Mental Benefits of Marching Band

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Mental benefits of marching band.
Music can heal—in more ways than one.

The past several months of dealing with COVID-19 have left many feeling isolated. Marching band can help in many ways.

Sectional Support System

The friendships forged within a section of a marching band are some of the closest knit. Now more than ever, each section should function as a support system. Members of the section should check on and help each other if any academic, financial, family, health, relationship, or other hardship presents itself. If the challenges are more difficult to resolve, consider contacting a school counselor.

Socially Distant School Pride

The glimmer of the towering stadium lights, the smell of the concession stand, and the sounds of the roaring crowd in many high school stadiums create an atmosphere that transcends football, cheerleading—and yes—even marching band! Game day allows the community to showcase school spirit and pride.

A computer-animated virtual crowd or robotic fans are not likely in the budget of local high schools. Athletic leagues have restricted spectators, and some have even limited the participation of cheerleaders and marching bands. However, bands can keep fans and members energized all season long by implementing a few creative ideas.

  • Salute heroes in the community with a recording of the national anthem. Consider collaborating with a chapter of The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, or other organization.
  • Reach out to alumni to play the school’s alma mater or fight song together.
  • Share favorite “stand tunes” on social media or local television stations.

Medicine for the Mind

One thing is definite this season—it’s different. Navigating the unknown and overcoming disappointments will be instrumental in the school year.

Emotions will run high when the marching band can finally take its place on the field again. Have you ever felt music? In your heart, mind, or soul? Now more than ever, you “feel” music or even the effects of its absence in your life.

Music is medicine for the mind. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music can be used “to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals” in the form of therapy.

Music may be one of many needs in your life. Continue performing music even if your marching season is canceled.

Self-Care Priorities

Be sure to practice self-care by taking several actions to maintain or improve your own mental and physical well-being.

  • Exercise daily.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Prioritize sleep.
  • Seek opportunities for social interaction.
  • Find ways to relax (with music or other means).

Until life can return to normal, be sure to support your members, find ways to rally school pride—even remotely—and include a daily dose of music as you develop a self-care routine.

About the author

Justin M. Eberly

Justin Eberly is a volunteer firefighter and active emergency medical technician in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. He presents emergency services educational and training programs locally and nationally. Eberly has played trumpet for 15 years, previously performing with Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and Shippensburg (Pennsylvania) University. He also serves as a marching band instructor.

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