How being a band nerd shaped my life

Yeah, I was that kid in high school. I was constantly carrying around my flute bag because it didn’t fit in my locker; not enough room with my tuner, metronome and cleaning supplies.

Being a member of the Lakeview Bulldog Marching Band allowed me to make friends that I have to this day. Even beyond that, I learned how practice makes perfect, and if you want something, you have to work for it.

Although I’m no longer a music major, being in band all four years of high school prepared me for the real world, at the same time sheltering me from the cruel high school world.

For my group of friends, the band room was our refuge. We would often spend time there during lunch.

We were more than a band. We were a family. Mr. Young and Mrs. Tripi became parent-like figures during band camp, along with all of the band moms and dads.

Music brings people together. On top of performing, it helps students to learn culture and history. It helps kids make friends like the amazing group of friends I still have, thanks to our marching band days.

Shortly after I graduated and was forced to leave my refuge behind, music programs at schools across the country were being threatened. Either “pay to play,” or cutting the programs altogether were too realistic.

Thankfully my alma mater’s program is still up-and-running. We even did alumni band this past year, which was so much fun!

However, I’m not the only one who owes a huge thanks to their high school music program.

Cody Carson, lead singer of Set It Off, wrote an op-ed in Alternative Press about how it’s important for him and the rest of the band to support music education.

“I owe so much of who I am now to the music education programs I was a part of growing up,” he wrote in the editorial.

Even though they are still in the van and sleeping on the floor stage of their band, they’ve donated more than $5,000 to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation by taking a portion of the pre-sale money from their last album.

I started paying attention to Cody Carson in 2008 after he was lucky enough to perform a song on stage with All Time Low during the AP Tour. I followed his YouTube channel and learned how to play All Time Low covers through it.

After watching a few of his videos, he talked a lot about how he was a music major. Like me, he was lucky enough to travel around and learn his craft. His major instrument is clarinet, and he’s been able to incorporate it into his band’s sound.

I was lucky enough to meet Cody in December and we had an awesome conversation about our music major and high school band days.

Even though he went to high school in Florida and me in Ohio, band gave us something to talk about. A bond only known to those who think one of the greatest feelings is putting on the oversized pants and spats.

His high school band also introduced him to Set It Off’s guitarist Dan Clermont. To think if it wasn’t for a bunch of kids being band geeks together, myself and many other fans wouldn’t have one of their favorite bands.

I can’t imagine what my high school life would have been like if band camp wasn’t the highlight of my summer. Or my biggest concern was what chair I would get. I can’t imagine worrying about anything other than whether or not my flute would be fixed in time for a performance.

Whether it’s a local band performing at a hole-in-the-wall bar, or a band of young kids in high school, music programs must be supported. For without them, the world as we know it would be a lot less awesome.