. My Kid Doesn't Wantto Do Marching Band
Sadly, sometimes we have students who want nothing to do with marching band. This notion leaves me wondering why that is. Is it because it seems like a lot of work? Is it because it encompasses a lot of time? I am not really sure, but I thought it would be helpful for parents if I wrote out my thoughts on marching band.
Elizabethtown Area High School Marching Band is different than many other high school marching bands. We strive to perform high quality, audience/student friendly shows that are exciting and fun for everyone so I thought that listing some things that are special about our group would be helpful in encouraging our students to become members of this vibrant organization.
- Marching band is part of our curriculum. As an educational team, we have discussed it over the years and truly believe that is vital part of a well-rounded band experience at the high school level. It provides the students with valuable musical, leadership, and social experiences that are hard to duplicate. It also provides a positive representation in the community. It is very important for the general public to see the great things we are doing in the music department to support community endeavors.
- Marching band does take some time, but a lot less than one might expect. We have a 4-day band camp, a few 2-hour summer rehearsals, Thursday evening rehearsals/Friday night football games, and 3 parades. When compared to competition marching bands, our practice and performance schedule is small and built with kids and parents in mind. We recognize that our kids have lives outside of band. Our kids (and parents) are busier now than ever before. Between sports and other school activities, church activities, jobs and family life, we strive to keep weekends free so kids can be kids!
- We have senior buddies at band camp. That gives our incoming freshmen an upperclassman that they can go to for help if they need it. Our seniors dote on their rookie counterparts. The amount of slushies and treats that our rookies get is amazing. In addition, band students will now have a tribe!
- Speaking of the tribe, you can’t put a price tag on knowing where your kids are and who they are with on Friday nights. We strive to make the Friday Night Football Game environment be as social as possible while still providing that high-quality musical environment. There is a veritable buffet in the stands while we wait to support the football team with our music. We know that kids are social beings so we feel that the wholesome environment that we provide in the stands is a great substitute for other places that they can find to be social.
- The performance experiences on our EASD Music Club trips are second to none. Performing for thousands of people at places like Norfolk, VA and Walt Disney World parks make lifetime memories. The exhilaration of performing parades in front of thousands of folks who are most appreciative of our efforts is an irreplaceable feeling.
- The life skills of working together with people to create something is hard to replicate. Our show concepts/music selections are designed by our students. We have assignments where our students design a marching band show and then the kids vote on them to choose the show. As students get older, they become integral parts of the leadership team. We get together and have leadership training sessions where our students set out ensemble goals for the year. The leadership opportunities that we provide for the kids are second to none.
As I reflect back on my experiences in high school and college, my best memories are from marching band. Games, parades and trips were the stuff of lore. My closest friends are from those two groups of people. Ironically, my friends from the Marines are right up there also and we spent a LOT of time marching there as well! Over the years, I have talked many former students who quit doing band along the way and their greatest regrets are that they didn’t continue to have these experiences. Conversely, when marching band alumni come back, we always end up reminiscing about the experiences that they had in marching band. I hope that these thoughts will help you encourage our kids to have these experiences. I would love to be able to reminisce with them later in life about their high school and post-high school musical experiences! Being a part of groups like the EAHS Marching Band is integral to helping our kids have a well-rounded high school musical experience.The Arts Build CommunityElizabethtown Area High School
Department of Music