Memorizing game plays is a large roll in football and other team sports, same with band. You must remember the basic notes, key signatures, and various other musical symbols. Then there are the hundreds of sets, or where and when you have to be on the field during the show. Just one person off can throw off the entire form or melody. Athletes selected for the Olympics have trained for almost all their lives for their event. In Bellevue Wests marching training, we have a two week period of living hell, aka band camp.
You basically do nothing but eat, sleep, and think band during the two hottest weeks of the entire summer. Mr. Haugen, our band director, pushes hard and some break down and quit, but in the end, the majority of the group is remaining. All thats left now is a well oiled machine, just like any sports team. I only hinted how physically demanding this extra-curricular activity actually is. You must carry an instrument exactly level while marching, and all your body wants to do is bounce up and down like loose luggage.
Then if youre a sousaphone, like me, you have around 45-50 lb. ushing down on your shoulder as you try to elevate yourself as high as possible, as to follow correct marching form. Then you must remember that half your air as you march down the field, goes to playing your instrument. If thats not enough, youre also trapped in a dark, thick fabric uniform, squeezing the last whistles of your breath from your lungs. It may be only for 15 minutes, but even track athletes get breaks in-between events. In those god-forsaken uniforms, that quarter hour feels like centuries. For some odd reason, people have the idea that its easy to play in motion, its anything but!
You must have incredible music-making skills, especially considering your bouncing up and down as you sometimes run to get to your spot. Sports are very physically strenuous and demanding, so is marching. Sports teams practice all year long to get ready to compete, we only the summer and a few weeks into school. Each individual plays such a key role in the tone and appearance of the band, its unreal. Marching band isnt just a bunch of nerds and fat guys playing tubas. Its a tight-knit brotherhood of strength and skill. Like football, if you are not in the right spot, you arent scoring the touchdown.