Hi everyone! My name is Jennifer. I am the Senior Drum Major for the 2019 marching season, and this will be my fourth year in the Myers Park Marching Band. I am writing this blog to give new and prospective members a look into the high school band experience. Each blog post will dive into a different aspect of the marching band or concert band experience at Myers Park, and I’ll share stories, logistics, and advice to anyone who is looking for more information about the crazy and wonderful journey that you are about to embark on.
Marching band doesn’t start with the school year; we start band camp about one month before the start of school to learn music, drill, and generally bond as a group. For this post, I want to focus on what you should do before band camp to make your life much easier during those two weeks.
Band camp is incredibly challenging, especially for new members, because you are learning a lot of new information and figuring out how to perform skills that other members have known for years. But, older members and the student leadership team are all there to support first years during this process. Band camp takes place at Myers Park, and you are at school for the entire day with the staff and your fellow marchers. Due to the heat and the long days, you need to prepare yourself before camp, both physically and mentally.
You will hear this over and over, but it’s true. You have to start drinking a lot of water BEFORE camp; you can’t get yourself hydrated in a day, so make sure that you drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day starting about 2 weeks before band camp. Also, you need to start getting acclimated to the heat. Personally, I didn’t do this very well before my first band camp, and I definitely regretted it. If you are physically acclimated to the heat, your first experience will be much more enjoyable!
As first years, there is definitely a learning curve to marching band. The staff and leadership are fantastic and make sure that they teach new skills slowly and thoroughly for those who are new, but you need to come to band camp with an open mind. It’s an incredibly exciting time, but it’s important to not get discouraged if you are having trouble and to ask for help when you need it. Every single person in the band remembers what it was like to be a first year and will definitely help you if you ask.
A few years ago, I made a website where I compiled lists of necessities and advice from members of the band. Mr. Blount always sends out a list of things to bring to band camp, but I would check out the band camp list on this website as well. There are some items that older students figure out are very helpful, and you can find those lists sorted by section at the link below!