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Marching band is more than just another after school activity- it’s an adventure in learning a different language and making new friends. Not only does marching band exercise the mind and body, but it encourages friendships, cultivates creativity, and provides students with a unique opportunity to grow as individuals. Its foundations and lessons make it an extremely valuable learning experience for children of all ages. From becoming more disciplined to understanding the complexities of working as a team, here are valuable life lessons your child will learn during their time in marching band.

1. Multi-Tasking

Marching while playing a musical instrument is challenging, but try marching at one tempo and playing at another. This complex task is performed day in and day out by each and every member of a marching band. This learned ability to multi-task will come in handy later in your child’s life when multi-tasking through college courses, enterprise-level meetings, and parenthood are crucial for day-to-day success.

2. Responsibility

When it comes to marching band, each member is held accountable for certain things. For example, a color guard member is responsible for memorizing their flag work, while a tuba player is responsible for ensuring their instrument is tuned and polished. In being held accountable for their own responsibilities, your child will become a more independent, self-reliant, and responsible member of society.

3. Discipline

If you’ve never spent time in a marching band, you might not realize exactly how disciplined marching band members are. Band leaders use phrases like “band ten hut” to instantaneously command the attention of the entire marching band. Additionally, the band and color guard are taught to respect each other in the same way they’d respect their band leader or parent. Being able to listen to and obey orders is not only critical in marching band, but critical in life.

4. Teamwork

One of the best things about marching band is the idea that each individual member is as important as the next. There’s no such thing as having too many people, as long as the members are able to work together as a team. While each member has their own responsibilities, it all comes together to form one thing: a marching band. In the process of learning each movement and memorizing each note, your child’s bond with the other marching band members will help the band accomplish their overall goals.

5. Endurance

Marching band is a time-consuming, all-weather sport. Your child will take part in uncomfortable summer rehearsals before school starts in the fall, and he or she will have to pile on winter coats and scarves during early winter performances. Even when the going gets tough, marching band members learn to encourage one another to keep going. This endurance can be translated to school projects, employee groups, and interpersonal relationships.

6. Time Management

Any marching band member can agree that being part of a marching band is a huge time commitment. Between two hour rehearsals two to three days a week, and performing at football games, high school exhibitions, and competitions, finding the time for homework, after-school jobs, and other activities can be difficult. But, in the end, your child will quickly learn how to manage their time- a skill many adults continue to have problems with later in life.

9. Presentation

As a color guard or marching band member, your child will be expected to present themselves in a professional manner, including a clean, pressed uniform, and impeccable posture. By having to pay attention to how they present themselves to other people at an early age, they’ll feel more prepared for college consultations, job interviews, and any other instance where looking (and acting) their best is essential.

10. Leadership

If you think there aren’t any leadership opportunities in a marching band, think again. From ranked squad leaders to drum majors, there are plenty of ways your child can practice their leadership skills in a marching band environment. While leadership skills may come naturally to some, other children require the right platform and, for some, that platform is a high school marching band.

7. Losing Gracefully

While winning is the ultimate goal, marching band members will soon realize that winning isn’t everything. Marching up to salute the head judge at a competition only to receive an honorable mention award in front of an entire stadium of people is a lesson in humility, and one that will stick with your child through each and every loss they’ll experience in life. From break-ups to lost jobs, being able to accept loss and move on with life is a key lesson to learn.

8. Personal Growth

For students who are especially shy or afraid of performing in front of others, joining a marching band can help calm their fears and boost their self-confidence. Additionally, by sharing in the same experiences and downfalls with a group of like minded individuals, your child will have access to a built-in support system from which they can personally grow and develop. Each time your child takes the stage or gears up for a performance, they’ll gain a little bit more confidence.