As any marching band vet can tell you, there is a steep learning curve in your first year. No matter how great of an instrumentalist you are, experience is extremely valuable in marching band. That is why newbies can find themselves a little lost when they first join. To help you survive the year, here are three big tips to keep in mind:
1. Listen and learn
In your first year, there will be a lot of new information to absorb. In rehearsals, listen as much as you can to both your director and your peers. Those around you have the advantage of experience and knowing what it takes. Let them guide you. Listening doesn't mean you should never speak, though. Ask questions and form relationships with your bandmates. You will be spending a lot of time with them, so it's important that you get to know each other on a personal level.
2. Practice, practice, practice
Despite being a large group of musicians, marching band relies on individual effort. This means you'll need to practice as much as possible to make sure you're bringing your best to the field. These personal practice sessions should include warm-ups to hone certain skills, sheet music focus to nail the arrangement and routine rehearsal to memorize the choreography.
3. Don't just play from memory
Of course, it's important to memorize routines to make sure you don't make a mistake, but that's no way to approach musicianship and performance. In a show, make sure you're putting feeling into the piece. Your enthusiasm and passion will help make a good show a great one – an extra step that is always recognized and appreciated.