Content provided by Scott Kubie, CLS Chief Strategist

Over the years, my identity as a parent has changed. Early on, I was a diaper-changer and story-reader. I’ve been a Sunday school teacher, a basketball coach, and last summer, a hitting partner for tennis. Most of those I saw coming or volunteered for. The latest role change caught me by surprise. Late this summer, as my son entered his freshman year of high school, I became a band parent.

I didn’t play an instrument in middle school or high school. I don’t believe I have much aptitude for it. I sing poorly, have a poor sense of pitch, and can’t clap my hands to the beat and sing at the same time. My son does a lot better and is a credible clarinet player.

I realized the role had imposed itself on me while waiting at 10:00 pm to pick up my son after his eight hour band camp finally ended for the day. Being a band parent has changed me in multiple ways:

  • Mornings move at a frenetic pace. The band has to be ready on the field at 6:50 a.m. No sunglasses needed driving to work anymore.
  • I realize the plays I drew up in basketball two years ago weren’t complex. The movements a marching band makes are complex.
  • My biggest liability is the bill Dr. B (the band director) is going to send me for the uniform, tailoring, band camp, t-shirts, and other miscellaneous expenses. Perhaps a garage sale will help.
  • I show up for high school football games with three minutes to go before halftime and plunk down my $5. For a person who likes sports, this is strange.
  • I leave the football game mid-way through the third quarter. The only reason I see any of the game is the band’s halftime show debriefing takes a while.
  • On the way home I ask my son, “Were you able to play and march at the same time?”

The biggest change for me is realizing the hard work required to create pageantry and aesthetic appeal. These kids work hard and show amazing teamwork to pull it off. I don’t have any hopes my son will be a concert worthy clarinet player, but I hope he remembers the values they are teaching and applies them well in his life. I hope I do as well.

I could write more, but I have to get up early. I’m a band parent.