What is your fondest memory of being in band?
All the personal connections that you make throughout your 4 years of high school with both the students and teachers. You spend so much time with everyone in the band (especially during marching season), and because you've known your peers and band teachers for 4 years, you can form a deeper connection & friendship with them compared to most teacher/student relations where they typically last a year. In fact, I still keep up with a lot of my band friends & band teachers and have attended their weddings!
How did band help you become successful in your career and/or life?
I wouldn't have gained the confidence if it wasn't for band. When I started off in band, I was an alternate in marching band (i.e. not even in the marching band), was in the symphonic band (the one below the highest level band), and couldn't even make all-city my freshman year. Throughout the 4 years I was in band, the teachers gave me extra help and chances to prove my ability, band provided growth and character development for me, and I was able to achieve being a drum major my junior and senior year along with making All-State. If you told freshman me that I was going to accomplish all that by the time I graduated, I wouldn't have believed them because of my lack of confidence in myself and because I literally started from the bottom. I continue playing my instruments throughout college and am currently in an Austin-based community band.
For my chemical engineering career specifically, I've had to stand my ground or be confident enough in my technical skills in a male-dominated engineering world.
As far of my social life, band provided that sense of community, where you see the same group of people doing a hobby they love, and as a result can form friendships and deep connections. That's one of the reasons I joined the West Coast Dance community, to find that sense of community in my young adulthood. With dancing, I'm was able to pick up on timing quickly, and I'm able to catch musical moments in the music that most people don't recognize without a music background. Music will always be a constant in my life, whether I play my piccolo/flute, I'm social dancing, or another music hobby I may pick up in my adulthood!
What do you wish someone would have told you when you were a freshman?
Join and stick with an organization (whether it's band, orchestra, soccer, etc) throughout your high school career. The longer you stay in an organization with people and teachers that are equally as passionate as you, the better friendships and connections you will be able to make throughout high school for your high school experience to be worth wild and memorable.
(not sure if you want to include the next part, your choice)
Support your peers with healthy competition. Be excited and celebrate your peers accomplishments even if you're in competition with them. Don't become jealous or talk bad about each other if your peers did better than you on a chair test or you feel that they don't deserve the leadership position. Support one another versus bringing each other down.