From the Parents' Perspectives

Three moms discuss marching band's lasting effect on their children

Despite some chilly weather in many states and rain in a few others, the USBands team would like to congratulate and thank everyone who made another great weekend of competition successful!

After many long and late rehearsals amidst school and homework, drill is getting noticeably cleaner, musicians are playing and marching more confidently, and color guards are spinning and tossing with increasing skill and accuracy. As a result, the competition is intensifying as we head into more regionals, and State and National Championships are just around the corner. As of this week, the competitive marching band season is already halfway done!

Some lovely volunteers working at the South Brunswick High School competition last Saturday surely spoke for all band moms and dads as they marveled at the time commitment of marching band in their children’s lives and praised the activity’s effect on young people.

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“I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I still don’t know, but I think it’s really great,” said Faith, a South Brunswick mom and first-year band parent who was selling candy beside the concession stand. “I mean, it’s a LOT of work. What a time commitment! But it really teaches them to work hard and strive for perfection, and that’s such an important lesson for kids to learn.”

“This is my first year, and I have no life!” Sheila, another first-time marching band mom jokingly agreed. Her son is one of only two boys in the South Brunswick High School Color Guard. “No, but they work so hard,” she said. “They’re out there practicing three to four nights a week until 9 o’clock at night, and they’re very dedicated. It’s already been such a good experience. My son went away for the first time to band camp this year. He was gone for four days! He’s definitely more independent and responsible – I’ve noticed that already.”

“Oh now SHE’S the expert!” laughed Sheila and some other South Brunswick moms, pointing to their friend Nancy. “This is year number nine for me!” Nancy laughed. “My oldest was a flute and piccolo player and then a drum major, my next played mallet percussion, and my son who’s in it now plays mellophone – they convinced him to switch over from trumpet for marching band.”

She may be experienced now, but when I asked Nancy if she knew what she was getting herself into with that first flute player, she gasped, “Oh LORD no! But it’s been fun!”

She laughed again, but the pride and gratitude glowed in her eyes as she raved about marching band’s effect on her children. “Oh, this has affected my kids in the most positive and wonderful of ways,” she said.

Like many competitive schools, marching band at South Brunswick entails a pretty intense training program. “It teaches the kids to be very disciplined,” Nancy said. “All my kids have taken advanced classes in high school, and band has taught them to be very disciplined in their approach to schoolwork as well.”

Across the board, marching band students tend to perform at the top of their classes academically, which can surely be attributed to the lasting lessons of hard work and commitment. According to the National Association for Music Education, “Music students are among the best and brightest in school.  Research tells us that they tend to perform better on tests, tend to attend school and graduate at higher rates, and tend to go on to college.” In fact, a Princeton University study showed that “Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT”—up to 63 points higher on the verbal section and 44 points higher on the math than “students with no arts participation” (College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College Entrance Examination Board, 2001).

And not only does marching band enhance academic success – it profoundly affects students’ social well-being as well. “This has really given my kids a home,” Nancy said. “They go to a big school, and the kids in band are so positive. My oldest daughter is about to turn 24, and she’s still good friends with her friends from high school band because they went to college together.”

“This really teaches them to be team players, so they’re very dedicated to each other,” Sheila added.”


Research agrees. An NYU study found that “Students who participated in arts programs in selected elementary and middle schools in New York City showed significant increases in self-esteem" as well as "thinking skills” (National Arts Education Research Center, New York University, 1990).

So, in the midst of all the craziness of school and jobs and practice and volunteering, thanks to all the students who participate in this life-changing activity, and to all the parents who so generously support it. We truly hope to facilitate a learning environment that instills a life-long  pursuit of magnificence in the lives of thousands of young people.


Photos by USBands Media Maker Chris Maher


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