The aftermath of my father's homicide kept my mother's pocketbook sparse so I didn't march in middle/high school. Instead I sat in a practice room, with nothing to practice...I kept the excitement of performing in front of a crowd at bay. Fast-forward to August of 2018 and there I was, the youngest member of the Shorter University band, missing the first week of marching practice. It was stressful and a bit disappointing, not dissimilar to this blog post thus far....see what I did there!?! In hind sight I see with clarity that all the less-than-delicious-anticipation eventually sweetened the experience. There's an intense energy that a college football game offers and it explodes at the command of the band. The crowd went wild at every stand call that sprouted from my band's bells and so did I. Music makes the moment. Being the pulse and vibe of a spectator event is something special. You become the reason people get caught up in the moment and feel carried away. Live music has an inescapable influence over people's moods. In my experience mood influences every aspect of life. Perhaps the most important lesson I will learn from marching in college is why my degree matters just as much as a doctor's or an engineer's. I am constantly hearing people question the value of acquiring a performance degree in music. Those people questioning the degree's value clearly are not giving their life's sound track the credit it so richly deserves for shaping and influencing their lives. I suspect it is likely they will infect their entire family line with that thinking (or lack thereof). Perhaps I should rename my degree and say I'm getting a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Influence...after all we music majors can make an entire crowd of people go completely WILD!