Band Program Teaches Many Skills, Builds a Sense of Community

Marching band provides an opportunity for music students to both support athletic teams and help encourage school spirit while building friendships and a strong sense of community.

Seth Whittington, Staff Reporter

Many people may assume that in a band class students will gain knowledge in reading music, chords and how to keep a specific tempo. While that is true, that is not all that students gain from choosing to give band a try. Any music class at GCHS will also teach discipline and commitment. But if students choose to enroll in a band class, perhaps most importantly, these students will also gain a strong sense of community and have friendships that grow and last because of a shared connection with music.

It requires a lot of self discipline to make yourself practice for so many hours and with so much passion. Playing an instrument is difficult and takes hours to practice the skills needed, and passion plays a role in one’s willingness to do that. Band students are challenged with practice every time they are assigned a new piece to learn as well.  “It’s always exciting to get challenging music to encourage you to try even harder,” assistant drum major, sophomore Alex Keyse said. 

Students must practice rigorously to achieve their goals within the class. Hannah Centers, a sophomore euphonium player, understands that mastering music and meeting goals is a good motivator. .  “I play in the band because it is something I work really hard for and that I can be proud of.”

While practice and effort is important, being involved in a community of like-minded individuals is perhaps the best benefit of the band program.  David Centers, band director at Great Crossing, has had an opportunity to start the band program off with a positive community. He reflected on his experience as a band director and decided that his first focus should be on building a strong sense of trust in this new community. Centers said, “My greatest concern has been in building trust with the students. Having spent 17 years in my last school, I had built a strong reputation and a very deep level of trust with students, parents, and the community.” He feels strongly about students trusting him and understanding why he asks the things he asks and does the things he does.

Students in a first year band also lay a foundation for their social network that will last the entirety of Great Crossing’s life as a high school. Students begin to build friendships and trust with their classmates, as well as their band director. “I really love the opportunity to make friends in band, because there’s just something about doing challenging things like performing as an ensemble that brings us together in a unique way,” said Vincent Buchenberger, a freshman clarinet player. 

However, with starting a new band program, there are always obstacles. One of those is that there are no existing leadership roles already in place. “One of the hardest things about a first year band program is that there is not a lot of leadership because of the small upper class, so the freshmen and sophomores have to step up into a junior or senior roles,” Centers said. 

Freshmen and sophomores who must fill leadership roles learn how to communicate with others and their leadership brings them and their peers closer together. “Team spirit has been enhanced within the whole band with starting a new program,” remarked sophomore Alex Keyse. It is important to remember what music can offer other than the skill of playing an instrument. Discipline and commitment are also a major, important part of music classes and programs.


Upcoming band events include a band concert on Monday, March 16 in the Great Crossing High School auditorium and Symphonic Band performance at the 2020 KMEA Large Ensemble Performance Assessment in Lexington on March 21.  All are welcome to attend.