|Photo Credit: Drumline Shirt via Pinterest Sadie Cotter|
|Photo Credit: Drumline Dut via Pinterest Madison Van Antwerp|
Involvement with music gave me so much when I was young. I was exposed to the discipline required to learn an instrument (or in my case, the broad spectrum of percussion). I got to see firsthand the value of working endlessly to improve myself. It helped me to realize that while there are plenty of people with innate talent, nobody is naturally great at anything. Putting in the effort to do anything is more easily said than done, but the feeling of passion is a truly significant experience which extends far beyond my ability to control sticks bouncing off a drum head.
Music was probably my first experience with real passion, and it’s something I have been searching for ever since. I came into my freshman year of college excited to become a computer engineer. I wanted to learn to build things and shape the digital landscape, and the starting salary didn’t look too bad, either. It didn’t take long to realize that I had some tough skills to learn, and being behind my peers who had programming classes in high school wasn’t going to help.
|Photo Credit: Drumline Drums Fight Back via Pinterest Rebecca Montano-Smith|
|Photo Credit: Drumline Motto via Pinterest Sydney Hamilton|
That wasn’t a big deal, though. I’d had no music experience prior to joining my first band program, while plenty of kids had been at least taking piano lessons. I was still able to become one of the better drummers at my school. The problem came when, after two semesters, it was obvious that I had no passion for my field. It was interesting to learn about circuits, and really rewarding when I finally got a program to work, but there was no desire to really dedicate myself and hone the craft. I transferred into advertising my sophomore year for a chance to work more creatively. Now I’m two months away from graduation, and while I still haven’t experienced the same feeling I got from music, I know that I’m closer, and I’ll be able to recognize my niche when I find it.
But music has provided me with a lot more than just a work ethic. It was a huge part of my adolescence, and it continues to be a big part of my identity today. I went to a big high school, and when people ask if I knew someone, my response is always, “Were they in band?” While I had plenty of friends, very few relationships came outside of music programs. I think one of the greatest features is the way that passionate people are brought together. There are plenty of archetypes that young musicians fit into, but band was still a way to bring a lot of different, unique people together. I can think of countless friends who I never would have made because we came from different backgrounds or social circles, had different outside hobbies or took different classes. That all mattered a lot less, as we bonded through a common passion. It takes a lot of work to improve individually and as a group, and it’s hard to spend that much time around like minded people without forming strong relationships. Bandmates became college roommates. Teachers became mentors and friends. I could have gotten to know people through other means, but I doubt I could have replicated the same bonds.
I’m less involved with organized music today, but it’s still something that’s very special to me, and it makes me genuinely happy to see others enjoying the opportunity. I’ve taught the drumline at my old high school every summer since I graduated, and as much work as it can be, it will probably be my favorite job for a long time. I take on a new role as an outsider, but I get to help the next generation fuel their passion and form friendships that will follow them wherever their paths may take them. It’s a privilege to be a part of that, and I’m incredibly grateful for every experience music has given me.