Life comes with many challenges and obstacles along with great rewards for hard work, determination, and a great attitude.
If you’re a member of your high school band, then you already know these qualities and have demonstrated them time and time again. However in life, all good things - that last slice of pizza, the last episode of The Office, or Chicken Nugget Wednesday - must come to an end.
While graduation is right around the corner, some of you might be thinking, “These last few weeks are going to be the last time I ever play my trumpet.”
Well, why does it have to stop at high school? Just because that guy who plays first chair trombone is going to be a music major at "So-and-So" University in "Wherevers-ville" doesn’t mean you aren't good enough to continue in music yourself. There are plenty of avenues to continue playing your instrument well beyond your high school years.
There is this big misconception that if you are not a Music Performance or Music Education major in college then playing has no benefit to you. This could not be more false. Most college marching bands are made up of those who are not studying music. Let that sink in for a minute.
There are even some university marching bands that have no music majors (or very few) like both The University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands and the Thomas More University Marching Band. The Million Dollar Marching Band at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide) who is one of the most televised marching bands in the United States are made up of nurses, engineers, teachers, and more. The best part is there is no audition to be in the marching band and is open to everyone.
Let's say that concert band is really where you shine; "Surely these college groups are reserved for music majors, right?" *Enter loud taboo button sound* Wrong again, my friend.
While some of these concert bands and small ensembles may only be accessible through audition, (usually the top groups) anyone is free to audition. Many students who play in these groups are not music majors. If you do not like auditioning or it terrifies you, that is okay! There are concert bands at every college that are non-audition groups and are still wonderful ensembles.
“But here is the thing, I know college isn’t for me. There can’t be any opportunities for someone like me, right?” Well, you would be wrong again.
There are plenty of opportunities outside of school for you to play your instrument. Look around! You can usually find a community band somewhere local. These groups are usually made up of members of your community that get together simply for the joy of making music. They are welcoming and take anybody who has a passion for music and wants to play their instrument.
There are also groups called "all-age drum corps." While these have a little more select instrumentation and fees, they are a great opportunity you wish to continue playing and marching. The local drum corps here in Cincinnati is Cincinnati Tradition Drum & Bugle Corps. They have members as old as 67 still marching! These activities typically only last through the summer, but there are other competition winds groups that compete during the winter: Inertia Winds, Rhythm X Winds, and more! (Hey color guard members, this includes you too!) Learn more about DCI and WGI Winds.
While you are experiencing your senior year and knowing graduation is right around the corner, keep some of these options in mind. You may not want to continue playing and that is okay. However, if you love playing your instrument, then find your niche. There are others like you that are looking for the same thing! There are many avenues to keep playing, so do not give up something you love!
Keep playing and making beautiful music the way only you know how to do.