All across the country, high school marching bands are participating in an activity called Band Camp. This important event helps to prepare Vanguard members for the upcoming marching season. During this time, we teach and review the fundamentals of marching. Additionally, we will work on music fundamentals, and learn our music for the field show, march, and football stands. Most importantly, it allows for members to bond and immerse themselves into our Vanguard family, while having fun and working hard. It is crucial that every member attends, as it allows the staff to plan for the upcoming school year, but also to give students the opportunity to meet each other and to learn from each other.
While the staff and director will take every possible step to ensure that rehearsals run smoothly and safely, it is important for student members to also make the effort to prepare for Band Camp. Here are some helpful Band Camp Survival Tips for veterans and rookies alike.
1. Protect yourself from the sun! We will be outside marching...where there is no shade. Although marching will take place during the morning hours when there is less heat, the San Diego sun will still be shining. Apply sunscreen of SPF 30+ before marching rehearsals, and don't forget to reapply during our breaks. If you use chapstick, use one with an SPF as well. Invest in a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
2. Dress for Success Wear athletic, light-weight, and light-colored clothing. You will need to jog, stretch, march and sweat, so it is important that you wear clothing that will allow you to do so. Jeans are not advised. Also, you will need a sturdy pair of closed-toed shoes to march in--avoid loose and bulky shoes, as they will get in the way of proper marching technique. No flip-flops or sandals please. Bring a knee or ankle brace if you know you have had issues with those areas in the past. Also, It is also important that you dress according to school dress code.
3. Hydrate The hydration process should always start before band camp even begins. Drink a half gallon of water on Sunday before camp starts, and prepare to take in a gallon on rehearsal days. Avoid sugary, or caffeinated drinks, as those tend to dehydrate you. There will be water breaks throughout the rehearsal, so it is important to bring a reusable water bottle to rehearsal each day. Some students like to bring Camelbak style water backpacks so that they can re-hydrate at any point during the rehearsal. Another tip is to drink a Gatorade or water containing electrolytes after the rehearsal to allow the body to recover after sweaty rehearsals. If you drink Gatorade, make sure to rinse before playing your instrument.
4. Think about Nutrition Don't forget to fuel your body with nutritional meals. Eat a healthy breakfast containing protein before reporting to camp--donuts, pop tarts, and coffee, etc., are an awful choice, as they will leave you dehydrated and hungry. Bring (or buy) a healthy lunch, and eat it in an air-conditioned environment; rest during the lunch break. Avoid sugary and processed foods, as these tend to result in an energy rush, and then a subsequent crash. Some great energy-boosting foods are bananas, whole grains, raw vegetables, nut butters, and lean proteins. Foods containing water (like celery and cucumbers) are also great during lunch. There will be some snacks provided every day, but you should not rely on these alone to fuel your body.
5. Listen to your body You know your body best, so if for any reason, something is really wrong, don't be a hero. If you are feeling faint or dizzy, it's important to alert a staff member and then take a moment to find shade and re-hydrate. In most cases, you are having a physical reaction to the heat, and a lack of hydrating, resting, and feeding your body. On the other side, don't give up too easily. We are building our stamina to be able to march and perform an 8+ minute show in a month's time. If it is a slight amount of exhaustion or pain, give yourself the opportunity to work through it and to grow. Marching band is hard work, and there's something very special about a group of people putting in their best efforts to achieve great heights together. Don't give less than your best.
6. Sleep and prepare During the summer, it's easy to fall into a pattern of staying up late and waking up without an alarm clock. In the week prior to band camp, get yourself reacquainted to a regular sleep pattern. Get a full night's sleep. Also, prepare yourself for the physical aspects of marching band by getting some exercise in the week before camp. Go on regular walks, and try some push-ups or strength-building activities. Again, properly preparing your body, instead of shocking your body, will ensure a safe, healthy band camp experience.
7. Bring a positive attitude and contribute to the team Give yourself the opportunity to meet more than 100 awesome, hard-working performers just like yourself. Together, we can achieve greatness, and every member is important. Be in the now, and focus on learning and contributing to the band. Don't lose sight either--it may seem like camp is tough, but in November, when all of our hard work and preparation pays off, be proud that you gave your best effort.
What to Bring
Instrument or guard equipment
3 ringed binder for your music (black binder preferred) with sheet protectors and a pencil!
Cotton socks and closed-toed athletic shoes
Reusable Water Bottle (32 oz or greater is best)
Sunscreen (SPF 30+) and chapstick with SPF
Lightweight, light-colored clothing (no jeans!)
Lunch or money to buy a healthy lunch
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