Today was a good great day! I am extremely excited for the marching band season this year. Actually, I am always excited, because fall is my favorite time of year. I must admit that I was going into this camp feeling anxious for the first time before a camp. Let me explain:
Back in May, I had a meeting with my superintendent about an unrelated issue. In passing, he mentioned that people in the community had been commenting about the lack of numbers in the marching band, and that it was “an embarrassment.” I took great offense to this statement, because I happen to think our group is far from “an embarrassment.” In fact, I challenge you to find another band in the area that plays as well as our group. Of course, I’m biased though!
I have always been very proud of my students. The group at Sharon has always been small since I have been here. However, we have always had great quality, and that is something I pride myself on. If you are not familiar with the program, I should point out that we only have about 25 musicians. We had about 35 my first two years, but due to large graduating classes, that number has declined slightly. I have always said that I don’t care if we have 10 musicians…I will take whoever wants to be there! What people need to understand is that this program had 3 different directors in 6 years before me. This contributed to the decline in numbers before I arrived, and it takes several years to build the program back up through the elementary schools.
Anyway, I think what made me anxious about this years’ camp was the comment about the numbers. I guess that I was shocked, because that concern had never been articulated to me in 4 years of working in the district. And, for the first time, I found myself trying to come up with ways to increase the numbers….This was dumb. I have invited some 7th graders into the marching band this year, and they are doing a nice job. However, some of the students that originally were going to play have now backed out on me at the last minute. You see, worrying about the numbers had shifted my focus and attention away from what it really should be on – teaching the music!
Anyway, the other thing that I realized today is that 100% of the students in the marching band this year have never had another director for marching band. That is, they truly are “my students.” I must say that I definitely noticed a difference right away today. It is very exciting! I do not get the rolling eyes and the poor attitudes that I have been getting the last 4 years. Every student knows what I expect of them, and what to expect from my rehearsals. I think we are on pace for a great year!
Finally, the last thing that I realized today is how much I missed my students over the summer, and just how much I really do enjoy working with them! It was a lot of fun for me to catch up with them on breaks, and to work together toward a common goal.
So, in short, an outstanding first day, setting the stage for a great camp and a great marching season! Here’s hoping that your school year goes well. Have fun!