Marching Band Season: A Personal Perspective

Suggested Improvements for Band Requirements

Joy Hyun, Staff

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As they grow up, many children watch movies about high school. They watch the culture of the student body revolving around the popular football team, who are the stars of the school. They are always the center of the plot while the band sits in the background. It seems unrealistic from the point of view of the elementary or middle schooler watching it. 

It turns out, while things may not be that extreme at Haverford, football is still at the center of our school’s community. There is not a problem with that at all. Football brings our community together. It is a way to boost our school spirit, not to mention that it raises money for future events. However, sometimes it goes a little too far. There are parades around the school when the team wins, pep rallies during school the day before a big game, and the weekly games themselves. These are all great ways to build morale in Haverford, but what else do they have in common? The marching band is required to play during these football events.

Our band program has some of the most passionate people in the school. It is an incredible community where everyone is accepted for their love of music as well as their dedication to the group. It is undeniable that many band members love both the musical and the social aspects of the band. 

However, another important distinction to make is that many other band members are not as passionate about music, and that is completely fine. Everybody has their activity, and if the band is not it, then they have the right to join without all of the extra requirements. Being required to attend every football game and pep rally, not to mention all of the extra practices needed to learn a marching routine, is something that many players did not anticipate when deciding to continue music in the high school band. 

There are people who love music, who join optional activities like Competition Marching Band and the Pit Orchestra for fun. These people enjoy themselves because they genuinely want to be there. They are intrinsically motivated to work hard in producing a good show because they chose to join the activity. They are also extrinsically motivated by all of the enthusiasm being displayed around them. Without this motivation present in the marching band, performers do not put in their maximum effort and thus, the product is not as magnificent as it could be. 

Now there are ways that these problems can be solved or at least improved. The immediate, large scale solution would be to simply make football games a choice or maybe even an extra credit opportunity for the band. That would provide motivation for the band members and make the entire experience better for all parties involved. 

There are also many smaller improvements that could be made to the situation. First, it would be more effective to seat the band closer to the student section, so that the band members, cheerleaders, and student spectators could be a more cohesive support group for the football team.

Another fix that would benefit band members is eliminating the requirement of uniform attire when the temperature is far too low. The number of layers we are permitted to wear under our uniforms is extremely limited (only thin clothing like t-shirts and leggings). In fact, many members of the band would be perfectly willing to go to the football games if their fingers would not become numb and their ears would not sting in the frigid weather.

The people of Havertown love the tradition of Friday nights in the A.G. Cornog Stadium, and band performances are part of that experience. However, Havertown prides itself on making improvements to benefit its people. If the crucial changes are made for the marching band, Havertown’s culture would be greatly improved and the band members would certainly be happier.

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