Afterschool, many students head to volleyball, cheerleading or football practice.During study halls, many pass notes and chat with friends. At night, studentsfinish homework and turn on the TV. This seems the norm, but what about thestudents who head to marching band practice after school? Who practice music andnew rhythms during study halls? Who go to piano or voice lessons at night? Youdon't hear too much about them, but band and choir - or music of any kind - canbe just as much fun as any other activity.
Often it's a matter ofpreference, but many students would never dream of joining a band, choir ororchestra because it's not considered "cool." Why studying music becameunpopular is something I can't fathom.
Being a member of a choir or bandis a lot like being a member of a sports team. They warm up together, work ontechnique together, perform together, compete together and grow together. If oneperson is off, the whole group is too. Band and choir are group activities, andafter a while you start to act, think and feel like a group. It's not just aboutthe music; the teamwork brings a sense of unity (especially in music) that hasthe power to evoke love, pride, determination, anger and a thousand otheremotions. To me, it is another way of teaching the same principles found in othergroup activities.
Maybe you don't think playing an instrument or singingis as exciting as pitching a no-hitter. I've seen a winning touchdown scoredafter a losing streak, and I know the exhilaration it brings, with the crowdscreaming, the band playing pep songs and the team exchanging high-fives. ButI've also seen when a world-class pianist plays in a concert that there's just asmuch, if not more, cheering and excitement at the end of the piece as afterscoring that winning touchdown. And I've been with an honors choir after anexceptional concert, where there was as much celebration as I imagine there is inthe locker room of a victorious team.
Band and choir members haveopportunities that members of other groups may never have. There are groups andsummer camps for gifted musicians just as there are teams for gifted athletes.And then there are the once-in-a-lifetime experiences not limited to thisspecific area (such as a once-every-four-years trip to Disney World for my highschool's marching band - who can resist that?).
My hope is not that I'vepersuaded you to join a music group or that music is better than anything else,but that you realize although music isn't as popular as football or track, itdeserves support and recognition and can be fun, too. I know making music doesn'tappeal to everyone, but when you think about music's impact on the world, I thinkyou will realize that it wouldn't still be around if it weren't fun.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.