One of the best things about LOMB is the way it encourages your student to become more responsible. Not just personal accountability (reporting on time, bringing the proper equipment, rehearsing well, and performing their best) but they also quickly adopt an attitude of social responsibility.
Marching band kids learn how to be leaders.
LOMB is a head start on high school. With 4 months of exposure to the building and campus, plus an established set of friends, freshman marchers begin high school with a unique confidence. They start out already fitting in.
That sense of purpose grows as they move through marching band seasons. They meet challenges and they help their section-members progress. Band students are the most supportive bunch of kids you’ll ever meet.
So it’s only natural that 2-3 years into LOMB, many marchers are looking for additional leadership roles. Every one of these kids knows how to meet a deadline and how to motivate themselves and others. They haven’t just read about leadership, they’ve practiced it daily.
LOMB has a great staff of instructors and volunteers but what’s amazing is how much of band is student driven, student led. You’ll be hearing a lot about the kids in leadership positions "John said this…” and "Sarah wants us to do that…” Your student will have several older kids who genuinely care about them and who take an active role in their lives. It’s pretty cool, especially as you watch your child move from the cared-for to the care-giver.
So who are the marching band’s student leaders? What do they do? I asked Mr. Steele to help explain the appointed roles.
Section Leader- this is usually the first student you’ll hear referenced at the dinner table. You’ll definitely hear them quoted a lot. Mr. Steele says:
Section Leaders are an experienced student marcher, selected by audition each spring, from each instrument section. They are responsible for communication withand coordination ofthe members of their section. These students provide assistance to students, including help with marching and music. They will set up and run sectional rehearsals throughout the summer and fall.
Section leaders become your student’s big brother or sister. They mentor the new kids, they challenge the experienced kids. Section leaders are the role model your student will interact with most each year. Get to know the name of your student’s section leader and refer your student to them whenever there’s a question. They’re the first stop for questions, for help with music or drill, and the simple what-to-do-where-to-go stuff.
As a parent, you’ll want to make contact with the section leader’s parent. Most sectional rehearsals and gatherings will happen at their house. You can ease your own nerves about teen events by knowing the family and the setting. These are also experienced parents who can help guide you through the season.
Horn Sergeants (Brass & Woodwind) or Captains- this is the student your child will admire. Mr. Steele tells us:
The Horn Sergeant is an experienced marcher, selected by audition. They are in effect, the section leader of the section leaders and will coordinate with the section leaders in their caption (brass orwoodwind). The Horn Sergeant is also often responsible for running group warm-ups at rehearsal. Percussion and Guard have Captains who perform these functions for their sections.
In my years watching from the sideline, I’ve decided that sergeants and captains are actually super heroes in disguise. They combine crazy-mad instrumental skills with the ability to inspire your kid to be the best performer they can possibly be.
When parents think leaders, they think Drum Majors; but it’s the sergeants and captains who are in the trenches with your student every day, showing them fingerings, positions, and steps during rehearsals. They are leaders on the field, performing ALONGSIDE your student. Each one of these kids has their own special brand of awesome and you should make an effort to learn who they are and watch them on the field. They’re the best of the best.
Drum Majors- these kids supervise the whole picture, both on and off the field. Mr. Steele says:
Drum Majors are experienced students, selected by audition, who are the conductors of the marching band. They are the student leaders of the entire band. With guidance and supervision of the directors and staff, they run rehearsals by giving all commands to the marchers. They coordinate with the Horn Sergeants and Captains.
I can’t believe how much the drum majors do for the band. They’re constantly in motion, all season long. Sit in the stands during a field rehearsal and you’ll understand why Drum Majors are so special. They conduct, they organize, they make special trips… and they do it all at a full-speed run rather than a walk. They’re the first to arrive, the last to leave, and if anyone’s going to grow up to manage a Fortune 500 company, it’s a Drum Major.
Drum Majors are the bridge between the adult staff and the students but they’re also a great parent resource. There may be 150 kids on the field but they know your son or daughter; they know their strength and their weakness and a Drum Major wants to help. Be sure to meet the DMs and thank them, your kind words make a hard job easier.
So that’s the list of kids-in-charge. Hopefully this clarifies what you see from the stands and what you hear in the car on the way home from rehearsals. These are the students your child looks up to, but they’re also a preview of what your marcher is about to become.
Welcome to marching band, it’s a place of great potential.