Fitness in Marching Band: 100 Pounds LighterAndrew Moran
As musicians, we all know that to present our music best, we have to be in peak mental health. Music, in turn, reinforces our mental health. But, being at the top of our musical game is also facilitated (or hindered) by our physical health. Here’s my story…
Following my student teaching placement at Avon High School in Avon, IN, I remember hopping on the scales at my doctor’s office, and as the nurse slid the weight past 235…240…245…250 lbs., I was flooded with an overwhelming sense of embarrassment. How could I have let this get so out-of-hand?
As it turns out, it got out of hand by simply practicing an unbalanced lifestyle that’s all too common amongst music teachers today. I ate breakfast in my car at 5:30am on the way to school, taught throughout the day before an idle lunch at the closest fast food restaurant while grading papers until the evening’s rehearsal. After that, I picked up dinner to eat on the way home at 9:30pm. Sleep. Rinse. Repeat. Before I knew it, I was standing on that cold, unforgiving scale in my doctor’s office.
Thank goodness for my wake-up call. I purchased a Nike Fuel Band as a motivator and, without logging calories or even really changing my diet, my overall health began to improve as I tried to move the Fuel Band meter from red-to-green. Filling that meter became my new addiction. The pounds started coming off, too. First 10…15…20 lbs. – all by just being smart and moving around a bit more. Could you host that quick meeting with the choir director during passing period instead of on your prep period, so you can walk and talk? Would it hurt to do a quick lap around the track while students are taking a water break? Baby steps.
That’s when I began to see and feel the difference in every part of my life. I no longer wanted to eat the fast food I’d been addicted to for years. Instead, I packed my own lunch and learned to embrace healthy portion sizes. My friendships and relationships became healthier, because I had a healthier, more positive image of myself. But I saw the biggest change in the classroom and on the field. Suddenly, I had more energy to give to my teaching and classroom management. My students could feel that, and reciprocated. Before we knew it, we were having the most productive (not to mention flat-out fun) rehearsals we’d ever had.
Now, one year later and one hundred pounds lighter, I feel like a completely different person. My new lifestyle has completely changed the way I think and am able to structure, pace, and execute lessons and rehearsals. There’s no substitute for honest-to-goodness “know-how” when it comes to teaching, but being able to dictate the pace of rehearsal as you see fit, rather than having your body dictate the pace of rehearsal, is an incredibly liberating feeling that your students will pick up on. You’ll be able to give more to them, which means they’ll be able to give more to you.