1. Show up on time – Can’t say it enough - Always show the hell up. And show up on time. It’s most of your grade.

  2. “Faking it” is a skill to practice and to know when to use. (AKA: The school song has a lot of F-sharps. Play it with a warm tone.)

  3. Seriously though. Memorize and learn your stuff early. It’s more fun to goof-off when you know you’ve already completed the work.

  4. If you don’t want to have the bus leave without you: Eat dinner at the same restaurant as the director and staff. Preferably in the same group.

  5. If everyone is playing unisons, take a breath if you need it. Or take hard stuff an octave down. Pace yourself.

  6. Showing up with a hangover sucks.

  7. If your fellow section members show up with a hangover, making their life hell can brighten your day.

  8. Make mistakes logically: If you forgot your next set point, but you and everyone else guide together and bullshit a formation, half the time the director won’t notice. The other half the time the director will know that something looks wrong, but won’t be able to pinpoint what. The result is the whole tune will be run again and you get a second chance to remember.

  9. The tune / set / show will always be run again. Leaving early is a myth when there is top-down management and time left on the clock.

  10. If the part sucks, make up a better part.

  11. If you’re making up your part, you’d better damned well know what you’re doing. (Also, you’d better know the part you’re supposed to play if asked.)

  12. If the whole arrangement sucks, have everyone play the tune. AKA: “Hail to the RedSkins” is just “Yes, Jesus Loves Me.”

  13. Play the instrument you were issued.

  14. People going for the high notes are going to miss them. But if you don’t go for high notes, you’ll never play them. Basically, quit beating yourself up over trying hard shit. Be comfortable with a good try and a wrong note.

  15. Wear the uniform the right way.

  16. If 400 band members decide something fails the chuckle test: like drying a disposable poncho and reusing it, no amount of management can alter the decision.

  17. If you’re gonna drink during the gig, you’d better be of age, hold your liquor well, and do it discreetly.

  18. If a section or cadence starts on the wrong foot, it’s ok as long as everyone knows. But is it still the wrong foot?

  19. When stitching tunes from two shows together, and you realize one is numbered backwards – remember that organized chaos (scramble drill) is an acceptable visual technique.

  20. Ride the quiet bus.