Friday, July 29, 2011

Days 47 - 49: I Want To Be An Architect

July 29, 2011

11 days - Blue Band Officer Week
18 days - Blue Band Marching Auditions/Band Camp Begins
36 days - Penn State vs. Indiana State
43 days - Penn State vs. Alabama
50 days - Penn State vs. Temple

The marching season looms only ten days from tomorrow.  The officer retreat, the week-long preparation, the rookie audition days, teaching fundamentals, band camp, the first game (or the "second everything") - it's all closer than I'm really perceiving right now.  It doesn't seem that close.  It's tough to think I'll be strutting across the yard lines in Beaver Stadium only five weeks from tomorrow.  A  long journey lies ahead before then though.

I'm not the greatest at putting what I'm feeling into words, but, I'm going to do my best.

I had the chance to do a considerable amount of pondering today about what I expect from this season, and it was all spurned by uncovering a notebook of notes that I scribbled down exactly one year ago when I was an IMPACT staff member at the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy at the University of Massachusetts - the last academy that the late George Parks would ever be at, after decades of doing dozens of camps each and every summer.  Those "scribblings" stirred something in me.  When my thinking got onto the tangent about what I expect from this season, I realized that having expectations about anything can be the equivalent of strapping yourself into a roller coaster - you're set on the single track, and wherever you go... you go, and whatever you experience... you experience.  You can't change the direction of the rails.  It's going to take the plunge once you reach the top of the lift whether you're ready to plunge or not.  I don't want to just buckle myself up, enjoy the ride and then get off, because I'll just want to get back on and do the same thing all over again (...aren't I right about that?), and even more importantly, where would I have left an impact along the way?  Before a coaster gets built, there's an architect.  They may never ride the coaster themselves, but they know ever nuance of it, and they take joy in seeing others experience the end result of their meticulous work.  The analogy applies to pretty much everything that involves providing something for others (composing music, engineering a building, organizing a charity event, etc.)

I didn't audition for this position for myself.  "What goes around, comes around" is a quote that I've lived most of my life by, and although the quote doesn't always come to fruition in life... I still believe that the good that you give to the world will eventually circle back in some way, shape, or form.  In the past three years of my life I've seen it happen first-hand time and time again.  How does all of this tie into this marching season?  I learned last year that my position carries a tremendous amount of influence, more so than I ever expected.  This wasn't anything remotely close to being the drum major of my high school marching band.  I realized that I'm a huge part of making the experience for all of the members of the band.  I'm more than just the person that flips on game-day - that's the easiest part of my position, and I knew that going into it.  That's how I give back to the Penn State fans and experience an adrenaline rush that only 16 other Penn State Drum Majors have experienced (referring to landing the flip - there have been 53 drum majors total).  I'm one of the people they're going to remember when they reflect on their Blue Band experiences years from now.  I want to make those memories as enjoyable as possible... and that is all indicative of my preparation, energy, enthusiasm, creativity, consistency, attention to detail, and most importantly, my ability to connect personally with the members of the band and do whatever I can to make Blue Band a great experience for them.  I wish I had the time of day to be great friends with all 320 members.  I barely even have the time of day to be great friends with myself, heh.  I do what I can though.

So, I've said all of this about expectations, blah, blah, giving back, blah, blah, make it a great experience, blah, be prepared, blah... but it's always easier to talk the talk than walk the walk (if you don't believe me, you must not be a fan of professional sports).  I realize that in order to take everything that I did last year to the next level, I need to come into this season at the level that I was at during the peak of last season, which without doubt was the Michigan game.  I refuse to be rusty on my command calling.  I refuse to be slacking on my mace spinning skills.  I refuse to not give my all to be motivational and raise morale during every stretch/warmup session.  I refuse to conduct every song at any less than my absolute best.  I refuse to go two minutes without smiling or complimenting something that somebody is doing.  I refuse to miss a flip this season.  I want to raise the bar for every future drum major of the Blue Band, and now is the time when that needs to happen... not during officer week, band camp, or during the season.  That's the time for improvement.

So, in short, what do I expect from this season?  I expect to be able to sit back in January and feel accomplished and energized for the 2012 season, with no regrets.  Do I expect to make mistakes?  Of course, that's human... it's like playing golf, the goal is to always shoot better than par.

So, there's my thoughts right now.  In other news, speaking of golf, I played golf for the second time in my life today with my cousin who just graduated from high school and is going to be playing golf at the NCAA DII level at Dominican College in NY.  Mismatch much?  I've been working part-time this summer at a park that has a driving range, so I've been taking every opportunity I get to get some swings in before/during my shifts... so I didn't think I was going to be too awful.  Aside from being pretty terrible at driving (didn't help on those Par 5s) and chip shots just off the green, I was pretty happy being beaten by 31 strokes on nine holes... considering he shot +1, which is just amazing to me.  I hit a 9-iron shot about six feet from the pin from from about 140 yards out, and bogeyed a par 3, so, all-in-all, I'll take my +32 and give myself a pat on the back... I've got the rest of my life to learn how to be a better golfer.  I'm going to play the Blue Course at PSU during syllabus week with a good friend of mine, so, I'll work on my shot up until then... maybe I'll go next week sometime again too.

Aside from that, I've just been in the gym, doing my best to survive without caffeine for the time being, learning cover songs, packing all my things up (again), putting the finishing touches on the drill I've been writing, making a long-term "to-do" list, and gearing up for the storm that's brewing that is the next 5 1/2 months of my life.

That's all for now.
Thanks for reading.
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1 comment:

  1. LOVE the architect part. too true in so many ways. keep up the good work :) Jen