Band Students’ Experiences Change Greatly after High School

For better or worse, nothing is quite like it was in high school, and former Cobbler musicians’ have found this to be true with their musical experiences.

By Dale Beranek, Stephanie Shuster, and Elisabeth Riisnaes

Alumni of the Central High School band have found that playing music after high school is more complicated than it was during their time at Central.

Carson Sehr, trumpet player and freshman at USD, says the complexity with the music has changed from his high school career. “The music we’re playing in symphonic band is distinctly at a higher level, due to more complex harmonic structure and sheer technical demand,” he said. Harder music requires more practicing, a difficult requirement with a loaded schedule, as he’s majoring in psychology and English. However, having a band class squeezed into his day pushes him to keep his music alive.

Sehr does not carry these burdens alone. Austin Hillestad, saxophone player and BHSU freshman, history education major, and music minor, reports the differences of practice as significant. “The difference between the high school level and college level classes is that college requires a lot more individual work, because your professor expects to have all the little kinks and stuff worked out by the time class starts,” he said. With more expected of him, he still keeps music in his life through being a part of the jazz band, student band, and pep band.

College gives students like Austin and Carson the opportunity to be a part of a school band, but Alana Wallace, who’s currently enrolled in school, has found it harder to keep in a band. After high school she left South Dakota and went to Alabama, taking a gap year. “I would love to plan on keeping my flute in my future,” she said, “but there are zero community bands around.”

Photo courtesy of the activities department