So you’ve taken the plunge and heading to your first few practices of the season. Being new to marching band can be a little bit intimidating depending on where you’re at with your abilities. Probably several things going through your head, “What are they going to make me do? Am I good enough? What if I play a wrong note or embarrass myself?”
Take a moment and breathe. The first days are always hectic and crazy for new members and current members. Even the best run bands have kinks that need to be worked on from time to time and your group might not be any exception, BUT you may want to prepare yourself just in case. Believe it or not, band is still work, just like any other class, but can be fun as well! My advice is to follow a couple of easy ways to survive the first few practices until you get used to the routine.
1 – Find Your Section Leader
Every band typically has someone in charge of your particular instrument or equipment. They’ve been trusted by the director to make sure you get what you need and answer questions you might have about what you’re about to do. They’ve been through it. Think of it as your assigned Big Brother / sister that will take care of you. Make sure you ask questions before practice starts and afterwards so you can get an understanding of what is expected of you.
Now don’t get me wrong, some section leaders can and have taken it over the top before because of some feeling of empowerment of being a leader. Don’t let that get to you too much in the beginning. While they may not say things the best way, if they’re passionate about what they are doing, they’ll still generally say the right things.
2 – Find a Buddy
There are large programs where friends all join band in large groups, and there are smaller groups where people may not know each other as well. It’s okay, there’s always going to be someone you can talk to in the group. Find someone who’s as new as you and try to start a conversation. Even if you’re a bit shy and it’s hard to talk, saying ‘Hello” can go along way as you never know if the person you said hi to is just as shy as you. Either way, you’re still going to have a shared experience with them. So make the most of it and have someone you can go to when things get difficult. You’ll absolutely enjoy this as the year progresses and your circle of friendship gets bigger.
3 – Don’t Sweat it if you don’t get it at first
The Marching Arts isn’t about getting it right the first time. Some of the most amazing shows put together had simple beginnings as a group, and every individual has a story to tell. Just because you may not get things right away, or perform the best right away, doesn’t mean, “you stink,” or “you’re not good at it.” Part of the excitement is getting better at things. Which means practicing. Working at the hard stuff a little bit at a time until you’re good at it.
Everything we’ve ever been good at we started by being not so good at it. Walking, swimming, sports, video games, whatever it is, we’ve all practiced on it before and may not have even realized it! The same goes for the Marching Arts. If you want to be the best you can be, you have to dig deep and do the work. Part of band is having fun, and it’s a lot of fun when you improve! Not so much if you don’t, so why not put the work in and enjoy it? Grab that buddy or section leader and get to work together, so that you’ll have the motivation and drive of a partner to help you!