The Band Kids
They never back down from a challenge, there is no competition tough enough, and they always seek to lift spirits on rainy and dreary days.
No, this is not the Army, Marines, or Navy, this reference is to the band kids. The same band kids arrive on the football field before the sun has even risen, and it is their music that encourages the sun to rise every morning. There are however, many varying types of marching band kids. There are those students who are not team players, those who would not care one way or another whether or not the band sunk into despair and lost its prestige. This revelation will bring to light the different types of marching band kids who are not always beneficial to the ensemble.
This is to help recognize how each individual can improve in both life, and band; without improvement, how else would our band emerge as the number one band at the State Marching Festival? First we will address the “why didn’t I just hit the snooze button” marching band kid. Joining the band means showing up to every practice, not staying at home because “I had a headache” or “I had too much homework.” You sit on the sidelines and slowly and meticulously assemble your instrument, minutes after the other members of your section have begun their warm up scales. Even towards the end of the season, when dirt is kicked into the air by constant marching, and the field resembles the dust bowls of the 1930s; the rest of the band members still summon their reserves of strength to make the exhausting run back to their sets. However, you lag behind and don’t even realize that you are the focus of the angry shouts of “remember to run on the field.
” Why is it that they are always the last people to return from the water breaks? Don’t forget the angry scoffs and snarls that they give when they are told they are doing something wrong that requires extra work to fix. It sometimes looks like their eyes are going to roll right out of their heads when they hear something they do not approve of by either the drum majors or their section leaders. It seems like the snooze button sounds more appealing than the early morning practices, and the so called “terrible” people that are members of the band. This is the group that you will find at the back of the pep talks, and generally at the back of the pack when it comes to musical talent. By simply working on keeping a positive mindset, this group could eliminate the negative energy that is eerily present at every practice.
The band could be much more efficient without worrying about the negative attitudes. Although one of the most frustrating, this is not the only group that is not completely beneficial to the ensemble. Next, we will address the “marching band only means marching?” band kid. They adore everything about marching band, from the people to the practices, they love the entire band atmosphere. They always show up on time, and even more importantly they never walk on the field! Everywhere you look they are giving it their best effort, but then again, there is the part about them never actually playing the music. Maybe they took the whole “marching” aspect too seriously, or they just think the music during the show is being projected from a radio, or perhaps the press box.
Whatever the case, they have totally missed the whole “band” concept of marching band. After the NAU band day competition, the judges wanted to know how it was possible for an ensemble as big as we are, to play as soft as we did. Perhaps the better question is, how many band members are no longer playing during that song? It is this group that desperately hopes the cameras at competitions do not zoom in on them. They pray that they avoid detection, because if a camera did catch them, the audience would see no fingers moving franticly as the other band kids are. At after school sectionals, they have perfected the art of faking their notes, or playing soft enough to avoid detection from even the most accurate tuners. Making it look as if they are playing everything right, but you can see right through them like a ghost.
It doesn’t take the worlds greatest detective to see that this group doesn’t know their music. A team is only as strong as its weakest link. The band’s music scores would increase drastically if this group would learn their notes, and their rhythms, and even their dynamics. Overall, it would benefit the band as a whole if they would learn their music and contribute on the field. Finally, we address “the god child” marching band kids.
They understand every note and syncopated rhythm in their music, and they never miss a beat when they march, and they never walk on the field, and they occasionally even show up to practice early! There is only one problem with this type of band kid, they have a small problem with authority. It is not a problem with listening to band council members, or any specific group in general. It is a problem with thinking they are superior to everyone else, thinking that they are “perfect.” Please stop telling everyone what to do. Do not think that the band is unappreciative that you know how to do everything “perfectly,” we just want you to keep it to yourself. They will throw glances towards you during one or more of the practices, and you know that you should prepare answers to the questions that are sure to come.
It is a dreaded feeling to look out as the sea of band kids separates as they march towards you, to declare aloud all your impurities and imperfections. Oh, was I out of step? My tuning is terrible? I need to work on my tone, really? Seriously, we all admire your enthusiasm, and we respect what you are trying to do. In fact, most of us are in your gratitude for helping us fix certain rhythms or visuals. Just remember that you are in the same grade level with some of us, and that you may not even have a leadership position in the band. It sometimes feels like these “poachers” are on patrol, hunting for the helpless freshman like the bosses hunted for the weak at the meat packing industries.
It is never about what you do right, only what you make a mistake on. They only want to make the band better, but it just comes across as being constantly “talked down to.” Although the help is sometimes needed, it is not always wanted. This type of band kid needs to understand the delicate balance between the two. Once the balance is discovered, the band can proceed to improve in complete harmony. There are many distinct and diverse types of marching band members that make up the “Eagle Pride” marching band.
There are those kids who can barely roll out of bed every morning to come to practice, those who march perfectly whilst forgetting every note in the whole show, and finally the kids who are constantly giving out advice that is not always desired. The band is only as strong as its weakest link, if the three types of kids mentioned in this essay work diligently to improve their work ethics and their attitudes; they would be better prepared to take on life’s variety of challenges, and they would be able to focus more on helping the band as a unit in the future, not to mention get the band that much closer to earning the state title it so rightfully deserves.