The older I get, the more I realize that the most important decision I ever made was enrolling in my eighth grade band.
Whether you’re in a marching band or you prefer to sit down in an air-conditioned room while you play (like me), being in a school band teaches you so many important lessons that will carry you through the rest of your life. Here are a few of them.
1. You learn discipline
Making music is absolutely magical when you’re playing well, but getting there takes practice. So, so much practice.
Waking up in the wee hours of the morning and staying up til the wee hours of the night just so you can make the same noises over and over again until they are perfect isn’t for everyone. That’s especially true if there is synchronized walking involved.
And yet, we persist. Disciplining yourself is hard, but learning how to do it is easy if you’re in a band.
2. You make lifelong friends
When you lock people with common interests in a room for several hours a week, friendship is inevitable.
The friends I made in the Beloit High School band are people who shaped me as a person, and I still feel right at home with the Kansas State concert band in McCain 201. One of those band friends even became something more than a friend to me, and boy, do I feel lucky that I met her.
3. You have a higher IQ (really!)
We always thought it was true, and now science can back us up.
According to research done at the University of Toronto, music education has many unexpected benefits, especially from an early age. Language skills in particular are boosted by becoming a musician, and average test scores go up in almost every subject — even IQ tests.
4. You get a lifetime hobby
Folks, let’s be honest. Sports are fun, but how often do you see grandpas throwing around a football in the park?
In every community band I’ve ever seen, there are performers with gray hair and wrinkled fingers. They might not be the best in their section, but they can play. By God, they can still play.
Making music doesn’t require athleticism, hand-eye coordination, quick reaction times or even teeth (depending on the instrument). If you can breathe and move your fingers, you can carry a tune. It’s something to cherish for your whole life.
Kyle Hampel is the community editor for the Collegian and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.