I just had a person ask me why marching band is such a big deal in some high schools…
by someone who claims that music is his life.
like ok first of all
- Why is football such a big deal in some high schools?
- Why is Key Club such a big deal in some high schools?
- Why is winter formal such a big deal in some high schools?
- Why is cheer such a big deal in some high schools?
Just because marching band or color guard is a different kind of thing, some kind of blurring of lines between athletic activity and performing arts (which i feel cheer is too, btw; i freaking love watching good cheer teams ftw), does not mean there are no people out there who have a real passion for it.
- We compete.
- There are actually a handful of people in high school who really appreciate good, live, energetic music that isn’t Top 40.
- Some schools are actually known for their marching band’s great reputation.
But aside from that, it’s just the real passion for the thing. Along with a lot of other reasons.
And just to make this clear, just because band might not be the shit in some schools, doesn’t mean it means little or nothing to those who are actually in it. Marching band is fucking fun, and to be honest, I don’t think anyone in it needs any external validation in order to feel like they belong there, regardless or whether or not the “band geek” stereotype is true.
- Performing feels amazing.
- Winning is not the main goal. Feels great, trust me, but it is not the priority.
- Every year, season, rehearsal, warm up, competition is a journey.
- The adrenaline rush. Oh gosh, the adrenaline rush.
- Learning more about yourself.
- Being passionate about something.
- Actually doing something other than going to school.
- Building a second family.
- Sharing an experience with friends.
- Sharing a love and passion with strangers. (Meeting people from other schools who are in the same activity has actually been one of my favorites ever.)
- People actually like watching performances.
- Meeting people who are extremely talented.
- Developing self-confidence.
- Learning to be fully committed and disciplined.
- Burning 600+ calories within a 6-12 minute performance.
- It’s rewarding as fuck. Hell week, everyday rehearsals, private practicing in your backyard, studying old performance videos, sacrificing all your time and energy for what might be the most exciting 6-12 minutes of your life.
- We do shit together outside of rehearsals and competitions too.
- You challenge yourself in different ways, and I don’t mean just trying to get out a higher note or a bigger toss.
- It’s music, and music makes you fucking cultured.
- You honestly learn so much about how much potential you have.
- You grow a bond with people that is unparallelled. Even your closest and best friend outside of band or guard cannot 100% comprehend how amazing this whole experience is.
I can honestly go on and on and on, that was less than half of the reasons why others and I freaking love this so much.
And I always have people asking me why we have so many performances within a season:
- Every performance is a competition.
- In each competition, we have a series of judges: music, general effect, visual, and auxiliary/guard (this differs a bit for each competitive circuit).
- During the performance, they record their comments and critiques on tapes and give these to their respective teams, along with a score breakdown in comparison to everyone else in the division.
- These comments are used so band directors and instructors can make modifications and improvements so the final/championship show is the best it can be. (Hence challenging all the students to be even better.)
But if people don’t really understand why this is such a big deal to a whole group or performers, I don’t think I really mind at all. I don’t expect people too. For some people, their “thing” is kicking a ball into a goal, nailing a pirouette, winning prom king, volunteering with friends. For us, it’s playing music, spinning a flag, tossing a sabre, memorizing drill. It’s performing with a family, and learning a whole lot of things while doing it.