COLUMN: Marching band molded me into the person I am today


Katja Benz, Columnist

There are marching band clinics going on around campus this week. I found out the hard way when about 200 teenagers were sprinting into Taylor Dining shortly after I had arrived, gotten my food and sat down during the lunch break I got for my internship.

When I was in high school, I was in marching band. You would see me in the section that didn’t march (as everything we played had wheels on it) and we were usually towards the front.

Because nobody in my section ever went to these clinics, we didn’t know much about them (the only people that went from my school were the drum majors- the conductors of a marching band).

Now that I haven’t played an instrument in over five years, seeing band kids anywhere is almost uncomfortable. It just reminds me of who I was (for those of you that were unfortunate to know me in high school, college really changed me as a person).

While I’m not unproud of the person I was in high school, I was by no means great. For those that were fortunate to have met me after high school, I was incredibly socially awkward and almost didn’t know how to talk to people, which is ironic now because I’m a little more on the extroverted side. 

When I was in marching band, at least in the way my high school did things, we practiced a few things at a time before putting them together.

During these times, my section kind of did its own thing, especially because we didn’t march. That made us a lot closer as a section and we were all friends, unlike some other sections who either may not have been friends with each other or intermingled with other sections.

Watching how people communicated with each other gave me invaluable insights on how to properly talk with others. I’m willing to acknowledge I can be not so great at communicating, as lots of people are, so watching others do so was a good example.

And I learned that it’s okay to mess up and make mistakes. Towards the end of my marching band career, I was so scared of making mistakes that I didn’t realize that it was okay to do so until after the school year was over and I had graduated.

And more importantly, I realized that no matter what you do, people will still get mad or frustrated with you. They can either like what you do, or not. That’s more on them.

In the end, I think I learned more about myself than I did about music. That must be really unfortunate for my high school band director to hear.