Band Family

December 19, 2012
“Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are; the ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.” (Bless Your Hearts). What makes a family a family and can these characteristics be applied to those not related by blood? I think so, especially in the case of my band family. Just as blood families have many divisions, my band family has many divisions also, yet we are all one family.

Band is made up of such diverse students. You have the show off (usually a trumpet player), the quiet ones (usually from the flutes), the crazy wild ones (most often percussion players), the love birds (usually just a fling and doesn't last long), the bookworm (the one or two people who are always reading their book), the awkward one (most times a minority instrument group, like in our case, the tenor saxophones), the one that makes everyone laugh (this can be anyone, but is usually someone you wouldn't immediately expect), the geek (boringly perfect), the leaders (everyone knows who they are because they’re the core and heart of the group), and then the director, who wouldn't like to classify him/herself as part of the rambunctious crew even though they know that he/she’s just like the adolescents in a way. These same characteristics could be applied to most blood families and relatives; they still have the geek, the wild ones, the love birds, etc. This makes band members seem more like a family. Even though we are diverse, we have learned to live with each other through the years and accept each other’s differences. According to Jane Howard, in her essay entitled, In Search of the Good Family, “Family life is a set of givens, someone once told me, and it takes courage to see certain givens as blessing rather than as curses.” In our band family we realize that we all play an important role, not only in the sound of the band, but also within our band family. Without certain players, the band would musically sound different and incomplete; same as if we were missing some people’s personalities within our band family. Without the funny and/or wild crazy one, things would seem dull. Without the love birds, we would all focus too much on the work. Without the director and leaders, we wouldn't have a sense of order or discipline. Each of us make up our own part of the band, each of us knows which part we play, and each of us accept how we all differently add to the group; both in the sound and family of band.

These very different individual people make different small groups within us, just like normal families do. Some band members are closer friends than others. For example, people of the same grade are closer than those of different grades. This is the same with blood family. We are usually closer to siblings or cousins of our age than those who are younger or older than us. I feel that I am closer to other members in my grade than I am to those of younger grades. My grade is the eleventh grade family who will graduate and leave together just like we all entered together years ago, save the few we have lost or adopted along the way. The band family character changes each year when this happens. I remember when we used to have the seniors of two-three years ago as part of the group. We were definitely a different group then, than we are now, and the same will apply when our class of 2014 graduates. This is just like when members of a blood family grow up and move away to college or to a new job, and they’re not around anymore. We are all a little sad inside, yet we know it’s a part of life and we have to keep moving on.

There are many different groups within us. “The best chosen clans, like the best friendships and the best blood families, endure by accumulating a history solid enough to suggest a future.” (Howard). In our band family, there are those of us who have been in different honor bands, classes, or concerts together. We remember certain things about these smaller group activities and we have inside jokes that others weren't a part of. These stories and inside jokes make up most of our conversations and keep us all laughing. We’ll say random phrases like “She doesn't like George Michaels!” or “I miss GRAAAACCEE!” or we’ll bring up past funny memories like “Remember that year Paul set off the alarm by opening that exit door at Drake Honor Band” or “Remember that time…” (nevermind, I can’t finish that memory because that one would get me into trouble). Sometimes the best memories are the ones in which we got in trouble or when we didn't, and some are better left unexplained. One of our favorite phrases to say at the end of fun experiences is, “What happens in band stays in band.” Sometimes we can get out of hand with our conversations, especially the guys who can seem immature at times, but we all know that each other is mature beyond their years even if they don’t act like it around their family. Just by being in band and taking the time and discipline to learn an instrument, we are already in an elite category, just like those out for sports or other extracurricular activities; hence why they’re called “extra”-curricular activities. We go above and beyond the normal expectations and work to make ourselves better in everything we do in and out of band. For example, when one of us can’t be there, the rest of us will pull together and step up to do what needs to be done. Last night when our band director left school sick, the band family worked together and pulled off pep band at the basketball game that night, even though we were originally told we weren't going to be able play because we were not capable of coordinating pep band by ourselves. We pulled off pep band even with all our crazy hats, and we sounded pretty good if I do say so myself. Students from some big schools may not get to experience this kind of family bond, but they have other experiences that we have never experienced. Coming from a small town school where everyone knows everyone, we all love and care for each other. This is because we know that any of us will be there for one another when we need them to be. Both in and outside of band we help each other with things like homework, stick together by sitting together at the lunch table or in classes, and talk and share secrets between us because we trust one another. We genuinely care for one another.

To members of our town and teachers we’re classmates, to classmates we’re just friends, but to us friends, deep down inside we’re family. We've laughed together and cried together; we have our ups and downs, but together we grow stronger through experiences that help shape who we are as individual people. Just as how every action has a reaction, even though we are one, we are divided; yet even though we are divided, we are one.

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