All Polka, All the Time

…that is my neighborhood in a nutshell. Nonstop polka music. I live next to a park, and the locals are party animals. I guess I should have figured that out, what, seven years ago, when we moved here? Well, better late than never.

So, I think that since I spent most of today writing a story that I’ve been working on for a while, I should be exempt from Story a Day. However, since I’m making the rules for myself–because when you think about it, no one’s really going to punish me for not going through with it–I might as well try that “self-discipline” thing people were telling me about. I’m going to need that if I ever think I can be a drum major…

I’ve been working on-off with my drum major essay all day… I don’t know why I’m actually getting stressed about it. The worst thing that could happen would be that I don’t become a drum major and then–oh no—I have to march and play next season. I really have nothing at all to lose.

~

Okay, the essay is done. That took me, what, all day? Hm. That’s actually some high-quality writing.

You know what? I know it isn’t a story. But I did write some of a story today, and that’s all the assignment was. I don’t have to share with you every day. However, since I’m generous and don’t want you all–well, all one of you, anyway–to have nothing to read! So here it is: my essay for drum major tryouts.

The original purpose of a military drum major was to defend the drum and bugle corps in battle, because they were necessary for communication. While the [marching band] don’t necessarily battle any military adversary, the drum major still exists to lead the band and represent what it means to be a marching [band member].

The drum major should be someone who people want to follow. She should be trustworthy and reliable, someone who the band can depend on. She needs to have consistency, a trait that I find in myself. I can maintain a positive attitude and I am always enthusiastic about improving the band as a whole. I want the best possible performance and I won’t settle for anything less.

Although I don’t have as much musical experience as some other candidates, I’ve always been a quick study and I will put all of my energy and focus into improving myself so that I can help the band perform at our full potential. I know that we can be a really terrific band and I know that if I apply myself, I can help get us there.

The leader of the band has the broadest view of the show from the podium, and that means that she has a big responsibility to the band: she needs to quickly spot any discrepancies and correct them, before they become habitual. I have always been able to tell when something is off and pinpoint the problem. If something needs to be fixed, I can fix it, and I’m willing to work hard for the perfection of the group. I want the band and guard to shine and I know that we can.

I fancy myself a friendly and approachable person, and I can get along with anybody in color guard and band. I am confident that if people need help–whether it be in regard to marching or music or anything else–they will not be afraid to ask me. I realize that I might not always have the answer, but I think that I have gotten to know the group well enough by now that I can, if necessary, direct questions to someone who will be able to answer them, so that we never have to stop improving.

I believe that one of the most important parts of leading the band and color guard is inspiring confidence in the group, and I know that I have that ability. I always try to make the environment around me as comfortable for everyone as possible, so that no one is afraid of asking questions or making mistakes. I want the end result to be the best possible show with the most satisfied band, and there is no way to reach that goal if we don’t allow ourselves to come out with our mistakes and uncertainties so we can fix them.

I realize that leading isn’t all about making everyone happy; the drum majors should be the band’s harshest critics so that everything–right down to the littlest minutiae–will be perfect by time we are put before a judge. As much as I like to be nice, I know that I will not always be able to keep the group in its best condition without a little tough love. Naturally, some people will not be so accepting of that, but I will be resilient in my efforts to make the band better and better with every repetition.

I know that communication is everything, especially in something as specific as music and marching need to be. A lot of people in high school are not the best at communicators, especially when it comes down to speaking in front of a lot of people. However, I have become a very confident and effective communicator due to my experience in public speaking over the last year. I see the importance of getting out clear, accurate information to the huge group of people that the drum major has to address, and that is something that I excel at.

I have been passionate about this group since the minute I stepped onto the field for the first time at band camp last summer, surrounded by a colorful group of strangers in both guard and band. As I got to know everyone better, I found an indescribable family dynamic that I’d never felt with anyone before, and I knew that the band was something I belonged in. Joining band, I know, was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I am honored to be a part of this group. Whether or not I am chosen as a drum major this year, or next year, or the year after, I will never lose faith in the band. I was never particularly gifted, musically, but I have always had the latent ability to lead, and I am confident that I can help bring this group to brand new heights.

I edited a few phrases in the first paragraph so that it wouldn’t say the name of my school, but other than that, this is exactly what I’m turning in. Wish me luck, chickedies!

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