So, You Have a New Instructor?

Chris Dillon

I recently moved from the West Coast to the East Coast and found myself instructing a new color guard. Actually, this guard isn’t new at all. In fact, I was the new one.

Before me, the group enjoyed many years of success under its previous instructor. Nonetheless, this season they found themselves staring face to face with a West Coast transplant who approached teaching guard a bit differently than what they were used to. I am quite sure the temptation to think, if not say, “This is not the way we do it,” was very real when suddenly the guard was learning and approaching things in very different ways.

It must be a bit uncomfortable and even a little concerning (especially for the veterans) when the entire culture of a guard changes. In fact, let’s be honest, it can be downright scary to let go of the old way of doing things and embrace a new approach with a new voice behind it.

Embrace Change

Regardless of comfort level, each and every member needed to make a conscious choice about whether they were going to “buy in” and trust me with their guard lives for the next school year. Thankfully, they made the choice to trust this new way of doing things, and it has worked out really well for everyone involved. They have embraced the change of a new instructor, discovered how strong they are as a team, and are blossoming into a better guard every single day.

Choose Progress

If you find your guard to be in a similar situation with a new instructor, please understand that the choice is yours. Choose to cling to the way things used to be, and you will be creating unnecessary friction that could ultimately seriously diminish the success of your season. Or, choose to buy in and trust a new way of doing things and find your guard in a new season of moving forward and getting better.

Instructor changes can be scary, but you know what is scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing as a guard.

About author

Chris Dillon

Chris Dillon has been involved in marching arts activity since 1981 as a performer, instructor, designer and adjudicator.  Currently, she is an adjudicator for Drum Corps International, WGI Sports of the Arts, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC), Florida Federation of Colorguards Circuit, Indiana High School Color Guard Association, Texas Color Guard Circuit, and several others. She held the position of education coordinator for the WGASC for the past eight years.

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