Twenty-one Muscatine High School students spent the week of July 12-15 at the Smith and Walbridge marching band clinic. Students participated in clinics and workshops focused on leadership.
With over 90 students in the marching band, director Jeff Heid explains the importance of students stepping up and assisting. “We use the leadership group within our band program to bring the overall ensemble together and ensure the members have everything they need for success.”
The leadership training goes beyond what is useful on the marching field. “Hopefully students will come back with a greater willingness to step into other leadership roles and feel comfortable taking on more responsibility. Often, when we are asked to lead, we don’t really understand what is needed to accomplish that task. If nothing else, I hope this will empower these students to ask the questions and make things happen.”
The majority of the cost for the clinic is paid for by the band boosters. “Spending funds on the training of leadership is exactly what the organization exists to support . . . it’s about providing our students with valuable educational experiences that will help them find success throughout the rest of their lives.” In addition to the boosters, the band received a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, covering half of the expense of the training.
The structure of the band is set up so that the students can spread information from the top down. Heid provides direction to a small group of leaders who then pass on the information. By following the process, the students know who to go to for information, and the teaching staff is assured that information is passed out accurately and in a timely manner.
There is an added advantage that Heid has noticed with the student leadership: “If I am pulled away for an emergency, I have no doubt the rehearsals and performances would be accomplished as if I were standing on the podium telling them what to do. Now there is a small army of leaders that have a basic understanding of the goals, expectations, and processes we use.” He goes on to say, “With our current leadership organization, whoever is in charge can rest assured the band will work together for success.”
The MHS band will begin their week-long band camp, learning the 2016 competition show, on Monday, August 1. The five-day camp will conclude with an exhibition performance at the DCI competition at MHS on Friday, August 5.