Mentoring Monday: Small Town Band to Incomparable Golden Rams

Small Town Band to Incomparable Golden Rams
Ally Hempelmann, School of Music Mentor

As I’m sure many of you have learned, the Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band is far from a small numbered marching band. Take it from me- I went from a 50-60 member marching band to a 350 member marching band. Sounds intimidating, right? Well, I’m not going to lie- it was. If you are about to walk (rather, march… sorry, I had to) into the same situation I did, here’s what you should expect:

1. VOLUME.
You guessed it- it’s going to be louder. That’s not a bad thing! The Golden Rams have a good sense of tonality, blending, balance, and just overall quality of sound. We all have our fantastic band director, Dr. Yozviak along with our assistant band director Dr. Martin to thank for that. Just wait until you sit down in the auditorium and play with the other 299 rams and get engulfed in the sound; it will blow your mind!

2. Experience
It is an obvious fact that going from high school to college means getting to know professors that have more experience than you could ever imagine. Music major or not, you’ll learn how to listen to the sound you are producing, how to change that sound, how to teach, how to adapt to many different situations, and other things. Upperclassmen are the same way! Talking to the upperclassmen will really help you get a feel of what is happening and what’s to come, and trust me, they won’t lie to you.

3. Starting out as a number
In small bands, you become known very quickly because, well, you’re in a small group. When you’re with the Golden Rams, though, don’t be upset if Dr. Martin calls you out by your shirt color or what hat you’re wearing that day. There are so many of us and only a few staff members. Can you imagine learning 350 names in a week? For me, that wouldn’t be possible. If you don’t enjoy hearing the color of your shirt and shoes every now and again, try and stand out from the crowd (in a good way). That could mean saying “Hi!” to the staff when you’re not on the field, stopping by during their office hours to ask questions, or helping set up the fields if you get to practice early!

4. “Wait… Who are you?”
Small bands means knowing everyone around you and everything about them, right? That’s not so easy with the Golden Rams. This will be my third year marching and I STILL don’t know everyone’s names. Heck, I’ll see someone after a practice in October that I have never seen before- and that’s okay! That means there is always an opportunity to meet someone new and make friends. So, don’t be offended if someone comes up to you and asks for your name, because it probably has happened to them too.

5. New friends, and a new family!
Congratulations, you have discovered how to make friends in the easiest and best way possible! Don’t hesitate to start making friends right off the bat- walk into registration with confidence (but not cockiness!) and be the best “you” you can be! Sharing one common interest surely does help, but putting yourself out there and making an effort to get to know people goes a long way! Besides, there are 350 of us! If you don’t walk out of band camp with 5-10 friends, there’s a problem. With the amount of time we spend together, it’s like coming home from a long day of work and just relaxing with your friends… with drill and an instrument in your hand. ☺ The experiences you’ll have an memories you’ll make with these people will last a lifetime, so make the most of them!

So, there you have it- the big things that you need to know about joining the 350 member strong Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band! It may sound a little scary, but once you get in the groove, you’ll be good to go. Best of luck!

Oh, and don’t be afraid to come and say hi to me at band camp (I play alto sax). ☺

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