Living a Better Life

Yellow Medicine East High School in Granite Falls, Minn.
Third Place in the MGM Halftime Magazine “Claim Your FAME” Essay Contest

I’ve been in marching band for two years, and it’s inspired me a lot, encouraging me to try new things, accept change, meet new people, set goals, reach them, be a leader, know when to follow and have good sportsmanship.

Some of the first ways that I am inspired in my life from marching band is finding the courage to try new things. This year, my band combined with a nearby school’s to have enough members. This had us meet and work with new people, try new things and also to accept much more change. We all had to get used to different directors, commands, cadences and new people along with the normal routine and music changes.

Also, marching band inspires me to set goals and reach them and to do my best all the time. At the beginning of each season, we sit down and set goals for the group and ourselves individually. Throughout the season, we help each other meet the goals that we set, learning that giving 50% or 70% effort doesn’t work. We all have to give 110% effort, all the time. This inspires me to work hard to do my best in all aspects of my life outside of marching band also.

Before marching band, I wasn’t into learning new music and new things. Now, I love it when we get a new version of our music, and I enjoy learning new things all the time. Marching band has inspired me to set a goal of minoring or majoring in music.

Marching band inspires me to be a leader but know when to follow willingly. I’ve learned that at some time in my marching band career, I’ll most likely have to both lead and follow. Whether leading a file or line or being a drum major and directing the entire band, leadership will exist. Whether following at the back of a file or side of a rank or just watching the drum major for the tempo, I learn to follow.

At the end of competitive parades, we are cheered for, no matter if we win or lose, and we cheer for and respect other bands and their hard work, no matter how everyone does. So after marching band, we leave with good sportsmanship, on and off the parade route.

At the end of every practice and parade, however well we do, our band director says, “You did a great job today.” In a group he tells us to be proud of all the progress we’ve made. Feelings of inspiration, teamwork, goal setting, happiness in learning and pride in hard work carry into the rest of my life. They cause me to work harder, be creative, follow, lead, accept change, respect others and live an overall better life.