Eye-Opening

Eye health is extremely important for a marching musician though the eyes are probably one of the most forgotten organs. The following tips and exercises will keep your eyes in as great a shape as the rest of your body.

Your eyes have to do a lot of work— they help with memorizing music and learning how to play a new instrument; they also help you learn formations and drills and help keep band members in line with each other.

Morning Refresher

When you wake up, try sprinkling a few drops of cool water on your eyes and blinking them open. This refreshing way to wake up will leave your eyes refreshed as well.

After sprinkling the water on your eyes, look up and hold for a beat, look to the right as far as your can, hold for a beat and then return to looking straight ahead. Then look to the left as far as you can, hold for a beat and return your eyes looking straight in front of you. Then look down and repeat the previous sequence looking to the upper and lower corners of your periphery.

Sun Protection

During summer practices, wear sunglasses whenever allowed. Your eyes take a beating under the sun’s rays, especially if your drill practices take place on asphalt or cement—the sun reflects back up from the hard surfaces.

Break Time

On breaks, in addition to relaxing and grabbing a drink of water, try to close your eyes with intention. You are not trying to fall asleep or take a nap. Sit up tall and close your eyes with purpose. Your eyelids should be relaxed and soft. Be sure that the rest of your face is relaxed and that you are not holding tension in your jaw. Try to sit with your eyes closed and your breath even for three to five minutes. Even one single breath with your eyes closed can relax the muscles around the eyes immensely.

Home Remedies

If your eyes feel incredibly tired of overworked, a great remedy is taking two large cotton balls and soaking them in some milk at a cool temperature and placing them on your eyes as you lie on a fl at surface. Try to keep them on your eyes for about five minutes. Repeat as needed.

If your eyes are puffy, try a few slices of cucumber. Be sure to take it right out of the fridge and only slice up what you are going to use—otherwise it will dry out. The slices of cucumber will draw out the moisture from under the skin. Place a slice over each eye and lie down on a fl at surface. Try to keep the slices on for about five minutes. Repeat as needed.

Always be mindful of squinting and furrowing your brows as this can cause undo strain on the eyes. If you wear contacts or glasses, be sure to check with your doctor before adding these practices to your daily routine.

About the Author

After dancing since the age of 3, Haley Greenwald-Gonella thought it was time to try a new art. In elementary school, she began playing the flute and was in the marching band in middle school and for the first two years of high school. She also played the bassoon during concert season. Dance drew Haley back while in high school.

She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts). Haley is also a certified registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She draws upon her dance and yoga training when it comes to all things fitness and the arts.