6 Tips for Instant Stress Relief

6 Tips for Instant Stress Relief

As you already know, the life of a musician is much more stressful than most realize. Whether it’s a difficult piece, working with difficult people, or stressing about simply not having enough time we all have moments when we just want to pull our hair out. Here are some quick fixes to help you get through those times.

  1. Breathe. It’s as simple as that. Deep breathing tells the brain to calm down and relax, which relays the message to the rest of your body. Inhale through your nose, hold for 5 counts, and exhale through your mouth.
  2. […]

6 Quick Tips for Improving Your Marching Band Recruitment

6 Quick Tips for Improving Your Marching Band Recruitment

Today’s post is from guest blogger, Emily Palmer. Emily is a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University where she served as Color Guard Captain for the EMU Marching Band. During her time at EMU she also served as President of the Gamma Rho chapter of Tau Beta Sigma. She now serves as the Color Guard Instructor for Farmington HS. We’re so glad she can join us to impart some of the wisdom gleaned from her time as a Marching Band Student Leader!

My little high school marching band students are in the midst of recruiting new members for the 2012 season. […]

Long Stem Rose

Thank You to Tau Beta Sigma!

I’m taking a quick break from the usual posts on Lead In Step to share my thanks for Tau Beta Sigma. I was very honored to be asked by TBΣ’s National President to submit an article for the Spring 2012 Issue of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma’s joint publication, The Podium. These two organizations are long-standing college band service organizations with particular relevance to the challenges of today’s band student leaders. The Podium has been in publication since 1947, and though it contains content mostly targeted to the membership of these two organizations, it is still a great honor to have my writing published in print in a magazine in its 65th year![…]


Stop Telling People They Have To Earn Respect

I get so tired of hearing statements like, “You gotta earn my respect”, “They need to prove themselves”, and “She didn’t even earn her spot”. It’s time for a newsflash. You need to stop telling people they have to earn respect from you.

Respect isn’t earned; it’s given. You choose who you trust and respect on a variety of (often arbitrary) factors. For most people this includes…

In a recent study at the Kellogg School of Management, volunteers played a game where they determined how much money to send to anonymous people.[…]

Chain Link

Don’t be a Dead-Weight Musician

This post is part of our Concert Band Season series. Visit the Series’ page for more information.

An obvious, but often overlooked fact, is that band members are artists first. With the exception of a few marching band auxiliary members (who are still certainly artists in their own right), band is a creative musical endeavor. Bands exist to create artistic expressions of music and to entertain–whether the entertainment is rocking out on the marching field or giving an incredible performance in a concert hall.

Unfortunately, with many conflicting priorities, we tend to let musicianship slip in favor of more urgent matters.[…]

Miami Close Up

How to Build Lasting Relationships in Your Concert Band

This post is part of our Concert Band Season series. Visit the Series’ page for more information.

Concert band is one of the few group activities I’ve been a part of where you can create beautiful works of art and never know the people next to you. In most other groups and teams, knowing your peers is critical to achieving success. Although you can definitely put on a concert without knowing everyone in your band, there are so many benefits of developing a strong sense of community within your band.  Most humans have a natural desire to be a part of something.[…]


How to Make Concert Band Season Rock!

It’s that time of year when marching band fanatics attend obligatory concert band rehearsals, watch old marching band shows from past seasons, and generally lament about how much the next 6ish months are going to suck. Well not so fast, I say!  Marchers, even though you aren’t out on a field, you can still have a great time in your concert band! And concert band musicians, you can use this opportunity to do so much more than quietly wish all the “crazies” would leave you alone. This is an opportunity to do things that there just aren’t time to take care of in the fall.[…]

When to Tell Your Band Director “No!”

When to Tell Your Band Director “No!”

Perhaps it’s just my experience, but band directors often forget that student leaders aren’t robots.

As a college student, and a band director you face a deluge of responsibilities and conflicting priorities everyday.  You have homework due, lectures to attend, rehearsals, club meetings, meals with friends, and textbooks to read (hypothetically, of course), not to mention finding time for yourself. I don’t need to tell you that it can be pretty crazy.

Somehow, when you’re at your busiest, Mrs. Band Director always finds you and asks for a favor. She knows you’re busy, but she really needs your help![…]


How To Know Your Time As A Student Leader Is DONE!

This article is dedicated to a good friend of mine who recently faced this dilemma and came to a great conclusion. I wish him all the best with another season as Drum Major of his college marching band!

You’ve probably been there…

“Should I do another term as [insert any student leader title here]?”

If you haven’t had to face that question yet, lucky you! It’s probably one of the most difficult internal dilemmas for any student leader. You’ve loved your time as a section leader, club officer, or all-around Music Department Demigod.[…]

Ergh, don’t some people just drive you CRAZY!?

Working with Difficult Band Members

It’s a fact of life that some people suck.

Now, I pride myself on being able to get along with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds. Tolerance and diversity have always been top priorities for me, but sometimes I meet one of those rare people that I just do not mesh well with at all! If I met this person on the street, I’d probably just keep walking. We would ignore each other and go about our merry lives with little impact on each other. Unfortunately, in marching band and concert bands, difficult people don’t just disappear… you might be stuck with them for the entire semester or several years.[…]