Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

So what's a "band geek," anyway?

I get that question a lot these days. Can't imagine why

Firstly, band geeks are primarily found in marching bands--although many are proud members of concert/symphonic, jazz bands and orchestras--it's the marching aspect that lends (ahem) street cred to your geekdom.

The second element of geekdom? Practice time. Marching bands are rigorous, (most of the time) competitive groups that perform on a bi-weekly basis for a whole sports season. And when not entertaining the crowd at halftime or in the stands, bands are also participating in competitions and marching in local/regional parades. Prepping for all of that takes LOADS of practice time. Practice that involves:
1. learning and (most of the time) memorizing your music
2. learning--and memorizing--your spot on the field show drill charts (those are the things that tell members exactly where they're supposed to be at any given time on the field during halftime.) here's a sample:

3. learning how to march to your spot while playing your instrument and not crashing into anyone else
4. practicing the "stands tunes" that get played during time outs/touchdowns/stoppages in play
5. learning--and memorizing-- a WHOLE NEW SET OF MUSIC for parades
6. marching in straight lines for parade formation.
7. learning to love a rockin' polyester uniform.

So band kids practice several times a week, and typically start at an intensive "camp" before school actually begins...and, in some parts of the country, the season begins swelteringly hot and ends at freezing. My practice sessions in high school began at 6:50 am and we also rehearsed after school. In college, it was Tues/Thurs, 6:45-10pm, and Saturday mornings anywhere from 3-5 hours before kickoff. Both my high school and college bands also had week long intensive band camps before school started, to help members get a jump on the season.

To do all that, you really have to love several things:
a. Music
b. Sustained discipline and goals
c. The people you're spending all this time with.

That last one? That's the last big part of where the "geek" in band geek comes from. You're with the other members constantly, working together to achieve a goal (a perfect show) that's much larger than the sum of any one person's part. You travel on long bus rides together, stand out in the sun (or rain, or snow, or all three) for hours together, and endure grueling, repetitive practices together. Those people? They become your family. Band members develop inside jokes, slang, and their own language shortcuts out of their shared experience. (Yeah, sometimes we get a little obsessed with 70's and 80's epic sci-fi adventures...but how can you NOT love The Imperial March?!)

So the band geeks in your life? Respect them and the work they do.

Yeah, I'm a band geek. I own it.
(me, as drum major in high school. Respect the skirt. And the hat)

Site Meter


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 13th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
I respect the hat. I OWNED the hat. Awwwwww-yeah.
Kara Rutledge
Sep. 13th, 2011 03:02 am (UTC)
and the chicken. always respect the chicken.
Sep. 13th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
You in that skirt and hat = I love it.
Sep. 14th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC)
I've never put it into words, but yeah, that's exactly what it is. A heckuva lot of work, but also fun. Your fellow band geeks do feel like family.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


• MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING (Dial 2013) was highlighted in the Atlantic Wire's Summer Reading Roundup!

• TOTAL TRAGEDY was named to the master list of Massachusetts Children's Book Awards 2013-2014

• New book alert! MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING will be in stores July 11 2013

• NOTES FROM AN ACCIDENTAL BAND GEEK is out in paperback! And it's on the Texas Lone Star List!

• TOTAL TRAGEDY has been named to the Texas Lone Star list as well as Kansas' KNEA Reading Circle catalog (with a starred recommendation)

• TOTAL TRAGEDY is out in paperback! Ask for it at a bookstore near you.

• TOTAL TRAGEDY has gone into its third printing! Thanks to everyone who bought it!

• MODELS has gone into its fifth printing! Thank you!!

• Have you seen the TT trailer? Go here & check it out:

• Disney's Family Fun Magazine and Girl's Life mag both loved TT! Check out the reviews in their February issues!

• I've signed stock recently at the following stores:
- Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA

• Booklist says, "Some sisterly bonding, the sweet flutterings of a first romance, and a creatively contrived comeuppance for the mean girls make [TOTAL TRAGEDY] a cheerful read for younger middle-schoolers."