By Anthony Mason

As a graduate from high school and a current college student, I have time to reflect back on the six priceless years of my life that I spent in my high school band. During those years, I was completely unaware of the positive effects band was having on my psyche, my physical and mental health, and above all, my overall character as a person and artist.

Music is my life, but without the direction of my peers and directors in high school, I would be a lost soul. My experience with the band proved to be a great help in my decision to make music my career choice. I have learned from my band directors that it takes hard work, sacrifice and strong motivation to be successful. Understanding this has given me the self-confidence I need to work my way to the gates of success and the ability to adjust to the hardships of a professional career. I also know that I must make the correct personal choices throughout my life.

As long as I stay bound to my directors’ simple credo, “Do the right thing at the right time,” I know that I will do just fine.

I am currently a freshman at the Juilliard School in New York and I am having the time of my life. However, I did not get to this point by sheer luck; it was from the life lessons that were religiously taught to me from my first day of band. I know in my heart that if I had never joined band, I would certainly not be sitting where I am today.

Being a part of the band helped me to realize a personal dream that had been dormant for many years. Living out any dream takes hard work and sacrifice. Band gave me the proper foundations I needed to work hard to attain success in not only music, but in life.

Playing in a band teaches you to be successful overall, but perhaps one of the greatest benefits of all to playing in a band is that it is FUN! I can’t remember having more fun at parties or amusement parks than I did with the band. Even if you’re not looking at music as a life-long career, it’s hard not to have a good time when you’re surrounded with fun people!

Playing in your high school band may not be the best activity for everyone like it was for me, but it paid off in many ways which words cannot begin to describe. Those of you who have marched competitively in local and state competitions know what it is like to be part of a band family; cheering for one another, crying on each other’s shoulders, and possessing that one common link between all musicians: the desire to create wonderful music and share it with the rest of the world. That one common trait is what keeps me motivated as a musician, and I hope that you, my fellow music students, share this same experience.