Saturday, September 9, 2017

Experiential Learning...on a personal note!

I just got home from the track--two miles today.  It was such a nice day, and my brain and heart wanted to run four, but unpredictable knees and a meniscus tear repair later, and my limit is two, even with my "Darth Vader" brace. But, as usual...I digress...

As I was walking to the entrance to the track at Frontier Trail Middle School, I saw a line of five buses, empty, parked at the curb, and I was wondering why they were just sitting there.  As I got closer, the double doors at the side of the school opened, and suddenly lines of band members, dressed alike, carrying their instruments, some donning the "FT" logo, began spilling into the buses.  A short time later, they pulled away in a convoy of yellow.

Seeing them reminded me of the experiences acquired in my lifetime when I was a part of the school band.  I remember the excitement of arriving at the school, seeing my friends, putting together instruments and tuning them together, and filing on the buses that would take us to the numerous parades and activities our directors arranged for us.

It's funny what we remember.  I remember specifically having to march faster because the trombones were in the front row, and even the slightest delay could mean a "slide hit" or nudge.  I remember marching on sunny days and being so hot and sweaty that the baton in my hand seemed to do nothing but slide through my fingers and seem worthless.  I remember the times we were angry when we had to follow the horses and dodge what they left behind.  I remember the people, lined along the streets, some waving, some oblivious to our efforts, but all the same, part of the experience that we were sharing.

We learn experientially and through our social interactions, and through my experiences with our junior high and high school bands, I learned commitment, friendship, strategy, logic, confidence, passion, respect, teamwork, and more.  There was no better hands-on, project-based, problem-based, competency-based learning more fitting than being part of that group of about 75 individuals who came together and had to work together to accomplish something.  I learned a lot of who I was during those experiences with and from interactions with those individuals.  I learned things that I didn't always learn when sitting in a classroom.

The FT band is headed this morning to the Old Settlers' Parade.  I hope that they some day realize how fortunate they are to have had this experience.