Multi

“Ok. Good job everybody! Now let’s go through the entire song!” My section leader announced. Angela and I looked at the top of the music. As we fingered through it, I got myself motivated. This was a difficult piece to play, but I was able to get through it. When we play this over again, I should be able to play it really well. “Alright. 8 for free! 5, 6. 5, 6, 7, 8.” I focused on the piece and played through the song along with the rest of the clarinets. “That was great! Now. Turn your stands around. Hopefully you all memorized the piece!”

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123RF

“What? We’re going to have to memorize this?!” One of the clarinet members asked in disbelief. “Of course! We’re going to be playing this on the field!” My section leader answered. I felt distraught. This music was already difficult enough when playing it on the music. Now we were going to have to memorize it. “Practice makes progress guys. Keep practicing.” She said, and the bell rang for fourth period to be over. When I got home, my only goal was to memorize the music. I practiced for about a half an hour with the music in front of me, and finally, I turned my music face down. I closed my eyes and thought of the way my fingers pressed on each key when I played the song. I played through it, and found out that I was able to consciously memorize the music, by remembering the pattern of my fingers moving. “Yes! I did it!”

“You guys are going to have to think about keeping a straight posture, and also keeping your legs straight and your feet flexed.” Our tech said after he watched our marching technique. “I know there’s a lot to think about. But you’ll get it soon!” I focused hard on keeping my back straight and keeping my head forward as we marched across the field. “Aria! Keep those legs straight!” I was startled at being called out. This was a difficult task, but I needed to focus on keeping everything in order.

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Shutterstock

“That was great! You guys got it! Remember, marching band is full of multi-tasking. You have to think about a lot of things. But you guys are smart you’ll get it!” The band director smiled. “Tomorrow we are going to work on playing music and marching at the same time!” “Oh man.” My friends whispered. “Tomorrow is gonna be a difficult day.” We all sighed. “I agree.” I said, looking down at the ground.

“Hey you guys are doing great! There are multiple little things that you guys have to focus on, and I know it’s going to be difficult. But it’s not impossible!” The tech said, encouragingly. I knew all the things I had to work on, and I just needed to really know how to apply all of them in performances. Marching band was something that could really stimulate your brain, and make you realize you have a lot of potential. What just started out to be playing single notes on the clarinet softly turned out to be sixteenth note runs while marching sideways across the field. Multi-tasking in marching band was a true work of art.

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Decisions

“I have a couple friends in tennis. They practice after school a lot.” Ivy said. Eighth grade was about to come to an end, and my friends and I were talking about the new classes we would be taking next year in high school. “Hm.” I thought aloud, adjusting my earphones during the Skype call. There was Vanna, Ivy, and Shefali in the call along with me. “Here how about we decide on the smaller things first. Extracurriculars are kind of difficult to decide on the spot.” Vanna suggested. “What are you thinking for our math class?”

“Alright! So Accelerated Biology for science. That’s all our classes! Now we just have to choose our extracurricular.” I said. There was a huge list of what we could be interested in. There were so many sports and clubs that were available in Fountain Valley High School. As we discussed what we thought would be fun to do together, we made a list that narrowed down the wide variety. There was tennis, basketball, or volleyball. I thought for sure I would be choosing from one of those sports, and nothing else.

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L & C Scouts

“Abby! What classes are you choosing for next year?” I asked. Abby and I were at her house. We had just finished our homework, and we were just lounging around, talking. “I think I’m going to be doing FVRR.” She said. “FVRR? You mean band?” I asked. “Yeah! I can play flute pretty well! You can play clarinet too! You could join! You’re really good at clarinet.” She said. “Ahh I don’t know. I kinda want to do a sport next year. You know. Be fit.” I hesitated. “Hm. I think band is a physical activity too.” She suggested. “I’ll think about it.”

“Three days a week, about three hours after school.” A senior named Priyanka said to me and my friends. This was Shefali’s sister, and she was a part of the FVRR. “Wow! That’s a lot of commitment!” Ivy said. “Yeah! It’s a lot of work too. It really is worth it. There are so many benefits you can get from band. I am really glad I joined.” Priyanka responded. After she left with Shefali, we talked amongst our group again. “I don’t know. Band sounds difficult. And I can’t play an instrument. We won’t be together if we don’t do the same activity!” Wanna said. The rest of the group was a bit reluctant to the idea. However, Priyanka had gotten me thinking.

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Sarah Wood

“I think I want to do band.” I said. “Really? Are you sure? What about the sports list we made?” Vanna asked. “I think FVRR is a really cool activity. I really want to do it. I made my decision.” I said through the mic of my earphones. I’ve heard so many things that came with band, such as honors credit, and just all and all a great experience. I would be able to make new friends, and challenge myself with this activity. Even as I was officially signing up for FVRR, I didn’t realize that joining the band would officially place me into a work of art.

 

Unexpected

“I don’t know. I want to be more active this year! It’s my first year in high school, and I want an activity that can keep me fit. Band doesn’t seem like an athletic activity. And it doesn’t sound very fun either…” I replied to Abby. We were looking through the extracurricular activities that were provided by FVHS. Since both of us knew how to play band instruments, Abby suggested we try the Fountain Valley Royal Regiment marching band. “C’mon! I was told it was a really great activity!” Abby said. I thought about it for a minute. Well, band seems to be something good that I can put on my college applications. I sighed. “Alright. Hopefully I don’t regret this.”

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Micromax A102

“Alright! First day of band camp of the FVRR. First thing you guys do!… is take a lap around the field. GO!” The rest of the band groaned while Abby and I looked at each other. “At least its athletic.” Abby whispered, and we ran after the rest of the band. “Ok good job guys! It’s time for lunch!” It was four hours of stretching, marching, and learning drill. First day wasn’t even over and Abby and I were already burnt out. “That was really tiring. And you thought it wasn’t athletic.” Abby joked, as we walked over to our backpacks. When we arrived, we saw three other freshmen girls sitting near the backpacks, eating their lunch. They looked up at us, and waved. Abby and I smiled. We didn’t have anywhere else to eat lunch, and we didn’t have a lot of friends in band. Hopefully, that would change soon. We walked over to the girls, and we started talking to them.

“Lunch is over! Back on the field!” The director called. My new friends and I stood up from our spot. We spent the whole half hour talking and laughing about first half of the day. “Band was a lot harder than I thought.” Kaitlinh said. The rest of us nodded. “You think we’ll survive? This is the first day. We have a whole school year in front of us.” Angela asked. “I don’t know. We might quit.” Kaitlinh answered. I sighed. This was really tiring. “Let’s not worry about the rest of the year right now. Let’s just focus on surviving the rest of today.” Abby laughed, and we ran back towards the field.

“Look. I know this is tiring for you guys. But once you guys get motivated, you’ll like marching band a lot.” Our director said, after the last three hours of band ended. Everyone was chugging water from their water bottles after a tiring day. We sat in the band room, listening to the director give us a motivating speech. After we dismissed us, the freshmen girls all met each other outside the band room. “Whew. We survived the first day.” Brytney said.

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Presentation Magazine

“Hm. I really enjoyed today actually!” I said. Everyone looked at me in disbelief. “I mean, we made new friends, learned a lot of marching techniques, and a lot of upperclassmen were impressed by us.” I replied. “Yeah I agree. I don’t think I’ll be quitting. It was actually really fun! And we survived!” Everyone nodded, and started walking away from the band room. Just then, a sophomore guy walked out of the band room. He was part of my clarinet section, and I surprisingly talked to him a lot during practice, despite my shy personality. When we made eye contact, he smiled and and waved, before walking away. “OOOOOOh AriA.” Brytney exclaimed. I laughed, and the rest of the girls started to make fun of me. I wasn’t going to leave this band anytime soon. This was going to be a great season. A very interesting work of art.

Competition

“What are you guys trying out for?” “I think Kaitlinh and Angela are trying out for drum majors! I really want to be president.” I answered. As freshmen in the band, we knew there was no way we could compete with the sophomores, juniors, and seniors. But we found out there was a process in trying out for positions in leadership. We decided we wanted to try out this year for the experience, so we would know what to do when we tried out for those positions in the future. When we get older, we would learn from mistakes that we made in the past years.

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Undergraduate Library

“Are you the only freshman trying out for president?” Brytney asked. I nodded. A lot of the freshman girls didn’t have the courage to sign up for something. They wanted to wait until after a couple years before they tried out. I on the other hand had wanted to be president ever since the beginning of band camp. I had really looked up to the president in the band, and I admired the responsibilities that they had gotten. But obviously, as a freshman, I wouldn’t be able to make it, but I would be able to gain the experience. Kaitlinh, Angela, and I really wanted to give motivation to the rest of the girls to try out for leadership.

“C’mon! You should try out for a position!” I encouraged Mai-Anh. “I don’t know. What if I mess up during auditions?” Mai-Anh said, worriedly. “You’ve got nothing to lose! We wouldn’t make it freshman year, but we will get the experience!” I replied. Mai-Anh shook her head. I sighed, giving up on the encouragement. She was the only freshman girl who decided not to try out for a position. The others were able to muster enough courage to at least sign up for one position, even if it was a minor one.

“Alright…” Mai-Anh said at last. “I want to try out for president.” “WOO!” Angela shouted. “Dude you would be the best president!” Everyone crowded around Mai-Anh after she announced her decision. I stood in the back, and smiled at her confidence. But a little part of me felt left out. Kaitlinh, Angela, and Brytney were all running for drum major, and we all supported each of them. But right now, it didn’t see like that was the case for the freshmen running for president.

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Social Anxiety Support

“Who are you voting for for president?” “Mai-Anh of course!” Angela answered. I gave a thumbs up, and turned around, a bit sad that she had no hesitation for that answer at all. “Wait!” Mai-Anh said. “What about Aria?” “Oh yeah! She’s running for president too!” Angela said. “How about half of us vote for May, and half of us vote for Aria?” “That’s a good idea!” I smiled. I shouldn’t be jealous of the attention towards Mai-Anh. I should feel happy for her. Not one of us are better than the other, and we were friends. We were still freshmen too, so none of us will be getting the position over the other juniors and seniors running for president. We were only doing this for experience. And later on, when we get older, we may be competing with each other, but we would still remain friends. The main purpose of the people in leadership positions is that the leaders can help benefit the large band, and not just themselves. This would allow all of us to create a work of art.

Overcome

“Aria there is no way you can survive in this band for four years if you don’t have the courage to play in front of a crowd. We’re in a marching band! We perform in front of a live audience every show!” “But this is different! We perform together in those shows! But a solo? I can’t do that!” Marching season was over, and concert season has started. As a freshman, I hadn’t gotten much attention in front of a lot of people. My friends and I were “just one of those freshmen,” but we were ok with it. We got to work together in a huge crowd and we accomplished a huge goal together. That was in marching band, but now in concert season, there are going to be chances where the spotlight might hit one of us.

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Spotlight Workshops

I stared at my oboe. In marching season, I had picked up the clarinet, and there were about 18 people in the section. When we played together, we made music and sound together. But oboe was very different. I had decided to play oboe for marching season because we needed more in the band. The section needed another player, and I wanted to step up. Unlike the large section I was used to, the oboe section was consisted of TWO people. The other oboe player was a senior who would be soon graduating, and I would have to take his spot the next year. However, he was a person known for missing band, and whenever he wasn’t around, I would be the only oboe player in the band.

“It’s a solo instrument! What did you expect? The oboe is the instrument that the whole band tunes to. You gotta get used to it! You might’ve messed up today but you’ll get better!” I groaned and sunk underneath my desk. The other oboe player was absent from class, and I was set the task of tuning the band. But because I was so nervous, I could barely play a note from my oboe. The band director had stared at me for a couple seconds, before giving up, and moving on to the first piece of music. He told me to work on my tuning at home, and stopped pressuring me to play. After class was over, I felt like my life was ruined.

“That’s the news we have for today! Now I’ll hand the spot light to Aria!” Our president, Melanie, said. She gave us the news for the band everyday, and she was never afraid of the spotlight. I wanted to be like her. And now was my chance. I practiced SO much the other night, and I needed to overcome this fear. The oboe player was once again absent. I stared at my tuner, and didn’t think about the people around me. I focused at the task at hand. “Wow! You got in tune right away!” My friends said, after I had finished. I remember the band director smiling at me, and nodding in approval.

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Marigaux Paris

“Dude. You’ve only played for a couple months versus the other oboe player who’s been playing for three years, and you can get in tune quicker then he can! How’d you get so good so fast?” My friends asked. I smiled and replied “Hard work.” However that wasn’t the case. I was already a pretty fast learner on oboe, and I had gotten really good on the instrument in the first couple weeks. But my biggest problem was facing the crowd. After I had overcome it, my true skills were displayed to an audience. I had really faced my fear and had shown to the band that I could create a work of art.

Just Another One

“It’s ok. You don’t need to stand out! Just go with the flow. Don’t worry about it!” My friend Abby reassured me. I sighed. She was right. I shouldn’t be worrying about it. It was just a fantasy. There were about 20 freshmen that joined the FVRR this year. I made a couple friends when I had first walked into band camp, and I was hanging out with them after practice was over. There was a small moment that happened during band camp today, and I was thinking about it way too much. The music director accidentally mistook my friend, Mai-Anh, as me, Aria. “Aria! Turn in your flute a bit. Your pitch is a little sharp.”

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University New South Wales

I clutched my clarinet and stopped playing, looking at the music director. Mai-Anh had a confused look on her face. The rest of our friends were giggling, and on the outside, I smiled, knowing this was pretty funny. “Oh. Is that not your name? Oops. What’s your name?” The director realized. “I’m Mai-Anh.” “Ah alright.” After practice ended, my friends burst out laughing, making fun of how Mai and I looked similar. I laughed along with them. “You guys are exactly the same!”

On the walk home, I was spilling my thoughts to Abby. “So many freshmen joined this year. How could we stand out? The band directors don’t know half of the freshmen here, and we’re just a mix in the band. I don’t want to be just another one of those freshmen. I want to be noticed!” When I arrived home, I took out my clarinet, and got ready to practice. If I wanted to stand out, I had to work hard. I picked up my folder off the ground, and placed it on my music stand.

“Wow! That was really good!” My section leader exclaimed, after hearing me play a part of the music. That made me a bit too happy. I was having a small mental celebration in my head, when I heard a squeak from a clarinet next to me. I looked over, and I saw someone in the section was struggling with the music. I stared at my music stand for a couple seconds, before turning towards them. “Hey! You could try this alternate fingering. It’s a lot easier to play the fast scales with it.” I said, showing them the fingerings on my clarinet. They watched me, and then turned back to their music. They quickly played the music, using the advice I gave them. “Good job! You’re doing really well!” The section leader said, this time to the person I had just taught the alternate fingering to. I saw them smile.

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Cows With Guns

After the clarinet section practiced for a couple more minutes, the section leader walked to the middle of the arc. “Ok! Everyone try playing the music at this tempo together!” She started a metronome. “1, 2, 3, 4, ready…, and,…” We played the first couple measures of the piece. “That was great! You are all improving a lot!” Realization hit me at that moment. I didn’t need to stand out. This was a group effort to make this band run. We had to work together. I was just another one of the freshmen in a great work of art.

A Missing Piece

“One person absent out of 120 people may seem to you like it’s not a big deal. But you’re wrong. A missing person is like a missing piece of a puzzle. Incomplete.” Unlike the other sports available at Fountain Valley High School, the Fountain Valley Royal Regiment (FVRR), otherwise simply known as “band,” illustrates how all members are of vital importance when it comes to being a part of the activity. Every person has a role they need to fulfill on the field. Every person has their own specific place they need to be in during ever second of the show. If someone is missing, like our band director stated, there could be a problem. This block had nine people. These nine people formed a perfect square that laid on the left side of the field, where everyone in the stands could see. But there was someone missing.

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Avail Leadership

“Oh no guys!” My friend Angela said on the bus. It was a Saturday, our first show day. As freshmen, this would be our first show ever on the field. We practiced for ore than nine hours a week, for a whole month. We spent so much time preparing for this day. We were all shaking with excitement as we piled onto the bus this morning. “Johnny texted me. He said he can’t make it to the show because he’s sick!” “What?? But this is his first show!” We all frowned. There was going to be someone missing.

“Introducing the Fountain Valley Royal Regiment!” The announcer yelled through the microphone, and our counting began. But I was worried. Johnny wasn’t here, and there was always one spot where I would have to rely on where Johnny is, to figure out where I was. “1, 2, 3, 4, up, 2, 3, 4, turn, 2, 3, 4,…” The beginning of the show, that we practiced for hours and hours on, was being performed in front of a live audience for the first time. Our last note before the first movement on the show ended with perfection. The entire audience clapped as we maneuvered our way to Movement 2, and that’s where my worries were getting to me. Marching backwards at an angle was difficult. I usually looked to my left, to use Johnny as a guide to get me there. But he wasn’t there anymore. What if I missed my spot? What if I counted wrong? What if I bumped into somebody? I took a deep breath, and got ready to turn towards my next spot in the show.

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Politicus USA

 

“DAAAA. DA. DA. snap, down!” Movement 2 started with a huge impact, and after “down,” we would all march towards our next dot at a fast, rhythmic speed. I was ready. Resisting the urge to look to my left, I tried remembering the exact step size and counts I had to take in order to make it to my dot. I held my clarinet tightly, and counted in my head. “4, 5, 6, 7, 8!” I halted on the field, and looked to see that I was in the exact spot I was supposed to be. Besides the empty spot to my left, everything was in order. But it wasn’t over yet. The block had to move across the field independently. for the next twelve counts. But working together with the other members of the block, we made it through the movement swiftly. There were some moments where we were caught off guard because Johnny wasn’t in the block, but we were able to make it through.

It was a difficult task. A missing person in the show makes a big impact to the entire performance. When Johnny wasn’t present during our first show, I was affected by his absence. I was so worried that the show would be jeopardized. It would’ve been a lot better if he was there. We had all agreed. But we knew that this problem wouldn’t go away. We had so many more to go. We had a whole season in front of us. This was only our first performance. There were 120 people, and we knew 120 people couldn’t make it to every single day we had a show. A missing piece of the puzzle made a big difference. But with the others pieces working together, it still turned out to be a great work of art.