Responding to a credit card question

A friend posted a question on Facebook asking for feedback about “Square” as a credit card processing option. Sent her this link from an earlier post:

Posted in Teaching Music

Why do I teach? Here are a whole band of reasons.

By John Gardner

Band and Guard Staff immediately after announced as GOLD achiever.

Band and Guard Staff immediately after announced as GOLD achiever.

Any questions?

Posted in Teaching Music

Band Students Make Better Employees

Hire MeBy John Gardner

Teens are looking for part-time jobs during high school. Common is the parental directive that he must at least pay the insurance and for the gas to drive the family car — or to purchase her own vehicle.

The challenge, for both the student and the employer is the complexity of band student’s schedule.

Band  students make better employees and employers find the payback for working around rehearsal and performance schedules is a win-win for the business too.

Marching bands start training right after school is out in the Spring, if not before. During these early sessions, a challenge is to keep the newbies from giving up.

After enjoying top-of-the-heap status in middle school they start high school marching band at the bottom of the section with the lowest status and the least seniority. New skill requirements include memorizing music, horn angles, posture and feet-with-the-beat. Never before have they had to endure high temperature rehearsals that last 2-3-4 hours at a time, often standing with water and restroom breaks few and far between. Everybody (directors, staff, section leaders, seniors, upperclassmen) is telling them they’re messing up and pressuring (hopefully constructively) them to “get it”. They are thrust into a whole new level of physical activity with a strict discipline code. Some will quit and most will think about it as they try to answer the question, “What did I get myself into?”

“Band will be fun. It is fun being together during the football games, on the buses for those long trips, and for hours at competitions. But before you get to the fun part, you have to pay the price…..and there is no short cut, no easy way out, no discount. Pay the price and enjoy the results.”

By the time they are old enough to get a job, they have learned to pay the price. They have seen the benefits of dedication and are willing to commit to a job. Band students won’t quit the job because the manager gives them criticism because they understand that is what makes them better. And they learn that striving for excellence is a worthy goal.

Band students understand dedication, commitment
and that striving for excellence is a worthy goal.

At the age they are joining marching band, teens are battling with balancing the reality that they are not quite adults with the increasing desire for freedom, responsibility and individuality. Some rebel against parents, push back against teachers and are super-sensitive to peer-criticism. And yet, marching band requires they give up individual freedoms for the good of the cause, makes them earn responsibility and tells them they have to look, act and behave like everybody else – uniformity.

The first time they are thrust into a fast-paced, pressurized workplace environment, teens from the general school population will be more likely to throw a tantrum, quit — or get fired. Not band students.

Band students understand the value of,
and respect for chain of command

Students are together in lots of different classroom mixes, but only for fifty minutes on school days for a semester or two. Band students can be together for 10-15 hours Monday through Thursday, plus 3 hours for a Friday night football game and 14 hours for a Saturday rehearsal/competition. Couples break up, personalities don’t mesh, they come from different parts of town and with different family and economic situations — but they learn to work together, a skill many non-band teens and a lot of adults never develop.

As I talk to teens (and even many of their parents), one of the most common reasons to quit a job is because of relationships with co-workers. Band students will be even more frustrated with the mediocrity and lack of cooperation and weak work ethic they will find in the workplace, but they will commit to making it work.

Band students know how to cooperate
and collaborate with those from
different backgrounds and capabilities.

In a part-time work environment there will be competition for hours, raises, promotions and responsibilities. The tendency is to look out for self and to heck with the other guy. Students compete within a band but they want everyone to do well. They compete with other bands but will wish them good luck as they pass on the way to the competition field. They will applaud for other bands – even those that beat them. Band students are team players and they understand sportsmanship.

Band students learn good sportsmanship.


By the time they’re ready for that first job (students usually turn 16 during sophomore or junior year), band students have already learned patience as marching band staff is teaching or fixing drill; perseverance and endurance through extreme temperatures, long rehearsals and so much more we teacher types throw at them.

They understand, through the system of seniority in most bands, that they will need to prove themselves and demonstrate strong work ethic to earn leadership positions or, when they get a job,  a raise.

Band students learn patience,
perseverance and endurance.

There is often a penalty for arriving late to a band rehearsal. When I was in a marching band, it was a lap around the field per minute late. Some bands use push-ups — or job assignments. Arrive late today and you get to take the water to the field tomorrow. And because there are always new things happening in a rehearsal, missing is never an option. Some bands will make you an alternate for an unexcused absence. So when band students get a job with a schedule, they are there — and on time.

Band students learn the value
of attendance and punctuality.

Bands rehearse scores of hours per minute of marching band show. Stretches, running and endurance exercises, fundamentals (yes, they already know how to march, right?) and then sets of drill over, and over. Do they get tired? Absolutely, but they understand the price of success and that there are no shortcuts to achieving it.

Band students learn that there are
no shortcuts to success

Most years, prior to the final competition of the season, we allow seniors to talk to the band. They say a variety of things, but there are two predominant themes: 1) Band is family, and 2) band taught them responsibility with accountability.

Band students learn
responsibility and accountability

Where, outside of public education, is the focus on making the student (or employee) feel good about themselves at the expense of excellence? We read about schools eliminating valedictorians and class rank or even grades, so lower achievers don’t get a negative vibe.  

When my child was in first grade, the education fad of the day was a program called “writing to read”, where the emphasis was on the child being able to read whatever they wrote. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc…. were not corrected. Teachers emphasized that a child reader would have a higher self-esteem.

Students who have gone through a feel-good system can hit a brick wall when they get to college or into the workforce. Good band directors instill in their students that a healthy self-esteem comes through achieving excellence. In that pursuit, however, the student learns to accept criticism from directors, staff, seniors and section leaders – and they are willing to pay the price to get the prize. Here is a post I wrote about Excellence and Self Esteem.

Band students learn that self-esteem
is raised by achieving excellence

Because of their extreme rehearsal schedules on top of homework and, especially with the responsibilities of a job, band students develop good time management skills.

Band students develop time management skills

Band students make better employees. Hire them.



Posted in How May I Serve YOU?, Job Search, Marching Band, Respect, Teaching, Teaching Music Tagged with: , , , ,

10 Ways To Earn Student Respect and Trust

This is my garage the day before it was being re-sided. I called it the "GGG" (Gardner, Garage Graffiti) event. They came to my house on a Saturday morning. Do you think they will remember this day? What if they had not come?

This is my garage the day before it was being re-sided. I called it the “GGG” (Gardner, Garage Graffiti) event. They came to my house on a Saturday morning. Do you think they will remember this day? What if they had not come?

Students know which teacher(s)….

  • are more interested in being popular than in providing and expecting academic excellence . Students will “like” this teacher, but will not “respect” him/her.
  • are there only for the paycheck. These are the people who deserve the quote, “those who can – do, those who can’t – teach”.
  • stopped working hard when they got tenure and are now just putting in time.
  • are incompetent. Students recognize those who read only the questions in the teacher’s edition, use publisher-provided Powerpoint presentations and read them word for word, who have artificial conversations or Q&A sessions.
  • are invested in the totality of the student, beyond what is required by the contract and mandated by administration.
  • are the go to adults for help, support and understanding with life’s struggles

“When students feel that teachers and school administrators genuinely care about them and help them to feel welcome, they are more motivated to cooperate and to succeed.” -Robert Brooks, PhD

A former student remembering her band experience wrote that,

“It is more than just about music.”

She attributed the life-skills she learned in band (time management, team building, respect for authority, commitment, self-discipline….) to have been major factors in her success in college, medical school and life.

In a Facebook message from a Music Education major;

“I just wanted to take a moment to thank you again and again for steering me in the right path, …! There is no way I will ever be able to give you the thanks that you really deserve, for the potential you saw in me, for the care you gave me, for the trust you put in me, and for the time and energy you invested in me! You changed a life…MINE.”

Responding to a blog post called, “I Want To Trust You”, another former student wrote;

I’m remembering a little white lie that Tina and I told you just to get out of class for a minute or two……..Unfortunately, you found out about it. I’ve never felt so guilty as when I was caught tricking YOU! You were the TEACHER to go to when things weren’t going ok. And a trusted teacher…….I was SO sorry!”

Four days before Christmas, I received a text message from a senior,

“G, I just got kicked out of my house. Please help me!”

How can teachers get past the compliance expectation and earn respect….and TRUST?

  • Be real. You can’t fake it with teens, they will see right through you. If you can’t be real, you should not be there. Please leave education.
  • Be available. How easy is it for a teen to say to YOU, “Can I talk to you?”? What if it is not during class or immediately after school? In how many different ways are you available and do students know and understand that? Do they know if it is ok to email, call, text or instant message you? When a teen says they need to talk, somebody needs be available. Be that person. Consider your use of texting and social media.
  • Be there. Yes, you’re “on duty” at school. What about when a student is in the hospital, at the funeral home, pitching in the softball/baseball game, getting baptized, being awarded Eagle Scout status, or when their garage-type band is playing at the coffee shop? Take your spouse or your kids and just be where you can when you can. They will notice.
  • Trust them. If you want trust, you need to give some. I have a periodic discussion about trust, abusing it, losing it and the difficulty in earning it a second time. Read: “I WANT To Trust You“. Teens make mistakes and the trust area is one of those places where they can mess up. But help them learn. Take a reasonable chance. Yes, you’ll get burned some….but you will also empower leaders to rise up.
  • Respect them. There is a good chance they will recognize and return it.
  • Advocate for them. Of course you have students who are financially challenged and could benefit from music lessons, a better instrument, participation in a select ensemble or some other training. You won’t always succeed, but try to find funding to help. Call the employer to help him get that job. Write a letter to help her get that scholarship. Help them with college applications their parents can’t (or won’t).
  • Listen, really listen. Teens typically think that people don’t listen. They think adults are quick to lecture, criticize and correct, but are slow to listen. You don’t always have to have the answer. Sometimes there isn’t an obvious answer. Sometimes listening is the answer, because in allowing them to share, you enable them to find their own answer. Unless they are sharing something illegal, dangerous, hear them out. Don’t argue. Don’t interrupt. Don’t pre-judge. And when you can, share your wisdom, experience, expertise and advice.
  • Expect and Encourage Excellence. Students will complain when the load is heavy and the challenge is significant, but they know, even when they won’t admit, that achieving excellence requires work. They want to achieve and succeed. Being there for them doesn’t mean lowering your standards. Make them stretch. They’ll appreciate you eventually, even if not today.
  • Don’t assume. A question I ask often is, “You okay?” Simple question….and sometimes they shrug it off, but there have been many times for me that this gives them the opening to ask for help.
  • Don’t give up. It can be difficult, disappointing and even deflating when teens mess up. Don’t give up on them. That’s what the rest of society wants to do sometimes…. They will be disappointed that they disappointed you, but your unconditional support (not approving what they do) is vitally important to them.


Sometimes I complain about my job; about the part-timeness, the pay, the union, my bosses, the financial realities, and more…. but I will ALWAYS love the teens I get to work with. They can be challenging; sometimes immature, making decisions without thinking through to the consequences of those decisions, they can love you today, hate you tomorrow and love you again the day after……, but if you’re in it for them, you’re positively impacting lives and as the commercial implies, you cannot put a price on that.

Thanks for reading,


VMO Business Card

Posted in College Prep, Communication, Marching Band, Parenting, Social Media, Teaching, Teaching Music

Teacher to Student after Talking To Parent: Is It True?

By John Gardner (view LinkedIn Profile)

Is It TrueSometimes, engaging and talking to teens, outside the authoritative imbalance of parent/child or teacher/student is challenging. If you catch them with the wrong group of friends, they may ignore or give you the peer-pressure-influenced reaction. Or you picked the day that they just broke up or had some other type of unrelated tragedy.

Never let a less than stellar first attempt turn into a lasting negative impression.

Of course, there are those who make and even start fun, friendly conversations. Most are engaging and appreciative (even if they don’t admit it) that a teacher is showing interest in them or in what is going on in their lives.

For some of the others, what follows is one of my favorite tactics.

Read more ›

Posted in Classroom Teacher, High Schools, Music Department, Personal experience, Public Schools, Storytelling, Teaching, Teaching Music

Band = R-E-S-P-E-C-T

By John Gardner


Posted in Communication, High Schools, Marching Band, Respect, Teaching, Teaching Music Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

When you hear that students today are behind

By John Gardner

I’m not going to defend some of today’s diluted, politically correct, expanded curricula when compared to what students learned decades (or centuries) ago. The Huffington Post published this 8th grade exam from 100 years ago and ask if you could pass it today.

I don’t ever recall, as a student, having to spend school time on education on bullying or suicide prevention, tolerance, drugs, sex, active-shooter and lock-down drills. In the past few weeks, I’ve participated in mandatory teacher training on bullying. This week, students will be watching videos and signing off on them via 1-1 ipads. We provide “digital citizenship” training worth several class periods for using those free iPads we gave them. We tests to test that teacher’s tests are testing appropriate levels and that both teachers are teaching and students are learning. If you saw a high school’s “testing calendar”, it would blow your mind. And tests take the place of teaching to some degree.

On the other hand, WHAT students must learn today is so much more complex than what we needed to know back in a previous century. Below is a good visual. It would have been much easier to learn to identify and differentiate the crayon colors available in the 1903 vs today, wouldn’t you agree?

Just sayin’.

Crayon Colors

Posted in High Schools, Public Schools, Teaching, Teaching Music Tagged with: , , ,

Organizing your Band Music Library

By John Gardner

When the local high school band director of 40 years (yes, graduated college, accepted a teaching position and spent his entire career in the same room with the same office and same desk) retired. One of the things he left was the music library software on his 1980’s vintage Apple computer. After multiple attempts by collegiate techno-types to transfer the data into a newer Apple format proved unsuccessful, we went a different route and have successfully transferred the data to a new program. In the process of doing that, I wanted to find how other directors organized their libraries and after some email and facebook responses, the following includes a compilation of that feedback.

Software Used

  • Spreadsheet 
    • Google docs. The free spreadsheet was the most common answer.
    • Open Office spreadsheet. OpenOffice, from Apache, is a free set of programs that compete directly with the Microsoft Office products.
    • Microsoft Excel. Didn’t hear this as much as I expected as people were opting for the free versions.
  • Database Software. The only specific response was Microsoft’s Access. Google docs and Open Office have competitive offerings. The advantage to a database program is that you can create more analysis, searching and reporting with a database program, but the downside is that most of those, especially if you must design it yourself, is that you have to really know what you’re doing.
  • Charms. This was the overwhelming choice from those who pay for a tool. It does much more than just maintain a library. Charms offers modules for keeping track of finances, including individual student accounts, has a way to text and auto-call from internal lists, includes a recording studio, includes music library, mobile ap, interactive calendar and more. Check out CharmsOffice here. Cost is @$300/yr. Those who use it, love it.
  • MyMusicOffice.comAn online program with levels of access by parent organization, treasurer.


  • Title. If you’re going to use a spreadsheet and want good searchable data, you should think thorough some of the naming conventions you want to use, such as:
    • Abbreviations. Arranged vs Arr., Christmas vs Xmas. Whatever you use, be consistent.
    • “Selectons from”… is it “Selections from XYZ Movie” or “XYZ Movie; Selections From?
  • Subtitles. If you are playing an arrangement from the movie “Wicked”, do you list the individual titles included in this collection?
  • Composer. Last/First name. If you are using separate name fields, ok. If putting into one spreadsheet box, I recommend Last name [space] First name. As the owner of a data entry company, I am all about finding ways to save keystrokes and, over time, each one matters. Forget the comma. Don’t do all caps. All caps would save you using the caps button, but it is harder to read all caps.
  • Arranged / Transcribed / Edited by. To save fields and data, I suggest adding to the composer field, in which case, abbreviations are important.
  • Publisher / Date. Can be helpful if needing to reorder parts or additional scores for contest judges.
  • Ensemble. Marching, Concert, Jazz, Pep, Solo/Ens, etc.
  • Last performed. All the times performed?
  • Tempo/Style. Slow, overture, folk tune.
  • Type. Holiday, festival, contest, pop.
  • Ranking/Difficulty Level.
    • SmartMusic(R) uses JW Pepper’s ranking system of (B)eginner, (VE) Very Easy, (E)asy, (ME)Medium Easy, (M)edium, (MA)Medium Advanced, (A)dvanced.
    • Use the difficulty levels defined by your state. In Indiana Group I is highest difficulty and Group V is considered Middle School beginning level. If you do not have this, some of the music publishers, including JW Pepper, have the state lists for many states. Or your state organization should have yours on their site.
  • Comments/Notes. Missing 2nd Cornet part, or that one thing you wished you had known about this piece before you started it this time — because you’ll likely forget that by the time you play it again.
  • File ID
    • Single number. Not recommended.
    • Alpha+Number, i.e. A-23, where alpha can be either title or composer.
    • Drawer + File, i.e. 15-5 means the 5th file in drawer #15. This is my preference.

Organize Library by:

Alphabetical by Title, separated by season. The local university band library is set up this way. Separate sections for Christmas, Marches (used to have a Sousa-festival), Basketball, Orchestra, Methods classes.


Simple and does not require a catalog program/file.


If you don’t know what you are looking for, it can be pretty miscellaneous.

When a drawer or shelf fills up, you must shift, which can be really bad if the overstuffed drawer is toward the beginning.

Separated by major ensemble types, but then numbered with Drawer and File number. My current school’s library has separations for Method books, Jazz Band, Pep Band and everything else.


Random searching….if you want newer stuff, you go to the higher drawer numbers.

When one drawer fills, just start another one.

If you eventually free up space in a lower drawer number (throwing away old music), you can add a new item there.

Efficient use of space.


Can’t find a piece by title or type without looking it up.

Misc Feedback:

  • Used the software to generate labels for the music.
  • I also have categories in “tempo” “style” where I might label something as “slow” or “overture” or “folk tune”, etc. This is super useful…when I’m looking for “slow” music, I can just have the excel spreadsheet sort to slow and voila! There they are.
  • I also have an arranger category, and a “music type” category (holiday, festival, pops, etc.).
  • I have mine organized by ensemble (HS band, MS band, Jazz band, choir by voicing, and solo/ensemble music), so each one is its own spread sheet. I have title, style, difficulty, composer/arranger, Publisher and date, and cost. If my school burns down tomorrow, I can get reimbursed for everything in my library.

Need help?

Are you able to “search” for example, for an advanced piece for concert band that you haven’t played for three years? Have you kept it up to date? Then it sounds like you’ve got things going well and you don’t need me.

Are you still using a card catalog? Are you using a file format that you need to transfer to something new? Do you want to add categories (from the list above or similar)? And is YOUR time completely maxed out with teaching classes? I can help.

In 1984 I started a data entry services operation in a specialized vertical market…..but I have, and have access to, accurate transcribers and data entry staff who can take on such a project. OR… I can set something up so that YOUR people can do the data entry.

Contact me at and we can set a time to discuss it.


VMO Business Card

Posted in High Schools, Repost, Teaching Music, Virtual Assistant Tagged with: ,

10+ Values Marching Band Students learn

By John Gardner

See Teens At Their Best

This is a followup article to an article, “14 Ways to Volunteer for a Marching Band to Appreciate and Applaud what is Good about Teenage America”, which focused on ways to share your talents and abilities and experience the youthful, enthusiastic atmosphere around a marching band during competition season. This post focuses on some of the values marching band students learn.

Some larger competitions can involve dozens of bands with thousands of students with nothing resembling the level of supervision in a high school before or after school or as classes change. For the most part, band parents and the directors are the only ones with direct oversight….. and after a performance, most students are free to congregate back at the stadium to watch the other bands as they mix and mingle.

In uniform, before a performance, you’ll see focused faces as students prepare to do what they are there to do. You might see them move quietly and in formation from the bus area to visual and musical warmup and then to the stadium.

Band students learn dedication, commitment and
that striving for excellence is a worthy goal


Most marching band operations are very structured with responsibility and accountability. There are seniors, section leaders, drum majors, staff, directors (where do I put parents in this list) all with authority over the band student. Participants appreciate  compliance and cooperation.

Band students learn the value of,
and respect for chain of command


Unlike a basketball team with its starting five, there is no bench in marching band. Everybody is in. Everybody is a starter. Few other types of groups will involve people from varied backgrounds. There are children of doctors and lawyers marching with children of single-parents working multiple jobs or utilizing government help. There are the students who have their own cars and those who need rides, those with the iPhones and the free phones or no phone. You will find students in most bands from every church in the community and others who have never been inside a church. And yet, with all these differences, when they put that uniform on (actually, even before they dress)…..they are all on the same team, all equal. A good result requires the best from everyone. Students learn teamwork and cooperate with those outside their friend circle.

Band students learn to cooperate and collaborate
with those from different backgrounds and capabilities


You will see students cheer and applaud for good performances of other groups, including those with whom they compete. You’ll see them wishing each other good luck, especially when a band is transiting through the pre-show stages and passing others who have either already performed or have a while yet to go. In a recent competition, I saw a band applauding the same-county rival band and the new band that their previous director had transferred to. When our band was relaxing and enjoying a band-parent-provided soup & chili bar supper following a recent performance, a competitor band passed by, still in uniform, returning from the field following their performance. Our students applauded their rival until the last one had passed. One of their directors found me to tell me that, “Your students are a class act.” That is sportsmanship….or should I call it bandsmanship?

Band students learn good sportsmanship.


Marching band is a time-consuming extreme weather sport. Summer rehearsals are in extreme heat and often go 8+hours a day for multiple weeks before school starting in the fall. Think about the temperatures in September and then imagine putting on a winter coat, hat and gloves and running around a football field at a fast pace. But then, by the time mid-October comes, it gets cold enough that students are wearing under armor and other garments under the uniform to try to stay warm. Then, add periodic rain. Sometimes they have to move rehearsals in and outside to avoid it and other times they get wet. When school starts, add 8-10 extra rehearsals Mon-Thur, 4-5 hrs for a Friday football game, then 12-14 hours on Saturday for a rehearsal, travel and competition — sometimes two.

Band students learn to commit, persevere and endure.


You’ll see both excited and disappointed students as the results are announced, but they will display professionalism many adults would be good to observe and learn from.

Band students learn that there are no shortcuts to success.


Many students, seemingly for the first time in any significant way, are given tasks and responsibilities and held accountable for them. The band student is responsible for loading and unloading his/her equipment; instrument, gloves, show shirt, correct socks and marching shoes. Some students have “section leader” responsibilities, which for most is a first time they’ve had management and oversight responsibilities for others. They have to learn leadership and people skills. Often, at the end of a 4-5yr career, graduating seniors will talk about how

band “taught them” responsibility and accountability.


Band students learn that they are individually important.

There is nowhere to hide in a marching band. All students are active participants. In a typical Indiana marching competition, there are six judges watching and listening; four in the press box and two walking around the field going eyeball to eyeball with performers. Band students understand that a trained judge’s eye automatically goes to what is different; someone out of step, out of line, out of tune, and that an individual performance reflects on the total ensemble score. Seniors and section leaders learn how to balance their role as a mentor and teacher/trainer for the newbie members, while also ensuring that even the newbies get up to speed in time for performance.
Students are trying to follow the ‘dots’ from their chart/dot books that tell them where they are going. It is difficult to see the big picture from that spot on the field, so there are directors or instructors watching from farther back (and sometimes higher up) who will adjust a form or shape. Or perhaps it is to point out that an individual is playing too loudly and needs to balance and blend better with others around them. This is contrary to much contemporary educational philosophy which emphasizes only the heaping of praise on what students are attempting to do. Band students know better, and expect to hear how to improve individual performance. Achievement through excellence enhances self-esteem . The challenge for the individual is to “not take it personally”. I describe to students regularly that I highly value them individually, but that when we are trying to improve a marching performance, that they are but one small moving part of a larger machine and that my job (as a director) is to fix the part to improve the machine….no matter who the part is. Nothing personal.

Band students learn to accept criticism, and that
self-esteem is raised through the achievement of excellence

With the extreme time commitment a marching band requires, students must learn to prioritize their time and use it efficiently, especially when it comes to getting homework done.

Band students learn time management skills.

When you ask people who were in a marching band years ago, they may remember how their overall band performed or competed, but probably not likely that weekly score or placing that seemed so important at the time. But they will remember the values they learned, which is why former band students encourage their children to participate in band as well. This is not the article to argue that band utilizes academics, multiple arts and significant athleticism….. but they get all that as well.
VMO Business Card
Related articles you might want to check out:
And here’s an article published by American Music Parents called “18 Lessons Marching Band Teaches Our Kids
Thanks for reading,
Posted in College Prep, High Schools, Marching Band, Parenting, Repost, Teaching, Teaching Music Tagged with: , , , ,

Everything I Need To Know I Learned In Band, Part 1

Everything I Needed To Know in MB

by John Gardner

Searching at home for a book, I discovered a 1989 edition of Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.

What an easy read of short, humorous, 2-3 page stories of events most can remember or associate with. I suspect 25th edition, available on Amazon addresses more from the cellular, computer and social media worlds.

Reading, I started thinking – two things, actually. First, that I agree with Fulghum’s Sunday school sandbox list, because much of what is eternally important, anyway, I learned in Sunday school. For the purpose of this article, however, I ask,

“Wouldn’t it be fun to have our very own list of life lessons learned in marching band?”

There are some marching band lists published, but most are specific, or include specific school or director names. After you read what I found on the back of the book cover and consider some guidelines, then GO with it – and have fun!

Here’s what is on the back cover, unedited:

Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday school. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life-learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

True, right?

What are some things you learned in band? Include marching, concert, pep or jazz bands, orchestras – from anywhere and any time. I am looking for honest encouragement, sarcastic humor and anything that is clean, fun and does not attack an individual or group. No names. It can be a specific instance as long as it would be understandable and appropriate for a general audience. Consider or elaborate on things like:

  • What happens on the bus… (confessions – anyone?)
  • Band parents are… (like parents, only better?)
  • When band directors say, “One more time”, what they really mean is…
  • Color Guard people need a bigger bubble on the field (like that time when the flag caught the trombone slide and flung it across the field in competition performance)
  • You really can’t go 10 yards in 3 steps (or can you?)
  • Warm water tastes great during a 95 degree rehearsal
  • Sun screen…
  • Things go better when everyone is on the same team
  • Wearing uniforms every week reinforces the need for showers and deodorant…

Parents, what have YOU learned in marching band?


VMO Business Card

Posted in High Schools, Marching Band, Music Department, Public Schools, Teaching, Teaching Music Tagged with: , , , , ,

Get email notice of new posts.

Follow me on Twitter

Phone Detective

Got a phone number and want to know who it belongs to? Click Here!