band camp
Marc Time: by Marc C. Whitt
Where has the Summer gone? I don’t know about you, but it seems the older I get the faster my Summers go!

Perhaps even more so, for those among us who are band boosters, band camp is right around the corner. Ready or not, here it comes!

This year marks the 12th consecutive year my wife and I have been band parents as our 15-year old son prepares for another exciting marching season.

As band parents, we often hear the band director and his or her staff share with ways our children can best prepare for a successful and enjoyable band camp and marching season. But as parents, what are we doing to prepare ourselves?

Here are some tips for the newbie band parents as well as a few reminders for those among us who have done this a time or two.

1. Whether you are a first-time band parent or not, it’s important that you encourage your child throughout the marching season, especially during band camp. After the newness and excitement gives way to the realization that long, hot, sweaty hours of rehearsal will become exhausting, your child may reach their weakest point and question whether they wish to continue marching. Do your best to encourage your child to stay the course. Remind them of their commitment. Band camp is a wonderful life lesson for our children. As most of us know, nothing is easy in life. Band camp helps our children understand and value the fact that in the real world it takes hard work, plenty of sweat and maybe a few tears to achieve success. So be ready to be the strong encourager, cheerleader, shoulder and ear.

2. When I was a young bandsmen, my band director dad for some reason thought my brother and I had to go through a Spring Training-like experience prior to us going off to band camp. He would have my mom fix beef liver and onions (yuck!) and “encourage” us to practice trumpet methods at least an hour a day for two weeks before camp began so that we would be healthy and ready. Not that I’m suggesting you get out the iron skillet and cook some beef or chicken livers, it is a good idea to get your child prepared in advance for camp by having them get plenty of rest and sleep, eating well-balanced meals, drinking plenty of water, practicing at least an hour a day on their instrument, and walking or jogging a mile or two each day. I guarantee you that band camp will not be as taxing if they prepare themselves in such a way.

3. Become involved with your band boosters organization. It’s important that you be actively engaged in some aspect of the boosters’ work. Not only does this help facilitate the effectiveness of parents assisting the marching band program, it demonstrates to your child that you also wish to be actively engaged in an important part of their teen years. They may not admit it, but they think it’s pretty cool to see mom or dad out there with them.

4. Lastly, network and build relations with the parents, student musicians and band staff. Some of the fondest memories my wife and I have had these past 12 years have been with the countless band kids we have “adopted” as our own and those parents who became a loving, caring community who selflessly gave of themselves to the excellence of the band program. You truly become a family.

For those among you who are brand new to the big, beautiful, wild and crazy life of marching band, you will no doubt scratch your head and ask, “What am I supposed to do?” “Should I feel this lost?” “Will I really know the difference between a euphonium and a clarinet when I see one?”

Don’t fear! We’ve all felt lost when we joined as freshmen parents.

The more you are involved in your boosters organization, I promise you will quickly become a Professional Band Parent with the stripes to show! You’ll soon learn much of the band lingo while developing many new friends.

In closing, we at the National Association of Music Parents want to remind you of the importance of networking—not only among your school’s music parents, but across your state, region and nation with other music parents. It’s a service that only AMP can provide.

As we near a new school year we at AMP wish to encourage your school’s band, choir, and orchestra directors and parents to take advantage of a unique membership offer.

Now through Aug. 15, your school’s band, choir, orchestra directors and parents can join AMP for only the price of one! An AMPtastic deal? You bet!

How does it work? Through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 15, you will have the ability to include up to 3 boosters groups from one campus (or those middle/junior high schools that feed the one campus) to enroll for one low price. This could be a band and orchestra booster organization, or a middle school band, high school band and choir booster organization– any 2 or 3 group combination you come up with will work. For two groups the price per group goes from $290* to $145 each. And for a combo of 3 it becomes $97 each to engage and activate every parent in your music parent programs.

As this new school year nears, new booster officers may be excited and a little bit nervous at the same time. If you take the opportunity to take care of some of the details now, your back to school will be more manageable and a lot more fun. Only through AMP can we provide you with the resources and benefits that will truly rAMP up your music programs’ parents organization.

For further details, click on

Here’s to a successful new school year and for those among you who are band boosters preparing for band camp! Enjoy these special times and moments with your music student. They will truly bless you for years to come.