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Marching To My Own Beat

dut. dut. dut dut dut dut. This is the start to the most rewarding ten minutes of my life.

I believe that marching band has shaped me into a better person.

Since my freshman year of high school, I’ve spent my entire last month of summer, as well as the season of autumn, on the marching band field. The long hours spent in the sweltering heat penetrate deep into my emotional and physical being, but I believe that the endurance has molded me into a better person.

During the hundreds of hours that I’ve spent walking to spots while playing my saxophone, I’ve realized that practice is essential. I cannot just pretend to be good; I have to be good. It takes time. The more I practice excellence, the more I want it and the better I get at it; pointing my toe at the right angle, breathing at the right instances, going the right distance—every single time. I know I have to practice and perfect what I do until it’s flawless. True perfection is unattainable, but the drive to reach it becomes natural when I do it enough.

My heightened dedication to marching band doesn’t stop people from trying to bring me down, though. It hasn’t stopped the drivers from making offensive remarks as they cruise past the rehearsal field; it hasn’t stopped the football players in my English class from making it a point to write derogatory sentences about band. I’ve realized my inherent devotion certainly won’t stop future coworkers or neighbors from belittling my honest efforts as they simply want to make me feel inferior.

I just need to remember how badly I want that first place competition trophy, and how much I want to nail every note in my solo. I know I can only accomplish those by playing so passionately that my lungs hurt; by pushing my body further when every tendon and ligament begs for rest; and by playing each and every note with the zeal of doing everything I’ve ever wanted to. While being responsible for my own actions and espousing the utmost discipline, I race for a finish line that I don’t want to reach, and I strive for a perfection that I will never attain. If I’ve learned how to do anything from marching band, it’s how to be passionate about something. I believe that anything I approach in life needs to receive this kind of intensity.

When I step onto the marching band field, everything feels okay. That same haven with those same 100 people who spent three labor-intensive months learning a show will always exist. I believe with my entire heart that the morals and values I’ve drawn from marching band have shaped me to be who I am today and will be reflected in everything I do henceforth. I just know that marching band will always be a place of security for me, and that in the great school of life, all paths will lead back to the practice field by the stadium.



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