Today, I got my work hours rearranged for summer, and I’m going from working 15 hours a week, to 30. I know, I know, it’s really not all that much, but it’s twice as much as I’ve started with, so it’ll be different.
I was thinking about what kind of work I really want to do when I’m done with school and everything.
Last night at graduation, when I was walking up to the stage to hear my name and receive my diploma, I was making faces and waving at some kids in the band. it’s typical for close friends of the graduating seniors to scream at the top of their lungs when their friends name is called. If that makes any sense…
Anyway, when my name was called, I was expecting to hear noise, but I was definitely not prepped for the uproar of noise that came from band. I have never heard them scream so loud. I’m not trying to puff out my chest and say how great I am, (Although the feeling was great and I cried), what I really want to focus on is how those people I spent 1-4 years with influenced me enough to want to study music and do what my band directors do.
There’s a very specific reason I want to study Music Education, and it’s not all because I am absolutely dedicated to music. As far as my love for music goes, it wouldn’t make it all the way if it weren’t for the efforts of the people that surrounded me. I love the way being in band makes me feel. I understand that the feeling of success and accomplishment comes in many forms, this just happens to be mine, and i truly think everyone should get to feel like this.
I could think of dozens of examples of why band has changed me so much. Lots of these times are small and seemingly insignificant, but when they build up, they become powerful.
The first time, I felt a twinge of this “high” you get from band was my freshman year when all of my band friends tried to pressure me to do marching band. I was trying to play hard to get, and pretended not to be interested when it reality I was dying to join. When I went to the front office to get my schedule changed to Zero Hour Marching Band, all my friends were ecstatic, and they weren’t that way because “we’ve got another stuck in the program!’ it was a feeling of “welcome to the family!” Not that i wasn’t part of the band family before, but when you spend 10+ a week with the same group of students, doing what is literally defined as insanity, and see each other at any time from 6am to 12am, you just get a special bond that cannot be forged any other way.
I remember the first rehearsal i went to, I was the only Baritone and we were doing “F tuning”. In the exercise, there are parts where each section plays alone to tune better, and needless to say, my sound was very fragile and empty, a simple tap and the whole thing would have shattered. But still, i got pat on the back and a “well, you did something”. it felt good.
Same year, another time, we were getting royally chewed out by Jesse, and were going down the line one by one playing a scale and thirds of the scale. If the person performing messed up, everyone did push ups. At first, we all stood in the arch and jumped down after every person to complete the push ups, but after about 3 we just stayed on the ground. Until the lot fell on Parker, and the Brass Captain spared us all 25 push-ups. praise. it was in that small victory that we all felt determined to do better, and we did. In fact, we won high music WBA Championships that year.
That year alone set me on a path that I couldn’t go back on. At the beginning of my senior year, i thought I would do music, but I wasn’t completely convinced, a wise mentor told me if I could see myself being happy doing anything else, I should do that. I understand why they told me this, because the world of music can be competitive, discouraging and nasty, if you have the wrong mindset, and the best way to get out of this mindset is to be completely dedicated to music and ignore the negative things that can come from humanity. It’s kind of a tangled concept but It makes sense to me and that’s all that mattered because the advice was for me.
So I tried. I tried dedicating myself to mathematics, and astrophysics, and Biomedical studies, and none of it felt right. Nothing settled well. i couldn’t teach physics and know that a few buildings away there were 100 people doing what i really love and I couldn’t just waltz in there and participate. I had to go back. so driving home one night I made the snap decision to go for it. I got home, looked up the next audition date, and called my piano teacher. I had to memorize 4 pieces of piano solo work in 10 days for the audition. i ditched school the day proceeding that and received unparalleled amounts of help.
10 days later, I auditioned, and month later I was told that I could go to school at Herberger School for the Arts and Design.
That was my first step toward actually perusing what brought the sense of fulfillment to me, and I have yet to look back. I know I have plenty of time too. But when I look forward I see students who are the age I am now, enjoying band as much as I have, and feeling the way I do. There’s nothing more that I want in my work, than to help students learn to love music the way I have, and get some of the same feelings I have been lucky enough to feel.