20 Fundamentals Truths About Band Camp
1. Someone is bound to step in an ant pile. At band camp, standing at attention seems great in comparison to marching back and forth in hot weather…until you realize that you are standing in an ant pile. Better yet, if you go all of band camp without stepping into an ant pile, you are bound to make friends with some mosquitos. Bug spray is your best friend.
2. The heat index is through the roof. Seriously though, if you think summer is hot – wait until band camp. The temperature somehow manages to skyrocket. Your other best friend is sunscreen. Do not, by any means, underestimate its power.
3. Geeky shirts shall be worn. The greatest geeks are band geeks. As soon as band camp kicks in, the nerdy t-shirts come out.
4. Trust issues arise. “One more run-through” never really means one more run-through. Really, it means at least five more run-throughs.
5. It will give you the tan of your dreams. You know that tan that you have been trying to get through playing outdoor sports or taking trips to the beach? No worries, give it a day or two and you will be fifty shades of tan. I remind you once more: sunscreen is your best friend.
6. Every day is an opportunity to get better. In other words, the band director will take any opportunity to practice in the most optimal environment possible.
7. Water breaks become greater than naps. I know it is hard to imagine, but you learn to praise your water breaks like nothing else. Remember to bring your water every day (pro-tip: the larger the bottle, the better the break – but be sure your bottle is not too large, otherwise the rest of the band will mistake it for a communal watering hole).
8. Band has “that smell”. If you are in band, you know what smell I am talking about. In fact, even if you are just a friend of a band kid, you can still guess what smell I am are talking about. It is a smell that combines sweat, tears, sunscreen, and bug spray. If you can tolerate the way people smell during band camp, then gee willikers – you will be the best of friends.
9. Everyone develops a love/hate relationship with rain. Pros of rain: It is cold, woodwinds get to put their instruments away, and you can drink it. Cons of rain: “That smell” will probably get worse, your socks and shoes will feel mushy, and brass does not get to put their instruments away.
10. There is no walking on the band field. Whether it is to a new set on the drill or for a water break, there is either a spoken or an unspoken rule about not walking on the band field. Believe it or not, adding a little energy to your step (regardless of where you are going) will definitely help create an overall positive and productive environment for the band.
11. Wherever you are trying to get, it is probably locked. Whether it is access to the band field, a field house, or a band room – it is going to be locked. Better yet, whoever is supposed to have the key probably gave that key to someone else, and who knows where that someone went. But what can you do? The band field is a sacred place and safely storing your instruments is worth a couple of extra minutes in the sun.
12. Fighting for a sectional location becomes World War III. People will do crazy things to ensure that their sectionals will either be in an indoor facility or in some kind of shade. A section will squeeze themselves into a square foot of space if it means avoiding the sun.
13. Friends become family. Whether they are in your section or not, friends really do become family in such a short amount of time. When you spend a full day making music together or helping each other take that extra step, you begin to realize that the people around you are helping you become a better version of yourself. Band brings in such a diverse group of people and you will find yourself relating to people in some of the strangest ways.
14. “Sorry, I can’t. I have band camp.” A common phrase amongst the doers of band.
15. Start eyeing potential bus buddies. One of the coolest things about band is the opportunity to travel. One of the lamest things about band is being stuck on a bus when all of your friends are on a different bus. Band camp is a time where many band geeks start to think about who they want to share a room with on trips or who they want their bus buddy to be.
16. You already forget what number you are on the drill. “Who is A7?” Silence. “A7? Don’t make me pull out the block list!” Silence, followed by the ultimate walk of shame.
17. The first time you march while playing, you are probably faking it. Even if it isn’t your first time at band camp, there is always an element of unpleasant surprise when you try to march and play at the same time. Most of the time, you are probably too out of shape and faking your scale or tuning sequence. Looks like it is back to Square One.
18. Flabs become abs. You would be surprised how much energy goes into marching and playing at the same time. Between focusing on where your next step should be taken, the perfection of that next step, your posture, your horn angle, your tone quality, and playing the right notes – many argue that marching band is most definitely a sport. In fact, it is a sport that requires a lot of focus and if you balance that with drinking water and eating healthy, you will learn that it is never too late to snag that summer bod.
19. You forget that school is meant for more than just band. When it comes close to the end of band camp, you begin to realize that in just a few days, you actually have academic obligations lying ahead of you. As much of a bummer as that is, you begin to appreciate how short your practices become when the school year begins and then panic at all the “lost time”.
20. If you can make it through band camp, you can make it through anything. Marching band is fun, but the value of marching band is so much more than just that. Marching band teaches you discipline and respect. It teaches people how to work together to create something beautiful and capture the hearts of their audience. Marching band teaches people what success really means – that it is not about winning or losing, but rather attitude and progress. Marching band is a commitment to excellence, and that is something that people carry into their lives in a multitude of ways.
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