As a drum major, you have hundreds of eyes watching your every move. But when a drum major turns his experience into a blog, hundreds of eyes also get a peak at his inner emotions.
Photo by Michael Laverty, skylinephotonet.shutterfly.com
“… Band, if you’re reading this, I am so proud to be your drum major and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.
The Drum Major”
These were the last words of my first blog. On Aug. 17, 2011, at 8:44 p.m., I changed the way my band saw themselves, and it only took a click on my computer. I hit “Submit,” and I let the Internet world into the life of a drum major.
My plan was to write every week about my life as a drum major. I wanted to expose all of the good things and the bad, the easy and the difficult, the fun times and the serious times, ups, downs, etc., of this leadership position that I have in the marching band.
Before this season, it was always my dream to be a drum major. I’ve never held a leadership position in band, so I thought my dream of conducting on the podium would be very unlikely to actually happen. I wondered what it would be like to have all this responsibility. I wondered what it would be like to have everyone in your hands. I didn’t know anything about it, yet I wanted it so bad.
On the third day of my band’s summer band camp, I decided to create the blog. The title was “The Perks of Being Drum Major.” Every entry was called a “Drum Major Journal,” written like a journal or a letter to someone.
I tried to make it as personal as I could, including every detail and every emotion I felt in the week‘s entry. I really wanted the reader to know what it was like to be in my shoes, as if they were the drum major. If anyone ever wondered what it would be like to have all this responsibility, I wanted this blog to be an example for them. This blog also shows how my band grew, not just as a marching band but also as a family.
We’ve been through a lot of rough patches during the season, but we managed to push through strong. I’m so proud of all of them, and it shows in every entry.
On the Computer
Writing was hard at times. I would never want to offend anybody or make anyone sound bad, so I had to be careful about what I said while still being completely honest. I wrote about all the times my band worked hard at our two- to three-hour rehearsals, and I wrote about all the times we could have worked harder. I wrote about all the times our band director pushed us very hard, and I wrote about all the times our band director gave us praise. I wrote about all the problems I had to fix and all the problems that were beyond my control. There were times when I saw tears of stress and times when I saw tears of joy. I let everything I could out on the blog. I didn’t want to miss a thing.
Everyone that had some relation to band read the blog, from the band members to band parents to band parents’ friends to even our band director. My parents showed the blog to all their friends too. “The Perks of Being Drum Major” definitely got around in the band community.
Many of my peers say they love reading the Drum Major Journals. It shows them that even though I’m doing all this work—like making sure everyone is in step with each other or turning the metronome on and off or helping the instructors with whatever they need— I’m still a member of the band, just like them. I still have emotions, and I care a lot about everyone in band.
On the Podium
It was an amazing experience to be a drum major, but I think that writing about it truly captured its greatness and how it changed my life. I don’t think it would have been the same if I hadn’t created my blog. Every entry was another step into my thoughts about the band.
Without the blog, I don’t think my band would know what I was truly thinking and feeling, and that was the interesting part about blogging my drum major life. I allowed my band to be on the podium with me, showing them what it is like in the uniform. This put the drum major position on a more personal level than most bands are used to, and I believe this helped us grow closer to each other.
On the Future
I hope aspiring drum majors can read my blog and understand that you’re not just giving a cool salute and waving your hands in time. Being a drum major is much more than that. You create relationships with people on a life-changing level. You are responsible for the performance of your band, and you must represent with pride in your heart.
Documenting my drum major experience is something I do not regret. I can always go back and look at it, thinking what an adventure I had. I’m so proud of my band, and I’m happy to have them in my life. I’m glad I let them and all my other readers into my world.
If you are a drum major or are an aspiring drum major, or even if you’re any type of leader out there, I suggest you write about your own world. Who knows, you might inspire someone else.
About the Author
Nick Carrillo is a senior at Newbury Park High School in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where he served as the drum major of the NPHS Marching Band and Auxiliary. He also plays alto saxophone in the wind ensemble and jazz ensemble. His blog, “The Perks of Being Drum Major,” can be found at this link: http://theperksofbeingdrummajor.tumblr.com.