Wednesday, November 23, 2016

3 Lessons Learned from the Band

Recently, my family and I attended a college football game on a nice fall day.  Our tickets happened to be located by the band which is a section I had never sat in before.  As the game progressed, my attention kept returning to the band.  As I reflect on the band and their performance during the game, I realize I learned a few lessons from them.

1. Have fun!
The band has fun.  If you have not paid attention to the band when you attend a college game, I encourage you to do so.  They have traditions which demonstrated their ability to enjoy the game (even when the score is not in their favor).  The band members appeared to have permanent smiles and grins on their faces throughout the game. Even when the game was getting out of reach and the fans began to leave, the band stayed and played until the very end.  They chose to make the most out of the situation and have fun. How often do I think of the possibilities without enjoying the moment and have fun?

2. Know your strengths
The band is comprised of many sections and many instruments.  At certain times during the game, the entire band played together synchronously.  At other times, certain sections played while others refrained.  The choice to play together or certain sections was dependent on what was occurring on the field of play.  The band's ability to utilize strengths to meet the needs of the action on the field as well as the needs of the fans demonstrated their understanding of their strengths and how to use these strengths effectively.  How often do I think not utilize the strengths of those around me, instead try to do it all by myself?

3. Collaboration is key
Whether they were performing in the stands or on the field, they demonstrated high levels of collaboration.  They knew where to be, where they were headed, and had a common vision for their performance.  It is a good thing they had this common vision because if they did not their marching formations would have resulted in total chaos on the field.  Each step, each rotation, each note was precisely choreographed and rehearsed to allow maximum performance.  How often do I follow the common vision to ensure we are all on the same page?

I was never a member of the band, due in large part to my inability to read music, hold a beat and demonstrate any rhythm (for those who have seen me dance, you understand this very well). However, after paying attention to the band throughout the game, I have a much better appreciation and admiration for the band and what they contribute to the experience of attending a college football game.


  1. As a music educator, THANK YOU!! Its always reassuring when someone outside the music world "gets" what we do.

    1. Kris, I appreciate you reading and commenting on the blog post. As educators, we are all in this together! I just wish I would have been part of the "band community"

  2. As a music educator, I wish that you would have been able to try to play in the band. So many don't get or don't take the opportunity because of what they PERCEIVE they can or can not do.

    We don't just take kids who can already read music, hold a beat and demonstrate rhythm. We TEACH children to read music, hold a beat, demonstrate rhythm. THEN we teach those children to work as members of a team, and teach that team to function as a part of a larger organization. We teach them to appreciate beauty in forms they previously didn't recognize and that sometimes something completely lacking in conventional beauty has a certain beauty in its own form. We teach them that a mistake is not a disaster, but an opportunity to learn. We teach them that even though 100 may be the goal, moving from 55 to 60 is still something to celebrate.

    We don't really teach music. Music is just the tool we use to teach children.

    Dean Lamp
    Band Director, Glidden-Ralston, CSD

    1. Dean, Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog post. I wish I would have had someone like you encouraging me to try out for the band!