…playing in a marching band?
By Michael Alford
The increasing variety of technologies such as apps and modern digital equipment, combined with a few age-old communication methods developed for the visually impaired, such as Braille, are making most activities accessible even for those with extremely severe sight impairments, but walking around while playing music can really feel like a no-goer.
But like most things, it’s a lot easier than you might initially think. Over 90% of the time, you’re marching over level terrain, so there’s no real risk of running into unknown obstructions; the more important requirement is to have enough sight to see where all your band mates are. As with most things in life, people are generally quite willing to help, and will find ways to work around any challenges you may have.
I play a variety of instruments (mainly percussion) and a variety of genres, so I’ve had experience in everything from singing in a choir to playing solo. They all have something to be said for them, but nothing quite beats the thrill of playing in a marching band. The bands I’ve been in have never been negative about my visual impairment, and have readily made small adjustments to meet my needs.
If you play a wind or percussion instrument and enjoy a dose of lively military music (which can actually be quite varied, but is always great fun), and if you have even a little sight, why not give it a try? Whatever band you want to play in, be it a Scottish pipe band (like me), fife and drum corps, or a marching symphonic wind band, search the Internet for your local band of choice and ask to join. It could be well worth your while.
Do you have an unusual hobby others may not have considered? We would love to hear your comments or any further advice you can share in the comments at the end of this article.
Written by Michael Alford