Blogger Widgets Ender-Chan's Thoughts: This is Why I Joined Band

Sunday, August 24, 2014

This is Why I Joined Band

A Foreword: This is not a how-to. Everyone who has ever been in band has had their own strategy to thrive musically and make friends. Band made a difference in my life. It made more confident and gave me something to be proud of. If band stuff, acceptance, or having a passion offends you, I strongly suggest that you go somewhere else. If "it's just band", then "it's just football, soccer, bouldering, lacrosse, video gaming, choir," or whatever your passion is. This post is for anyone who helped me thrive musically, my friends, my enemies, and interested random third parties with varying degrees of connection to band culture, but it's mostly for me. Being a reflection of personal feelings and experiences, it does not inherently reflect the feelings of band culture as a whole. No story of finding one's passion is typical, so do not expect these results.

First of all, I never planned to be in band. I wanted to be in living skills because I knew it would be practical later. I listed band as an alternate because I have always wanted to play a wind instrument. It would be an achievement that not everyone else can say they have. Little did I know that would be my passion.

The Story
When the time came to choose my instrument, I tried many and produced a successful sound out of all of them. I was attracted to the euphonium, but then remembered I would need to carry it around with me. The clarinet seemed  like a suitable choice, but I did not want the hassle of reeds and the squeaking is horrendous. I settled on the flute, which seemed to suit me the most. It was the most convenient to carry, easy to clean, and the least expensive of the options, but I mainly loved its sound. That pure, resonant ring stood out from the rest and I knew that was what I wanted. I was the only flutist for a short time and I liked that way. When another flutist joined the band, it was upsetting and disorienting for me. I felt like my individuality was stripped away. She did not know my xenophobic tendencies, so my reaction confused her. I eventually warmed up to the new member after the feelings faded. Band is definitely for me, I thought as I decided to ascend to the next musical level.

Before a band competition, I had fun with my best friend at SeaWorld San Diego. We rode Manta nine times and ate candy beads from tubes. Aside from being stuck with unfamiliar people, it was a great experience. Being Divergent fans, we felt "dauntless" after riding. After what seemed like a fleeting moment, we ate dinner. It consisted of Mexican food swimming in cheese. We ate around the cheese and scraped it off. She liked the beef taco and I liked the chicken enchilada. After sleeping in a hotel, the day of the competition came. After performing Rites of Tamburo and A Cowboy Life, the band received a silver rating. It was an improvement from last year, but we still wanted the gold!!! Friendly competition spurred my passion for band yet again.

Now, I am in marching band and I love it so far. Who knows where the winds of music will take me? I might end up as a band director, music teacher, or have a non-musical career while pursuing the flute as a hobby.

Being in band made me more confident and it gave me something to own and be proud of. Not everyone can say that they play a musical instrument and march with it. I have embraced the challenges wholeheartedly ever since day one. In band, I'm not the shy autistic girl. I'm the brave, bold, and spirited self-advocate who never fails to play strong and play on. I memorized all my major scales, some in one octave, and some in two. I successfully auditioned for a non-school band and plan to make friends and memories with the flute section and a few others.       

Jiro Ono from the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi says "You must fall in love with your work" and so far I feel like I have. I don't mind the long hours of band camp that require me to eat an early dinner or how practice cuts into other things. It is the life I have chosen and I will embrace it. Some may say things like "Get over it, band geek", "You're being ridiculous", or "It isn't that hard," but I will brush those comments off. If they had a passion, they would understand how fulfilling it is to work hard at something you love. When I first joined band, I had trouble supporting my flute for more than 20 seconds. Now, I can hold it for an entire 3-4 minute song while marching. This increase in endurance may seem insignificant, but it means the world to those in a musical field. Contrary to what science would say, playing music is not just producing pleasing sound patterns. When I play in band, I feel the vibration in the ground from bass instruments and percussion, the resounding melody in my head, and the harmony tie it all together by filling the rest of me with sensation. During marching, I also feel my footsteps, smell the astroturf, and feel the soreness from jumping jacks, running, laps, and other kinds of warm ups. It is the hardest thing I have done, but I continue to love it.

I never realized I wanted to be in band until there was no going back. I look at the whole "band geek/nerd" thing as something to embrace and flaunt. It taught me to be a better self-advocate. I never had a reason to join band, but I have many reasons to stay.


  1. How awesome that band helped bring about more confidence!

    1. Thank you for commenting! I like your blog.


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