“What sport do you play?” “The trombone.”

An Open Letter to Administration About Why We Need a Marching Band

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Jacob Nipper

“For many of the musically inclined, marching band is that outlet. It takes more work, commitment, strength, and resolve than anyone that hasn’t done it would expect.”

When a student enters high school, they are given a wide variety of social spheres and activities to choose from. Some do sports, some do clubs, some do things unaffiliated with school and some do music. I lived in Tennessee during my freshman year, and didn’t really know what to fill my free time with when I started. This led me to sign up for marching band during the fall semester because I had been doing concert band since the sixth grade. I went in blind with only a vague idea of what participating in the marching band program would entail.

We started in the summer, four weeks before school started. I got up at 5:30 AM every weekday for just under three weeks, went to the football field on our campus, and learned how to play intricate music while moving in a choreographed pattern in perfect synchronization with every other band, drumline, and colorguard member until nine o’clock every night.

I thought the program would be easy. I was wrong. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But it taught me things that can’t be learned in the classroom. Things that can only be learned while on a team of very different people working together to do something amazing.

Sounds a little like playing a team sport, doesn’t it?

Playing a team sport is great for an individual’s growth. It helps develop grit, cooperation, hard work, dexterity, and physical strength. But some people, like me, don’t fit into team sports. For some, it’s disinterest. For others, it’s the culture. For many, it’s having no prior experience and not making the team. Whatever the case may be, many in the student body do not have an outlet to practice teamwork and learn the valuable life skills that come with participating in a long-term physical team activity.

For many of the musically inclined, marching band is that outlet. It takes more work, commitment, strength, and resolve than anyone that hasn’t done it would expect.

When you join the marching band, especially as an underclassman, you join a new family. A family that helps you grow, not only in musical and choreographical skill, but also as a human being. I had never worked hard a day in my life until I joined the band. The band taught me how to work hard. I had never been a part of something bigger than myself until I joined the band. The band allowed me to become one of many united towards a common goal. I had no direction, motivation, or determination until I joined the band. The band helped me foster these essential characteristics in myself and helped me function in high school as a result.

I am a living example of what a good band program can do for a lost freshman who doesn’t know what to do with themselves. I want to offer the same opportunity to all of the future classes of Sage Creek.

I ask of you this, Sage Creek administration: find a band director and faculty that are capable of kickstarting a marching band program that doesn’t flop, grab them, and don’t let go.

Get them on our team of teachers and let them do the rest. It may be expensive to get some of the equipment, but if you can afford to build that performing arts hall, you can afford buying used band equipment. If you do this, you’ll be opening up an avenue far larger than you can fathom. I know of genius musicians that earned full scholarships to their preferred colleges on musical merit from participating in and excelling at the marching band program offered at my previous school. It’s not just a bunch of dorks walking and breathing into metal tubes together. It’s an art form with huge college and career potential.

If you create a halfway decent marching band program, you will be one step closer to creating the high school you’ve been dreaming of. Don’t believe me? Try it and find out. Be fearless. Push the boundary. You’ve done it before.