drum major

Tips To Surviving Band Camp

Hey everyone! So as the school year is coming to an end, marching season is beginning. This of course means band camp! Whether you’re a rookie or a returner, it’s always nice to know what you’re getting into and have some reminders.

1. WATER! Drink LOTS of water! This is probably the most important thing. Stay hydrated, drink water every chance you get, because you’re going to be out in the hot sun on the turf all day. Most people bring those big water jugs, make sure you drink AT LEAST one of those in a day, two would be even better. Drink a lot at night too so you’re hydrated in the morning too. 

2. Sleep! You’re gonna be exhausted at the end of each day, so make sure you take care of yourself and get the sleep you need to stay healthy during camp. I know I went to my drum major’s house and fell asleep during dinner break last year XD You want to have the energy you need, which is gonna be a lot, so don’t be staying up till 1 or 2 am watching netflix if you know you have vis block at 7 am.

3. For my trans and nonbinary friends, DO NOT bind during band camp! Trust me, I am in the same boat with this one. As much as I know you want to pass, it’s not safe or healthy to bind in those conditions. You’ll restrict your breathing at a time when it matters most. I know it’s gonna suck, but your health and safety is more important.

4. Don’t blow your chops out! Sometimes you really wanna practice, or over practice, but trust me if this happens you won’t be helping yourself. You wanna be able to come to camp every day ready to play your best, and you won’t be able to do that if you over played the day before. Know you’re limits and recovery time, especially for all you lead trumpets.

5. Eat. Whether you’re in drum corps or a high school band, you all need to eat. This goes along with sleep and water, but you need the energy. If you go jazz running around the field in 100 degrees whether with no food in your stomach, you’re gonna throw up or pass out. Stay healthy and take care of your body and make sure you’re getting the nutrients and protein your body needs for an activity like this.

6. When it comes to health and safety, just know your limits. If you’re not feeling great, sit out. You director will understand. Your health always comes first. And if something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to tell someone. Also, I know a lot of people have injuries. Make sure you don’t push those. Wear the knee brace or the elbow brace, wrap your ankle, do whatever you can to help yourself and sit out if it hurts. Don’t push yourself too far.

7. Now that the health and safety stuff has been addressed, social interaction! A lot of you rookies may go in not knowing people, and I understand how scary that can be. Take it from someone who couldn’t even talk to the two girls marching next to me for the entirety of band camp, it’s so much better if you just talk to them. Talk to other freshmen, talk to your section leaders and drum majors, talk to the upperclassmen! We want to get to know you too, and we know it’s hard at first. Band camp is the beginning of a great journey and you’ll make so many friends, you have nothing to be worried about.

8. DON’T LOSE YOUR DOT SHEETS OR MUSIC!!! Seriously. If you lose them, we have to go to the band room and make copies, then you’re behind because you didn’t have all the materials. It makes it easier on everyone if you keep track of everything. It’s also good to show that you’re responsible.

9. Listen to your techs, section leaders, and drum majors. They know what they’re talking and they were put into their positions for a reason. If they tell you you need to fix something or to stop messing around, listen. They’re doing what’s best for you and the band. You learn so much from them too, take every opportunity you get when they give you tips for improvement.

10. HAVE FUN! Like I said earlier, band camp is just the beginning. Do things with your friends! Go out for lunch or dinner together, get to know everyone, have a little fun with your rehearsals. A lot of schools do games at band camp and get into it! It’s so fun to just relax and goof around with people. Do things with your section, talk to people. Just have a good time! These people are gonna become your family and give you an amazing experience.

Bonus (11). A lot of people are reblogging this and adding SUNSCREEN! I cant believe I forgot that haha but yes! Sunscreen is super important! Even if you don’t burn easily, wear it! Reapply every 1-2 hours if I’m being honest. Getting burned sucks!
my band in choice quotes
  • tubas: "lol look at what i can fit in my tuba"
  • euphonium: "why didn't you just play a tuba, they're -" "DON'T YOU DARE COMPARE ME TO A *TUBA*"
  • trumpet: "we are awesome"
  • trombone: "i broke my trombone again"
  • baritone: "why am i surrounded by these people"
  • flute: "i would murder you for first chair, no offense"
  • clarinet: "its harder than it looks ok"
  • saxophone: "if you shorten my instrument's name it's one letter away from sex. speaking of which..."
  • drums: "let's continue to play whenever there's a silence" "sounds like a good idea bro"
  • band director: if you don't play this correctly i will *mutters curses under breath*
  • < my high school band is small as balls so feel free to add on guys >
The sections as things they've said or done in my band
  • Piccolo: Just because you can hear me doesn't mean I know what I'm doing
  • Flutes: *throws tuner across the room*
  • Clarinets: I just didn't realize I'd actually have to do work
  • Alto Sax: Endless sexual innuendo jokes lol
  • Tenor Sax: *comes in late* *salutes behind band directors back*
  • Bari Sax: *comes to every rehearsal stoned*
  • French Horns: *deep throats leadpipe*
  • Trumpets: Let's trip on acid before we perform
  • Trombones/Euphs: I only talk to freshman if they have a watch because that's all that matters
  • Tubas: *gets boner right before a field show*
  • Percussionists: *throws drumsticks into the ceiling*
  • Drum Majors: I just got hit in the boob with a flag, but it's okay
  • Band Director: Pretend your mellophone is a water gun, and squirt me with your sound
Instruments as Things overheard in my Band

Flutes: “If I go to all-state, do you think I can get a wider audience for my impromptu solos?”

Clarinets: “ THAT’S IT, YOU AREN’T SMART ENOUGH!! I’M MAKING MY OWN NEW SECTION!”

Trombones: *taking our band photo* “QUICK! Somebody hold my leg!”

Saxophones: “D as in not bumble bee…”

Trumpets: *(when questioned by a section leader about locking himself in a practice room)*: “I was sick of your face, how is that MY fault?”

Tubas: “AP chem should count as self harm”

Drumline: “Which is bigger, Alpha or Beta?” “MY DICK”

Horns: “That band is good, look at their pit- I bet their chimes aren’t held together with zip-ties and tears, unlike some chimes I know.” *glares at percussion*

The sections as quotes from marching season

Director: “I will not hesitate to come down off of this tower and personally out march every single one of you”

Drum Major: “I can tell it’s a good performance when I almost fall off the podium”

Piccolo/Flute: “Put your phone away” *pulls out phone*

Clarinet: “Another one? That’s the third reed I’ve broken this week!”

Low reeds: “If you miss your set just give ‘em the old razzle dazzle”

Saxophone: “Get your feet on the beat or I’ll break your legs”

Mellophone: *2 hours into rehearsal* “I just realized that I left my mouth piece in my case”

Trumpet: “let’s take everything up an octave and see how long it takes the director to notice” *cracks every note*

Trombone: “Is this your first time playing trombone? You know more positions in bed than on your horn”

Baritone: “JUST DO IT”

Sousaphone: “I HAVE KNOTS IN MY SHOULDER THE SIZE OF AFRICA”

Drumline: “I don’t know why it’s so hard to get your feet on the beat when you’re playing QUARTER NOTES”

Pit/Front Ensemble: “You don’t even have to march WHY ARE YOU RUSHING?”

Color Guard: “No, sir. We can’t practice today it’s kinda windy.”

This is the story of a kid who had no idea what they were getting into. But it’s also more than just that. They went to band day in seventh grade and got to play pep band with the local high school. It was amazing, and they fell in love immediately. How could they not? The high school had such an amazing show and treated them great. Two years later, this kid started high school and was so excited for marching band. They were shy and timid, but still excited. Throughout their first season, they dealt with so many things. They dealt with anxiety, depression, devastation, and disappointment. But they also woke up. 

What this kid ended up realizing was the importance of marching band, why it really mattered, and the great things to come out of it.

Marching band is not just a group of kids running around with instruments on the field. It’s musicians who are coming together to do something they love. Music is something that fills us all with passionate emotion that nothing else can. Being able to make something like that is amazing. But then add in a physical aspect. You have a story to tell now. You have formations and movements and a color guard and props and suddenly band is so much more.

The time commitment required for marching band is greater than any extra curricular besides maybe football. Hours upon hours are spent on the field, running the same set, the same music over and over. Revising and relearning and reinventing over and over. You’re constantly improving and constantly pushing yourself. Band is an every day thing. Musicians put in hours of practice on and off the field, they have to physically train themselves, and they work so hard. Harder than anyone gives them credit for.

Over this time, all the rehearsals, the late night practices, the early morning rehearsals, the time consuming fundraisers, you grow closer with your band mates than you could have imagined. You spend hours working with them, joking with them, creating something amazing with them, and then you get to your first competition and you perform with them. That’s when you know it’s worth it. And all the late night bus rides and singing your show and falling asleep watching the lights flash by is something you could never forget. Marching band becomes a family. It’s full of people who will be there for you quicker than you could snap to attention.

Through all of this you make the most amazing memories, but you also grow the most.

You become stronger as a person. You learn more about yourself, you learn your limits. You learn to push them. You learn to go farther than you’re comfortable with. Marching band is more than just an extra curricular, it’s a home, a place of growth, a safe haven. 

So this kid ended up changing so much. They were pushed farther than they had ever been before. They went from being that depressed, anxious, shy, and confused kid to a confident and outgoing leader. They figured out their passions and met their family. They finally found a home they knew was right.

A Year of Progress Challenge

ATTENTION ALL MUSIC LOVERS:

I present to you the Year of Progress Music Challenge

The rules are simple:

  • If you play an instrument
    • Find a song and sight read it
    • Record your self
    • Remember the day you played it
    • Then, every month on that day play it again and record it (you can practice it prior to the recording)
    • After you do that for a whole year (12 videos/recordings) Post it to the internet with the tag #ayearofprogressmusicchallenge
    • Watch/Listen to it and be amazed with how much you’ve improved
  • If you write music
    • Create a piece’
    • Call it “A Year of Progress” or anything you want
    • Divide it into 12 movements
    • Write one movement each month
    • NO EDITING PAST MONTHS MOVEMENTS
    • After you write all 12 movements post it online with the tag  #ayearofprogressmusicchallenge
      • (I use Musescore to post music)
    • Listen to it and be amazed with how much you’ve improved

THIS IS A GREAT WAY TO SEE HOW MUCH YOU’VE IMPROVED!

I DARE ALL MY FOLLOWERS TO DO THIS

The Marching Instruments as Awkward Senior Portraits

piccolo:  the shell-shocked (couldn’t hear the photographer count down over ringing in their ears)

flutes:  the i’m-trying-too-hard

clarinets:  the pikachu

bass clarinets:  the “maybe now you’ll remember i exist, fuckers”

any of the saxophones: the sex god

trumpets:  the “hot shit”

mellophones:  the cat photo

trombones:  the i-forgot-about-senior-portraits-until-the-day-they-were-due-to-the-yearbook-so-i-had-my-friend-take-this-outside-five-minutes-ago

euphoniums/baritones/tubas:  the what-the-fuck

pit percussion:  the my-instrument-is-my-child pose

drum line:  the casually-holding-a -deadly-weapon

color guard:  the dance costume

drum major: the ruler of all things music

The instruments the day before band camp
  • Flute: gathering all their supplies and practicing the fight song
  • Clarinet: texting everyone in band "ARE YOU EXCITED FOR BAND CAMP?!?!"
  • Saxophone: asleep
  • Trumpet: polishing their trumpet
  • Mellophone: practicing roll steps in the backyard
  • Trombone: at school. they thought band camp started today whoops
  • Euphonium: digs instrument out from under a pile of stuff where it's sat all summer
  • Tuba: listening to old marching band shows
  • Percussion: texting memes to the incoming freshmen
  • Drum Major: conducting along to the radio
Things that have actually happened in band

A drummer climbed into the ceiling in the band hall and then fell through it

A flute player left their flute at home when we were at a FAR away game, so they had to march and pretend to play a ‘flute’ that was actually a drumstick

We played Seven Nation Army as a warm up before a concert contest and then got three points added for creative warm up

Our band director duct taped our drumline captain’s legs together for yelling cuss words

A saxophone player slept in the storage area inside the bus on the way to a football game

Our entire drumline fell in a domino-like way due to a passing cat at the front of the line

When the band came to attention at a marching competition, a slide from a trombone went flying across the field because it wasn’t locked

So idk how many people actually see these posts, but I’m gonna put this out there. 

Go for it. Go for drum major, go for section leader, go for a higher chair, go for that E above the staff. Just at least try. You could have so much potential you don’t even realize it. Sometimes you just need someone to bring that out. Someone to bring out your confidence, make you more determined than you thought, push you to do your best yet be the shoulder you need to cry on. Be someone like that. Be that drum major who inspires that small freshman to go for things she never would have imagined. Inspire her to go for section leader, for drum major, for DCI, for music as a whole. People in these positions don’t realize that they have so much influence over kids who are still figuring things out. If they portray music and band in the way my drum major did my freshmen year, it could be the start of something absolutely amazing for them.

I’ve never really written this anywhere so I’m just letting it all out here. 

I’m just a sophomore right now. I’m a trumpet, started out 7th chair when I joined high school, got moved up to fifth by the end of band camp, made it to third by the end of the year. Kept third this year, moved up to second, missing first by half a point. Because of the people I met in the first few months of marching band, I’ve made amazing friends who have pushed me and helped me to even get to this spot in my musicianship. Along with all that, I decided halfway through my first year marching that I wanted to be drum major of my band. I was shy, un-confident, not very outgoing, and was just doing what I had to. I applied for section leader, hoping it could help boost my chances at getting drum major my junior year. Everyone told me I’d get it, but I didn’t. Yeah, I was devastated. But this woke me up, it opened my eyes. Sophomore year was such a time of growth for me. I became confident in my playing, more outgoing, I made my voice heard. I started volunteering for everything I could, I’m even taking the AP music theory class. I stay late at every practice and rehearsal to help with clean up and anything our director needs. All of this in hopes that he can see how dedicated I am to this program, to music. And I know he sees me now. I know if I keep this up, I can at least make it somewhere. It might not be drum major, but my newfound confidence, musicianship, leadership, and voice will help me in the long run, and I think that’s what really matters.