Simon Sinek is all the rage on social media and as an author/speaker. His "TedTalk" has been viewed by millions. The principle that he espouses centers on finding out the "WHY" rather than focusing on the "WHAT" and the "HOW". When you think about it, we have embraced that philosophy in our band program for decades.
"WHY" we do what we do is to see students grow and develop as better people.
Our "WHAT" is music.
Our "HOW" is offering bands, chamber ensembles, and performance opportunities.
We focus on the "WHY" as we plan all of our various activities. We search for opportunities for our students beyond the minimum involvement. We teach the "life lessons" in addition to musical information. We create leadership scenarios for our students and encourage them to take on additional responsibility. We bring in professionals to share information and coach our students so that they can get a more global view of what we do. We challenge the process in order for our students to grow and go beyond their comfort zones.
It is easy to get all caught up in the "WHAT"... what music are we playing? What is the theme of the marching show? What concerts will the Jazz Band play? What contests will the Winter Guard attend? What level of difficulty will the group perform at LGPE? These things are all important, but they are not the actual REASON that we do what we do.
The "HOW" is the most obvious. It includes our schedule, our annual calendar, our list of performances, our daily warm-up routines, our audition process, and all the various things we do in order to learn the techniques needed to be a part of the performing groups. Sadly, many people get so involved in the "HOW" (doing the day-to-day routines), that they lose sight of the "WHY".
Our program has produced amazing young people for many years. They have grown, matured, discovered new talents, uncovered hidden skills, and become outstanding leaders among their peers. Over 30 of our alumni have become music teachers. Dozens more are classroom teachers in different subjects. Several have become performers. Others enjoy a leadership status in their chosen field, being in charge of large groups of people or major projects. Many of them communicate with us and share their stories about how being in the band program shaped them into being capable of achieving what they are doing in their adult lives. It's all because of the "WHY"!