I was in the school band for 6 years and loved it. As mentioned in previous posts, due to my ‘learning disability’ that resulted in me being sent back in 2nd grade (post: 2nd Grade & 2nd Grade), I struggled in school and just felt I was stupid. Back when I was in grade school, in the late 1960s and early 1970s there were no music classes and were not offered until the 7th grade. Not sure for the reason, but I decided to take band in the 7th grade and I am glad I did. I loved it! I finally found an interest, something I enjoyed and looked forward to. You see I was not into sports; I remember trying to play baseball one year and I hated it. I was not good at baseball and already having a low self-esteem this sport made it worst. But band helped in changing that.
My mom tells me I would call myself stupid and did not excel in anything for the first 6 years of school. Upon joining band, this changed and my interest in band helped me be better. My mom was glad I found this interest and so was I. My instrument of choice was the saxophone and I excelled in learning it and became 1st chair for the saxophone section. If you have ever wondered why musicians are sitting in a certain order it is because the best player sits in the 1st chair, 2nd best in the 2nd chair and so on for each instrument section. This was back when I was in school – I assume this is the same now. Anyway, I was 1st chair for much of my entire band years.
Growing up in a somewhat small city (under 100,000), the school bands were small and the band directors from the high schools would visit the lower grade schools to help with teaching the students. The high school band directors had an invested interest in these students; hopefully they would continue and be in the high school band in the future. My future high school band director new me well prior to entering the 10th grade.
Upon entering the 10th grade which was considered high school in the city I grew up in, I tried out for the drum major position. The drum major is the leader of the marching band during rehearsals and performances. This position is basically 2nd in charge after the band director; they assist in carrying out the instructions of the band director. I tried out in 10th grade knowing I would not get this position. First, the previous year drum majors were trying out and since it was their senior year, everybody knew they would get the position again. Second, it is unlikely that a 10th grader would get this position due to inexperience and being new to the high school band – but I tried out anyway. I tried out and did not get selected for this position. The next year I tried out again and I made it, I got the positon of drum major! My band director saw the potential in me being a leader and I did well and I loved it. It was a bit more challenging my senior year because I was married (post: My Marriage), but I continued to be successful at this position.
I learned to play several other instruments throughout my band years and decided that I wanted to pursue a career in music. My band director gave me the opportunities and tools to learn as much as I could. My music career never evolved and I do have some regrets today but believe that things in our lives happen for a reason.
I will never forget the years in the school band; the band was an interest that got me through school and eventually becoming a high school graduate. Those years of band taught me many things, I was taught to read and play music, I was taught to be a leader and to be a member of a team. I was taught to listen, to concentrate and to realize that with effort and hard work I could accomplish something worthwhile.
There is also 1 important life lesson I learned; there are people in this world who give us opportunities to learn and to grow and my high school band director did that. I appreciate my high school band director for believing in me – he assisted me to excel in music and in life.
I hope everyone has a high school band director in their lives.