People always seem a bit surprised when they find out I played a sport all four years of high school.
I very much enjoyed the tennis season when it came around, which is why I cover the tennis teams in the lake area. Being part of the team helped me make friends, keep active and build confidence — the same adage that can be said for nearly every sport in the high school repertoire.
A lot of emphasis is put on sports in high school and with good reason. There are many positive facets to prep sports, and the Lake Sun has a sports section with 70 percent local content from area schools to back that up.
But as much as sports can positively influence kids and teenagers, the creative arts can have much the same effect and goes without the benefits of the limelight.
While I played tennis for four years, I participated in band three times longer in a school setting — from fifth grade beginning band all the way through my university education.
As a fifth grader, I would sit on top of my French horn case like a horse, hating to drag the instrument around because of its weight.
In high school, I played the mellophone (a marching version of the French horn) throughout sweaty summer practices all the way through a marching contest in the freezing rain and mud.
In college, I was in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble six of the seven semesters I played in band. I even traveled to China on a concert tour when I was a junior.
People ask me why I paid credit hours to play in band — an activity outside my journalism and history majors.
My answer to them: Music has the same benefits as any sports team.
Think about it this way: sports and music are essentially the same activity with different methods.
For, say, a basketball team to be successful, every player needs to excel individually by understanding the mechanics of how to shoot, how to defend, the finer points of good footwork and body positioning, etc.
In band, each player needs to excel at accuracy with their own instruments, being responsible for their knowing and playing their music precisely and confidently, etc.
On a basketball team, the players know they are part of a larger picture. They must know when and how to step up, fall back, where to run, when to stay put, when and how to drive to the basket, etc.
In a musical setting, each instrument group must know their place in the grand scheme of a piece — when to play out, hold back, speed up, etc.
Page 2 of 2 - Both have leaders — a coach or director that guides and motivates the team to success.
Both require determination, practice and effort.
There's a stigma that those involved in arts are there because they're the kids that couldn't do sports. But the way I see it, the arts are as difficult, if not more, than sports to get right. Few students can do both and achieve excellence in both.
I won't even go into how mentally and emotionally challenging engaging in music can be. The math skills required, the coordination necessary, the control needed — it's all the same as sports.
Not every child can excel in sports, but introducing them to music can be just as beneficial helpful in creating strong, confident and stimulated adolescents.