Band Nerd

Several weeks ago I was talking to a friend whose daughter started school this year. She is absolutely determined that her daughter will play organized sports.
"It doesn't have to be soccer, but she HAS to play a sport.  If she doesn't, I don't know what she'll be ... a band nerd??  I'm not having a band nerd for a daughter."

I smiled and nodded, like I knew where she was coming from, and she went on her merry way.  Then I couldn't stop thinking about it.

First of all, I don't really know where she's coming from.  I haven't played an organized sport (besides church ball - story for another day!) since 2nd grade.  And not only do I not feel bad about it, I don't care if my kids play sports either.  I've attended enough games to know that many people turn into less civilized, more profane versions of themselves in the name of "competition."  I have lost respect for several individuals after seeing their behavior during a heated moment in a game.
Why are we all okay with this? Why do we want our kids to see and do it too?

Second, I am a band nerd.  I played flute in band from 4th grade through 12th, and my memories from school band are some of my most cherished.  That last rehearsal before a concert, when everything comes together - that moment the conductor raises his hands - that terrifying first note of a solo - that twisting knot in the pit of a nervous stomach.  Singing for jazz band, cummerbunds, ice cream celebrations, I still miss it all sometimes.

And the things I learned from music! Show me how playing a sport in school is more beneficial to a person throughout their life than learning an instrument is.  Show me how a person can bless other people by kicking a ball well.  Show me how the vulgarity and oft-degrading environment of athletics is better than the poise and precision of musicianship.

And I will show you how music is good for the soul.  I'll show you the growth I've seen in my own life, in my own piano and voice students as they gained confidence through mastery. I'll show you the overwhelming support of the parents I deal with on a regular basis.  I'll show you the healing that comes from a good practice session, the elation from a well-executed performance.
I'll show you that life doesn't get much better than it is when you're singing.

That's what I want for my kids.


Miriam said...

Excellent post! This friend must be young if her first child is just entering school...perhaps she'll mature? Out of our 4 kids, one was into sports, one was into cheerleading, one was a band nerd and one went the choir route. None of them are doing any of those things now as adults. But they had fun in high school, found their nitch where they felt they belonged and have wonderful memories. Hopefully your friend grows up along with her children and lets them find what makes them happy. You make excellent points, though, I've never heard foul language or a brawl break out at a high school music concert!

youtube to mp3

Linnea said...

This is a great post.

I do think that organized sports can have a good impact on a child's life, but I don't think they should be all that life is about by any means.

My mom made us all do piano when we were younger, and then we all picked an additional instrument to learn in middle school. I think learning music is such a blessing - even if just so that you can read music in the future!

My brother Anders who is a senior now at Bingham was Drum Major in the marching band this year, and a junior drum major last year. I went to a few of the competitions last year and they are so neat. I think that marching band gets such a bad rep - even just band itself does - and it really shouldn't. Music is amazing and wonderful and has such power to it.

I guess I just want my future children to be exposed to a lot of different types of activities, but see music as one that can be such a wonderful constant. It doesn't have a season like sports do, you can do it individually or as a group, and it's there for life.

I'll stop rambling now.

The Wintertons said...

I can see your viewpoint but I don't think that sports ALWAYS bring the bad out in people nor do I feel that they aren't beneficial. I was never musically talented though I tried for YEARS. I struggled and struggled and got so frustrated with it that I eventually quit, however, sports came rather easy to me and through them I learned alot-about myself, my values, my beliefs, other people, etc. I would never trade that for anything. I honestly think that it's important to do something that you love and cherish-no matter what it is. I also think it's important not to try and compare apples to oranges in a sense. I read a great quote by one of the general authorities this past Sunday and though I can't remember it exactly it was basically saying that we often compare other's strengths to our weaknesses and that the Lord gave us our strengths for a reason and a purpose-but what an amazing and unique gift it is to have so many different people in this world! We can truly learn and grow from the strength of others.

Although I hope to be a parent that doesn't pressure my children, I do want them to be involved-no matter what their choice may be. I think it's important to just be supportive of our children and let them try and experience new things-that's what childhood is all about in my opinion.

Just like some people use the terminology 'band nerd' others use the term 'dumb jock' although neither should really define an individual and it's sad to me that we live in a world that does just that-we use labels with negative connotations when we most likely don't know nor understand other individuals.

In short-I do agree with you to a point and I hope I don't offend or upset you with any of my thoughts and comments, but your post made me really think and really think about the type of parent I want to be. So thank you for making me think! :)

Jean said...

Great comments everyone! I love this dialogue. Looking over it again I realized I might come across as anti-athletics, which I'm not. If my kids decide to play sports (likely, considering who I married), I'll certainly support them as long as the sports are a positive thing in their lives. I've just seen too much negative influence to push them into it.
On the other hand, I wish my parents WOULD have pushed me to practice music more. My skills are far below where they could be, and if they had been stricter maybe that wouldn't be the case! :)