What’s the big deal about high school marching band? I’ll tell you.

Students spend hundreds of hours perfecting a show that will last about eight minutes. That work includes learning and memorizing the music, learning each set and how to get there on time, staying in step, keeping correct distances, and maintaining uniformity in every musical and visual activity.

The coordination among the players and auxiliary members must be perfect.

If someone has a bad few seconds, it can wreak havoc on the entire band. If someone is confused or not sure of the next move, there is no opportunity to call a time-out and get clarification.

The band gets 7-8 minutes to showcase what they have spent hundreds of hours preparing. They don’t get four quarters, two halves, or nine innings—just a few minutes!

If someone isn’t feeling well, twists their ankle, or gets knocked down, they can’t ask for a substitute. The show must go on!

After the performance is over, not one participant will have their name in the paper or get special recognition for their outstanding individual performance. Band is a team activity. Everyone works hard, day in and day out. All of the individual work is done for the good of the team.

Not only does marching band exercise the mind and body, but it encourages friendships, cultivates creativity, and provides students with a unique opportunity to grow as individuals, such as:

Multi-Tasking, such as playing and marching simultaneously. This skill will come in handy when multi-tasking through college courses, enterprise-level meetings, and parenthood.

Responsibility. Each member is held to high standards and accountability, to which they will become a more independent, self-reliant, and responsible member of society.

Discipline. Being able to listen to and obey orders is critical in marching band, and critical in life.

Teamwork. Each child’s bond with the other members will help the band accomplish its overall goals; therefore, each team member is as important as the next.

Endurance. Marching band is a time-consuming, all-weather sport. Even when the going gets tough, band members encourage one another to keep going. This endurance can be translated to school projects, employee groups, and interpersonal relationships.

Time Management. Band is a huge time commitment, and many activities must be juggled. Band members quickly learn how to manage their time—a skill many adults continue to have problems with.

Losing Gracefully. Not all contests are won, and members must often experience humility. From break-ups to lost jobs, accepting loss and moving on with life are key lessons.

Personal Growth. Band kids have access to a built-in support system from which they can personally grow and develop. Each time they take the stage or gear up for a performance, they will gain a little bit more confidence.

Presentation. By paying attention to how the members present themselves to other people at an early age, they will feel more prepared for college consultations, job interviews, and any other instance where looking (and acting) their best is essential.

Leadership. From section leaders to drum majors, there are many opportunities to exhibit leadership. While leadership skills may come naturally to some, other children require the right platform, and, for some, that platform is a high school marching band.

So, hug a band kid, or at least high-five their next performance.

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