Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I like about marching band.

This post is not about homeschooling. Or autism.

This post is about something I did not get to do when I was in high school.

This post is about what I like about marching band in general and about our marching band. The points are in no particular order. I typed them out as I thought of them. (I am not sure why I numbered them.)

1) Music. Music affects the brain. Hearing it. Playing it. Especially playing it. The math involved in playing music keeps the brain active and growing. Music can uplift you when you're down or dragging.

2) Neurological multi-tasking. Marching and playing at the same time is challenging. And it grows neurons that you'll use later for multi-tasking through college and in the workplace, for multi-tasking as a parent.

3) Discipline. Yes, the rehearsals are hard work. You must memorize music. You must memorize drill. A lot of the work is repetitive and boring. The discipline you experience and practice is a foundation for discipline later, through college, in the workplace, as a parent. The discipline of being a part of a team like a marching band is experience that you'll take with you through life.

4) Teamwork. Every part of a team is important. Every part contributes. There is amazing satisfaction in coming together with a team, working hard alongside/with a team, to accomplish a show. And the teamwork is very different from that of a sports team, where the goal is to defeat opponents in games. In sports, teams try to go after an opponent's weakness and to shut down an opponent's strong scorer. The teamwork in marching band is about self-improvement and group-self-improvement, competing with self, comparing results with self over time.

5) Camaraderie.

6) Time management. Yes, from July through November, a good chunk of your time will be consumed by rehearsals, football games, and contests. You give up a lot of computer time, video game time, free time during those months. Yes, the time management experience will serve you well throughout life.

7) Sacrifice. You get an opportunity to see the benefits of sacrificing what you want to do (computer chats, shopping, goofing off) for the good of the team.

8) Resilience. Students mess up. They keep going. Judges make mistakes or make calls we don't agree with. The kids keep going.

9) Flexibility combined with creative problem solving. Our band staff takes judges commentaries very seriously. Instead of insisting that the show they put together back in July is perfect, they have taken constructive criticism seriously and made adjustments where needed. Our staff model flexibility and creative problem solving for the students; the students practice flexibility in tweaking the show until the show is the way the directors want it.

10) Manners. Our band is taught to be respectful in all situations, from rehearsals to football games to competitions. The kids remain perfectly still in situations where we all know they wanted to dance and scream. (Interestingly, our kids were the only band at a recent competition to remove their shakos for the national anthem.)

11) Generosity. Our kids applaud other bands at competition. Our parents applaud other bands at competitions. Applauding another band takes nothing away from our own band.

12) Education and history. The fine arts camp my daughter attended during two summer vacations names cabins after composers. Imagine our delight to make the connection that she stayed in the cabin called Bizet and is now playing tunes from Carmen with the marching band.

13) Proprioception. That body awareness thang. Marching backwards, marching sideways while facing straight ahead without checking your neighbors' locations requires you have a good sense of where you are in space and helps students experience and grow in this area.

14) Trust. When you're marching backwards, or sideways, you must trust that your bandmates are doing what they're supposed to do so that you don't crash into them on a trek across the football field during your precision marching.

15) Lots of practice hours. In his book Outliars, Malcolm Gladwell tells us that 10,000 hours of practice at anything = success. During marching season, marching band students get many more hours of playing music than most non-marching students.


7 comments:

Jay Maurice said...

Penny, i know this article was written a few years back but i just found it now. What a great read. I'm a music educator myself and and couldn't agree more with your thoughts on Band.

Fred said...

Penny, I thoroughly enjoyed your article! My wife and I met, 48 years ago (good grief!) standing side-by-side in our college marching band. We celebrate our Forty-Sixth wedding anniversary in two weeks! The many benefits of Marching Band cannot be over-estimated --- after all, we're still marching in step! God Bless Music Educators everywhere! :-)

Fred said...

Penny, I thoroughly enjoyed your article! My wife and I met, 48 years ago (good grief!) standing side-by-side in our college marching band. We celebrate our Forty-Sixth wedding anniversary in two weeks! The many benefits of Marching Band cannot be over-estimated --- after all, we're still marching in step!

Emerson Allen said...

Awesome and still true I will share this with my radio audience as I have my Band Drum Majors on the show. School Talk with Emerson http://myradiostream.com/wbdg

Friday 9/12/2014
replay on https://audioboo.fm/channel/wbdgfm

Thanks. Emerson.

Chanelle Yarber said...

Hi Penny,

I really enjoyed your article and it applies directly to information I'd like to share on a company blog I manage for CenterStage Tours. Would you mind if I use this as a guest blog and cite you with links?

http://centerstage.cetours.com/blog-2/

Thanks in advance,
Chanelle

Penny said...

Chanelle Yarber, I am honored, and yes, you may use this as a guest blog. :)
Penny

Chanelle Yarber said...

Thank you so much! I will reply with a link for your reference when it is reposted! Take care! :-)

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou -

Stat Counter