For the Band Kids


Isa Villamin

A photo of the Mountainside band hallway in action after class.

Isa Villamin, Freelancer

To most people, the band hallway is just a hallway full of lockers, practice rooms, a massive metal door, etc. In their mind, the band room is full of instruments and weird curtains on the walls. But for band kids, the hallway is where we eat lunch, practice, store our instruments, and socialize. The band room is where we rehearse and perfect pieces of music given to us. We respect the space, and we clean up after ourselves. And, unfortunately, others do not. 

When we come to the hallway to practice, the doors are locked. They’re locked because students come and use the practice rooms for things they aren’t intended for. They make out in them, eat in them, use them as a trash can, etc. As students that use them, we pay the price for their actions. During my Freshman year, the practice rooms were usually unlocked, and you could use them whenever you wanted. Now, as a Sophomore, they are locked 80% of the time and you have to hunt for Mr. Goff, Mr. Zander, Mr. Kuroiwa, or Ms. Goodling. The problem with this is that they are usually in the middle of a class or not in school. The only other staff you can turn to are the office staff or the custodians. And the problem with that is that you have to have permission from a performing arts teacher, and they have to be present for them to open it for you.

The band hallway during lunch is occupied by band kids. They converse while they eat or they practice before their next class. Since it is open for everyone, students like to walk through it with their friends, start fights outside of the line of sight of a staff member, open lockers, mess with the door to the stage, and as aforementioned, mess around in the practice rooms. What starts as tranquility and occasional chaos becomes a loud and unpleasant environment full of worry that something is going to break or get stolen. On the occasion that the band room is unlocked, and they feel particularly devious, they walk into the band room and start touching instruments. I understand the curiosity of students, but when they come in and start touching things without permission, it sets off a lot of warning bells. Not only that, but it also adds more layers on top of what should be free to use when a band kid has free time into a mess of locked doors and the inability to practice at school.

Finally, student-athletes love to make fun of band students while on the field. They come up to us and ask questions about band, making us think that they are taking a genuine interest in the class, only to start teasing us about it right after. We’re tired, it’s boiling outside, and we’re struggling to hold on to our sanity and make it to lunch. Then, we get teased and made fun of on top of that. It’s one of the most discouraging things that someone can experience. Doing something that you enjoy and creating music with your friends only to be called cringe and weird because we devote our time to something. The hypocrisy is unreal considering the people calling us weird for devoting our time to music while devoting their time to a sport or other activities.

In an ideal world, everyone should be able to do whatever activities they want without being made fun of or having restrictions put on them because others can’t respect space. Students should be able to be in band and not get the reaction of “Oh my god, you’re a band kid?” from someone around them. Students should be comfortable with their decision and should never have fear of being judged by those around them.