up tomorrow, and you get a fresh chance with each time you start over at something. These rewards become even sweeter the older our students get, and they learn how to truly cherish the rewards of hard work heading into college and the real world.