The Band Director is in charge. Don’t get angry when he expects your child there before the stated start time or when he keeps them late. You’re just wasting your time and mental energy. John’s current band director has been running the same high school band for as long as John’s been alive, so I’m going to assume he knows what he’s doing.
Go to the games. Go to the contests whenever possible. You won’t believe how much fun you’ll have!
As with all sports and extracurricular activities, remember you are the parent – not the coach or band director. Just sit back and enjoy it. Talk to some other parents and make new friends.
Be involved and volunteer, but give your child some space. Don’t be present for every single function. Don’t get pulled into student or parent drama. Don’t ask about what happens on the bus.
Prepare for band camp by making sure your child spends time outdoor daily, adjusting to the heat. Buy a large personal cooler (Bubba jug) and insist they use it!
Fundraising is a necessary evil. If you really hate every fundraiser your child’s band participates in volunteer to chair a new, better one.
The uniform will not fit or be flattering to your child’s body type. Color Guard moms especially, take heed. A team of tailors sewing ’round the clock couldn’t keep up with teens who are growing, gaining weight, and losing weight constantly. Make sure all important parts are covered in case of wardrobe malfunction, buy socks that match their pants, and call it done.
Don’t wave when they are at attention. And don’t yell out your child’s name when they are on the field – it’s distracting and embarrassing for them. Marching band etiquette 101: Do not enter or leave the stands while a band is performing. It’s seven minutes – unless someone is in cardiac arrest it can wait.
Don’t videotape unless they are on the field. (I videotaped the other day, and that’s why John looks so grumpy in the above picture.)
Most band kids are wonderful, goofy, hard-working, and dedicated. Be thankful your child is spending time with them and making friends they may well keep the rest of their lives.
Thanks to my husband, Michael, of the Waggoner High School and Central High School Marching Bands (back in the days of busing); my friend Kim, band mom extraordinaire of the Union Grove Marching Band; and Catherine and Aaron Ballard, my favorite Ballard High School Marching Band couple for all their input on this post!