Band kids’ mental health

Exploring the impact of rehearsal on the Tiger Band’s mental wellness


Photo by Lourdes Quijas

The many hours of marching practice everyday may be putting extensive pressure on band members.

Story by Lourdes Quijas, Staff Writer

It’s the start of a new season for the hard-working Tiger Band. As the freshmen get excited to learn the beautiful music and flawless drill, the returning students start mentally preparing themselves for the year because they are aware of the long hours that band requires. 

The Web is this year’s show theme. The show is based on the concept of spiders and includes music from “Danse Macabre” and Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” Head band director Arnie Lawson chose these pieces because he knew everyone was ready for a challenge.

“Practicing for eight hours a day got me where I wanted to be. It was hard for me to do [band] at first since it messed up my sleep schedule and left me no time to do other stuff I wanted to do, but it was fun,” junior Hunter Yates said.

Yates, a marimba player, got his show music in July 2021. He practices as much as he can every day until it’s time to play it on the field. During summer band, Yates worked eight hours a day every day until school started. Once school started, every morning and A4 class, he started practicing the show with his section and the band as well. When not working on the music, Yates works on all-region music before December comes around.

“My mental health from practicing is good. I’ll lose motivation to practice pieces, or I may get tired a lot, but it isn’t bad,” sophomore and marimba player Jessie Garren said. “I didn’t go down a really bad path. In summer band, we got to pace ourselves. That made us not get burned out easily. I may have cried while practicing, but that’s [just being frustrated] in the moment.” 

After practicing every day for hours upon hours, band members’ mental health slowly decreases or increases. Garren loses motivation to play certain pieces of the music. After practicing for a while, she takes breaks to mentally prepare herself for what’s coming next. 

“I really love practicing band a lot. This music challenged me and helped me to improve as a marimba player,” Garren said. “You have to have a heart and a love for music to be able to do marching band. It’s worth it in the end.”

The band members wake up around 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. every day and get to the school and on the field by 7 a.m. As all the brass and woodwinds warm-up, the percussion section works on parts they need the most help on. The percussion section stresses out with fast rhythms to learn before each game comes round. Most of them have lost motivation, but they keep playing and push themselves harder. 

“I keep pushing myself by trying to find new things to do,” Yates said. “I would go home and look up new warmups to do so that I can get better at playing my instrument. I would also try playing even more complicated pieces to push myself.”

The marimba players push themselves until they can’t anymore. Garren and Yates practiced all day, every day when they came back from quarantine. Despite the work they need to do and the pass-offs they need to work on, they’re getting back into the school routine. As COVID-19 cases rise, they stay at least three feet away from everyone to stay safe.

As the season goes on, the band students focus on mentally and physically preparing themselves for competition season. With all the hard work and dedication, the band hopes they make it to state to get a one. 

“I will feel accomplished,” Yates said. “I finally reached the goal I’ve been working hard for.”