There are so many things that people assume about marching band, band geeks, and band camp that simply aren’t true.
Having been in my high school’s marching band for two years now, and about to finish my fourth band season, I feel it necessary to prove wrong some of the social stigmas surrounding my favorite sport.
1. Marching Band is Easy!
WTF NO. Not even a little bit. The average marching band show is about seven minutes long and the members are constantly moving, doing cool visuals, and at the same time, playing their instrument or throwing and spinning heavy equipment for seven (or more) minutes straight. There have been studies shown that in a seven-eight minute show, a marching band members heart rate rises to that of a runner at the end of a marathon. Still nee proof? Here are two clips from my band’s 2015 and 2016 marching band seasons.
2. All we do is sit in the stands at football games.
Sitting in the stands during the first quarter is actually the only break we get during the entire marching season, let alone the football game. Before the game, we have to get dressed and move all of the equipment to the field. Then there is the preshow that we have to stand at attention for while the other band plays their show. First quarter, we play when something exciting happens. Second quarter, we are getting ready to put on the half-time show. The pit has to move all of their equipment and the band has to warm up everything. BTW it’s not easy to play drums when it’s 35 degrees outside and you’re not allowed to wear gloves. Fourth quarter we are expected to play non-stop and as loud as we can. No easy when you have been playing for two hours straight.
3. Things get sexual at band camp. 😉
This is just not true. Not one has time to do anything but sleep after practicing. When you get up at seven, eat, practice drill till noon, eat, have one hour to “chill”, practice drill till five, eat, practice music till ten, and then have one hour to get everything ready for bed, there is no time for those infamous “this one time at band camp” stories. Any free time you get is either trying to take a fifteen-minute nap, drinking as much cold water you can, or trying to memorize the music that was just given to you last minute. This is what we do our entire time at band camp.
4. You don’t need any talent to join band.
Who came up with this? Not only do you already need to be able to play your instrument when you get there, but you are then expected to be able to learn how to play extremely difficult eight-minute shows, in only three months, all the while running around a field in thick cotton outfits! Definitely no talent required. :l
5. Band kids are just fat losers who have no friends.
This just doesn’t make sense. Being in the band gives you a sense of family that I have never seen in any other sport. Everyone is always there for you and you always have friends in the band room. That said, not every band member is always in perfect shape.
6. We are only here to support the football team.
Not even a little bit. We only go to football games because we have to. Before marching bands started competing, the only thing they were there for was to be a pep band. Actually, we practice two to three times a week and spend our entire Saturdays preparing, practicing, and loading the truck and busses for ten minutes of joy when we perform our show for judges. I don’t know about you but at my school, the band is more decorated than the football team.
Also, band doesn’t end when football season ends. The marching band season goes from July to December and the indoor percussion and guard ensembles go from December until May. In reality, band kids only get June and small bits of July to relax. Other than that, we go non-stop.
7. Band can’t get you into college.
On the contrary, many schools look for dedicated individuals in the arts, including marching band, especially if they have a famous band themselves. There are also professional drum corps that are not linked with colleges or high schools that universities love to see because it shows determination and talent.
8. Marching band is the cheapest past time.
HAHA no. All of the marching shoes, dry cleaning uniforms, gloves, black socks and shirts, activity fees, trips, food at competitions and football games, tipping bus drivers, new equipment, and the amount of money that your parents spend to come see your shows adds up really quickly. Band competitions aren’t free to watch, you know.
9. Color guard = Cheerleaders
No. Just no. I’m sure there are plenty of people who want to and do both, but the color guard is not, I repeat not, the cheer squad.
10. Marching band isn’t a sport.
Contrary to popular belief, marching band members are extremely fit and go through rigorous training and practice to perfect their show. Taking into account our seven ours a week of practice, not including weekend performances, we practice more than the football team.
Hey, band geeks! Did I miss anything? Feel free to tell me anything I might have forgotten or just send me a video of your band’s show!