(This post was first written as part of SARV BLOG. It is reproduced here with some edits by the author.)
I loathe the end of the school year. I cannot stand goodbyes. It has gotten to the point that I don’t even go to commencement because I do not trust that I won’t break down into tears. Frankly, I hate endings. There is, however, one moment I relish even less:
Student Staff Leadership Announcement Day
The students wait with baited breath for the Facebook post to hit. They get worked up, filled with anxiety, desperate for the results of auditions and interviews. I, however, sit and stare at the list for days on end. No matter what I do I am going to disappoint some of my students. Some will take a deep breath when they don’t see their name on the list and are ok. Some will become so angry they will throw a chair through a glass door (yes, this happened once). Some will be furious with me – they think I hate them, or at the very least, don’t like them. Some will quit band altogether.
- I sit and stare at the list of names knowing that I cannot give leadership positions out just because a student is a senior and I want to do something nice for them before they graduate.
- I sit and stare at the list of names knowing I must be a teacher and do what I think is in the best interest of each student applicant.
- I sit and stare at the list of names knowing that if my students don’t learn what it is to not get something they want while still in college they may NEVER learn that hard lesson.
- I sit and stare…and stare…at the equivalent of a surgical waterproof bandage placed over a wound that must be removed after 7-10 days. A bandage that has almost become one with the skin. You want to rip it off fast like a bandaid but you can’t. If you do you run the risk of tearing the skin and ripping the wound open. So you proceed gingerly and carefully and slowly….and the agony lasts “forever.” Finally it’s off and all you can do is sit back and hope for the best.
Ladies and gentlemen: being in band is not, has never been, and will never be about securing and holding a leadership title. Sure it’s cool. Sure it means you have a chance to practice teaching. Sure it means you’ve been given responsibilities. Sure it means you can have an impact on the program. But you can do all those things WITHOUT A TITLE!!
- Being a member in your band means setting an example for others. You don’t need a title to do that.
- Being a member in your band means helping the person next to you, teaching the person next to you. You don’t need a title to do that.
- Being a member in your band means being responsible for knowing your music and drill. You don’t need a title to do that.
- Being a member in your band means having an impact on other members, your institution, and every person who ever sees the program. You don’t need a title to do that.
- Being a member in your band is cool in and of itself — and don’t let anyone ever tell you any differently! (…and you don’t need a title to do that.)
Sometimes being a leader is harder than usual…and this is one of those times.
Congratulations to all who received positions on their Leadership Teams. Congratulations to ALL the applicants too — you put yourselves out there and took a chance. That is a bigger accomplishment than anything else!