With August just around the corner, it’s almost time to begin the much anticipated marching band season. For most schools, this begins with a short summer session that lasts about two weeks and includes everything from learning (or relearning) how to march and read drill, finding your place for each set, and running as much of the show as humanly possible. Whether you’re a newbie to marching band or just looking for something to quench your marching band thirst, I want to tell you guys a little bit about my experience as a junior joining marching band for the first time.

Walking into band camp on the first day I didn’t know just how difficult or exhausting it was going to be. Of course I had heard a few daunting rumors such as “band camp is absolute hell” and “it’s impossible to get any summer assignments done after band camp starts, you will be way too tired.” These comments piled up as band camp got closer making me both more nervous and almost regretful of my decision to join. Being a junior my first year of marching band only added to the fear because of the much anticipated difficulty of junior year. So I began to ask people “Is marching band really worth it? Should I quit now before it ‘s too late?” The answers I got were some of the most powerful and passionate responses I’ve heard from my peers about activities. They showered marching band with the highest praise saying things such as “I’ve made some of my closest friends out there on the marching band field” and “The feeling of accomplishment you get after you play a great show is something so much more rewarding than any good test grade.” While I will tell you that, yes, band camp was one of the most challenging things I’ve done, marching band has also been one of the most rewarding thing I’ve done.

With that in mind, being a new member of the band can be intimidating, but with help from my friend Sarah (A three year marching band fanatic), I was well educated on everything, from what I needed to bring to what I should expect when I get there. Some must have items for band camp include: SUNSCREEN, sunglasses, A TON OF WATER, lunch, small snacks to eat during breaks, and comfortable attire because while dresses or khaki’s may make you look fabulous, they certainly aren’t fabulous for marching for four hours.

In regards to what to expect whether you are a freshman or new member here are some tips to ease your nerves and get you excited.

1. Make new friends

Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to upperclassmen because most of them will welcome you with open arms. In addition to adding to your social circle, knowing upperclassmen will certainly come in handy when school begins. Whether it’s being unable to navigate your way through a huge, unfamiliar school or needing help with an assignment upperclassmen will just what to do.

2. Don’t be afraid to look stupid

This piece of advice is one that I had some trouble accepting, but once I did it made marching band a lot more enjoyable. This is especially important when it comes to marching, which is not as easy as it sounds. There are multiple different styles of marching as well as different commands, all of which are expected to be mastered within the first two days of camp. The bad news is that you will most likely mess up, and you may in fact fall over, but the good news is that so will everyone else. It’s almost impossible to be a great marcher your first year (I definitely was not), but just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, laugh, and keep marching.

3. It’s okay to love marching band

Stereotypically, marching band has been looked upon as an activity for people who were “band nerds” and “geeks,” but in today’s fast changing society this simply isn’t true anymore. With bands such as the Allen Eagle Escadrille from Allen, Texas leading the way with over eight hundred members, marching band is a steadily growing activity enjoyed by thousands of high school and college students across the nation as well as throughout the world. The marching band community is gaining respect, which my own school has strived to give by having the football team join the band after each game and listen to the schools Alma Mater. This display of respect is something that I looked forward to after each game because it’s a great way to make sure everyone is appreciated for their hard work.

With only six weeks left until the beginning of the marching band season, it’s time to start dusting off your instrument and getting pumped.

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