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Middle school band

Great music starts with the basics.

In recent years, both as a photographer and as a spectator, I’ve spent a fair amount of time enjoying phenomenal live performances in competitive marching music and movement. The activity is all about pedagogy. Drum and bugle corps worldwide dedicate the lion’s share of their payroll to instruction. Without competent education and lots of it, groups can’t compete.

But where do advanced students and world class musicians start out? Everyone remembers the famous prodigies who composed their first symphonies before they could ride a bicycle. But for almost every drum corps member, musical training starts in middle school.

So when our youngest kid played her final middle school band concert last week, I brought the 300 and the monopod. Were there a few raised eyebrows in the grandstands? Probably. I didn’t care. Someday, one or more of these kids will be performing in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans. They deserve a photo or two to help them relive the early concerts and recitals. And there’s something worth remembering about learning the fundamentals. At very least, it’s good to be able to show future friends and family what we looked like when we were starting out.

Published in Marching arts