Section leaders mentor marching band members

Section+leaders+drive+the+magic+behind+Lynbrooks+marching+band%2C+acting+as+mentors+for+each+marching+band+member+in+their+section.

Graphic illustration by Features Section

Section leaders drive the magic behind Lynbrook’s marching band, acting as mentors for each marching band member in their section.

Amishi Chandra

More than 100 students synchronize their moves and practice relentlessly at sectionals, all to present their captivating show and make the crowd go wild. The people who drive this magic are the section leaders: mentors for each marching band member who plays their particular instrument, and they are responsible for making sure that their section stays on task and knows their music.

Getting 127 students to play together is not easy, especially because the musicians have to march, pose and play their instruments simultaneously. Every team needs good leaders, and the section leaders are the backbones of a successful marching band. Although each section has different music and choreography to prepare, they all work together. Each section holds practices in their own time, which are called sectionals.

“I held around 26 hours of sectionals just during the summer, even before band camp started,” senior and percussion section leader Ty Hosein said. “And then after that, we’ve been holding one hour and a half sectionals each week with the entire drumline. Then each subsection — snare, base and tenor — holds around one hour of sectionals.”

There are 11 sections in marching band: flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, low wind, trumpet, mellophone, trombone, baritone, sousa, battery, pit and color guard. Low winds bring fun to the field, and flutes and alto saxophones are responsible for enthusiasm because they are always energetic in their moves. The battery is in charge of the drum beats, and although each person in the lineup is a soloist, they all come together to create a rhythmic background. Baritones bring creativity and fun choreography while the high brass section, consisting of the trumpet, sousa and trombone, add their own twist to the music. The clarinet section is responsible for highlighting the melodies in the music. Although all of these sections tend to go these roles, none of them are primarily responsible for these parts. During the entire show, each section gets the spotlight one or two times.

“We’re a really big family and I’m pretty sure everyone in the section is close to each other,” clarinet section leader Faith Ju said. “Marching band is unique because there’s a lot of underclassmen who are supported by upperclassmen advisers.”

Section leaders not only lead their section but also play their instrument and march with the rest of the section. This also means they must have excellent organizational and technical skills to memorize the music. These leaders are also responsible for making marching band a fun experience, which requires them to know when to be playful or strict with their section.

“Being a section leader means riding the fine line between being a friend and being a mentor,” low wind section leader Rahul Idgunji said.

To guide their section, section leaders must be able to differentiate between when people are hard at work and off-task. Some section leaders enforce these guidelines by making their students run laps or do push-ups when they slack off. In the end, this is a tactic utilized to emphasize the importance of knowing the music and respecting their section.

Being a section leader requires considerable dedication and effort, but the values and lessons they learn are worth all the work they put in. The role requires responsibility, being a good role model, being proficient in their section’s instrument and most importantly, having experience marching. Section leaders usually set the bar for the years to come, so each leader has to demonstrate good qualities that their section can follow and eventually emulate when they have to lead.

“I think it’s about being a good role model and setting a good example for the future kids because in marching band, a lot of things are passed on,” senior and baritone section leader Tyler Liu said. “There is no individualized instruction for the sections, and I think the section leader has to pass on different things like traditions and values.”

During their competition on Oct. 23, marching band achieved first place overall in their division, which was in part due to the effort that the section leaders put in to make their section flawless.

The best part about being a section leader is the many lessons and ideas learned from the experience. As future section leaders learn to go with the flow and mature into the role, they also need to keep in mind when to discipline their section and when they can have fun with them. They should be confident in their leadership but also ask for feedback from their sections.

“Just be careful because you don’t know what type of day the person you are trying to teach has had, so be mindful,” junior and flute section leader Wesley Goh said.

In the end, the marching band is similar to a miniature army. The music that they produce is not only as a result of the hard work of the section leaders but also of the coordination and strong performances from everyone in each section.

Edits:

“Baritones bring creativity and fun choreography while the low brass section, consisting of the trumpet, sausa and trombone, add their own twist to the music.”  to Baritones bring creativity and fun choreography while the high brass section, consisting of the trumpet, sousa and trombone, add their own twist to the music.” 

There are 11 sections in marching band: flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, low wind, trumpet, mellophone, trombone, baritone, sausa, battery, pit and color guard.” to “There are 11 sections in marching band: flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, low wind, trumpet, mellophone, trombone, baritone, sousa, battery, pit and color guard.”

Baritones bring creativity and fun choreography while the high brass section, consisting of the trumpet, sousa and trombone, add their own twist to the music. The clarinet section is responsible for highlighting the melodies in the music.” to “Baritones bring creativity and fun choreography while the high brass section, consisting of the trumpet, sousa and trombone, add their own twist to the music. The clarinet section is responsible for highlighting the melodies in the music. Although all of these sections tend to go these roles none of them are sole (or even primarily) responsible for these parts.”