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?


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17 yrs experience as a high school band director. 14 yrs as college adjunct faculty. 30+ yrs in the fundraising industry and 24 yrs as a small business owner. (Don't add all those up.). Experience in both the fundraising sales and education worlds give me a unique combination of perspectives in both. I love working with the youthful enthusiasm of today's teenage achievers and with those who work with them. Also 4yrs as proprietor of VirtualMusicOffice.com, which offers a wide variety of virtual services including web/blog design/hosting/managing, social media management (scheduling posts/tweets for maximum impact and brand enhancement) and small business consulting - specializing in school product fundraising.

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