Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Marching Band

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Paul Lintern

Marching band was that important, special high school time when I learned all of the essential, valuable lessons that would guide me the rest of my life. That was important to me, because I slept through kindergarten. Everything I need to know, I learned in marching band.

  • We spend a lot of time marking time (moving our feet without going anywhere).
  • Don’t blow it, unless you are a horn player.

• If someone comes at you with a metal tube, even if it is a good-looking girl, duck.

• If you want to get noticed, step out of line.

• If you don’t want to get in trouble, stay in line.

• It is best if everybody is reading off the same page; al least, hope that the clarinets and saxophones are reading off the same page.

• If someone is up front, waving his or her arms, it is good to at least take notice of that.

• March to a different drummer, but not at halftime.

• Don’t use an instrument heavier than you, unless it comes with wheels.

• Your mouthpiece is your friend; don’t share it with others.

• Don’t assume people will warn you when they are about to head off in a completely new direction.

• If you find yourself where you are not supposed to be, make up your own routine.

• Do let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.

• Don’t begrudge others for stepping into your playing field, especially if they are wearing football uniforms.

• C-sharp or you will B-flat.

• Hope that your school has a fight song that is worth singing, because you will never be able to forget it the rest of your life.

• Don’t count too much on landmarks that can get rubbed off by a fourth-down pile up.

• The amount of noise a person can make is not necessarily dependent on the size of the instrument.

• The left foot is just as important as the right foot, and knowing which is which is most important of all.

• Practice makes perfect, but it you don’t have time to practice, redefine perfection.

• Let everything that comes from you be noteworthy.

• Take life one step at a time.