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All I needed to know I learned from (marching) band
All I needed to know I learned from (marching) band

All I needed to know I learned from (marching) band

This past weekend Tom and I got to sneak away to the state marching band championship at the university where we met. ‘Cause, you know, nothing says “romantic weekend without the kids” like sitting in a football stadium for ten hours in October. Part work, part play, completely fun time. And it got me to thinking, as I tend to do when my brain kicks off its shoes, about how being in band taught me life lessons that have stayed with me through thick and thin. I wrote them down, sending the crazed band parents around me into a frenzy, wondering if I was some sort of marching band scout for the soon to exist Professional Marching Band and Karaoke Bar. I only marched in college, but learned these lessons well.

  • Sometimes absolute perfection is the only way everything comes together.
  • Hard work is to be embraced.
  • Listen.
  • Everyone is important and necessary to the success of the outcome—there are no benchwarmers in band.
  • The more you practice excellence, the more you want it and the better you get at it.
  • Get in the parade, don’t just watch it go by.
  • You’re only as good as your last performance. (And I do realize this isn’t entirely healthy in all cases. Trust.Me.)
  • When in doubt, leave it out.
  • Listen.
  • Subtle nuance can be more powerful than sheer force.
  • If you make a mistake, move on. Learn from it, but move on.
  • Support each other, you’re all in it together.
  • Listen.
  • Live in the now–once the music fades away, that moment is gone forever.
  • Creativity is not just desired, it’s vital.
  • It’s not enough to look good, you have to be good.
  • Everything works better if you start with a deep breath and focus.
And sometimes you meet your soul mate there.


  1. Ann (MoCo)

    AAaaaaaaah. Jen – you summed it up perfectly. Tonight was the end-of-season party for my 17yo 2E’s marching band. As a senior, it’s also the end of his h.s marching career (tho my fingers are crossed he’ll get into the university – and the MB of his choice). Such a happy and bittersweet time. I have LOVED reliving all the wonderful meekness of MB, this time as one of the MB moms. So, are you going to sell this on a t-shirt or a poster (I’m in!)

  2. Sarah

    It’s great when people ask where Hubby and I met, I can say “This one time… at band camp” and then through in “I played flute.” People think I’m joking! LOL!

    It is amazing the life lessons gleaned from Band!

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