EDITORIAL: Balancing Act of Band and Academics

In each year that passes, the Marching Band increases in their level of skill, and continues to develop their prowess in music. This year, they managed to achieve first place status in the BOA Regional competition. They also placed 17 out of 84 in the Super Regional Competition in San Antonio. But these victories have not come without cost. Often times, it is up to the students to manage their time wisely and overcome the pressure that is put upon them to succeed.

Typically, students in band are in at least one AP or Dual Credit class, and often times more. One of the senior Drum Majors, Lauren Mrachek, is taking 3 AP classes. Senior Paige Greene, a member of the Front Ensemble, is taking one AP class, and multiple Dual Credit Classes. Many of these classes are fairly challenging, and require time devoted to these classes. Some students in band also participate in clubs and after school activities other than band, and many have jobs. All of these activities take time, effort and devotion.

However, the band has placed strict rules on other activities outside of practices. Missing a practice to attend another club meeting results in an unexcused absence from the practice. And missing just one practice for a varsity student could mean the loss of their varsity spot in the marching show. After school jobs also come into play more often than not. It’s completely understandable that the band requires extra time for practices. Most clubs and organizations often do. Constant practice makes for an incredible performance. Band directors, however, are willing to compromise. Often times after a longer practice, directors will provide students with a study hall or a time for some catching up. The directors are not ignorant to the time students put towards other activities. They simply teach them to balance their time, and offer opportunities for stress relief.

Band, like any other school activity, takes effort, practice and devotion. Some students can handle the pressure, and work off of it. Others, not so much. Other students have left the band due to the limit put on other extracurricular activities. Maybe they had different expectations of band, or they simply don’t like being a part of it in general. Owen Myers, currently a junior, left the band after his freshman year to pursue journalism, and to have time to focus on his AP classes. However pressure is sometimes relative to a situation. A student can feel overwhelmed by a class simply because of band, when it was never the true cause of the stress. Maybe students simply need to take pressure off themselves by switching to a lower level class.

But on the case of extra-curricular activities, the solution is really just deciding on a compromise. Students who participate in other activities need to let band directors know when they will be out for a practice. Students can have excused absences if they let their band directors know beforehand, with at least a note from said club director. It is rare that some students may simply skip a practice, however the case is present, which is unacceptable on the students part.

Before the marching season starts, students can choose to join either the varsity band or the JV band. Students who join varsity are choosing to accept a bigger commitment, longer practice hours, and less absences. That’s not to say that students who have jobs should not participate in varsity. Many students fix their work schedule to coincide with their practice schedule. But if a student who has a job at Chick-Fil-A works on a Tuesday night, conflicting with a four o’clock practice, which is more important? Missing a single practice to earn some extra money for college? Or risk being suspended from work or even fired for a varsity spot in the high school band?

The answer isn’t “if you can’t take it, don’t participate.” That’s not fair to the students. Many love being in the band and having the opportunity to develop their skills in music. The answer is to relieve yourself of unnecessary pressure. For some students, those pressures come in the form of weighted, or AP classes. Some will see it as a varsity spot or commitment. And some, sadly, will see the band as the overwhelming pressure. But whatever the case may be, students are supported by their directors. So if a student is feeling overwhelmed, they should not give up just yet. Band is often looked at as one of the biggest families in Timber Creek. And a family is always supportive of one another. No matter what.

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