Dehydration is something we all want to avoid. There are many symptoms: dizziness/lightheaded, headache, confusion, dry mouth, sleepiness/fatigue, extreme thirst, dark urine, or little to no urine. Symptoms may appear more quickly in some people than in others. The higher the temperature, the higher is our need for water. None of this information is new to any of us parents, but we cannot stress enough how important it is to communicate this to your student. Band camp is hard work. It’s important to remain well hydrated.
Also, don’t forget to purchase a new Dot Book. It may not be needed for mini-camp, but I recommend buying one before they become hard to find. Dot books are required for all marchers and color guard. The front ensemble will not need one since they remain stationary during the performance. If you haven’t purchased one yet and are a little confused as to what it is, a picture is included below. A Dot Book is essentially a collection of 50 index cards with a spiral binding. It’s really that simple. The index cards are typically 3” x 5” and can be all white pages or multi-colored pages. Make sure to clearly mark your student’s name on the cover for easy identification. Because these can get wet, if you write the name in marker, you might want to consider putting clear tape over it to prevent smearing. Also, you will need a piece of string, yarn, or rope to tie the each end of the spiral binding. This allows your student to hang the book around their shoulder or waist. It needs to be easily and quickly accessed no matter where they are on the field. They will also need a mechanical pencil to make those notes with. The wonderful thing about mechanical pencils is that they never need sharpening. If the lead breaks, with a twist or a click, you’re back in business.
For those students playing music, both marchers and front ensemble musicians, a binder is another necessity. Please provide page protectors as well to keep those music sheets free from smudging, creasing, ripping, and most moisture. You won’t regret it. Your student will also need something to write with. For quick note taking, a dry erase marker might be the best option. It should allow notes to be written directly on the sheet protector. This is important because time is usually in limited supply when they are on the field. Later in the day they can transfer those notes onto the music sheets with the mechanical pencil they use on the Dot Book. The dry erase marker should just wipe right off the sheet protector.
Finally, shoes are a very important part of marching band rehearsals. Shoes that are comfortable but let your feet breathe to stay cooler are best. Running shoes are recommended due to their increased padding and support designed to reduce impact stress. To lessen the number of blisters caused by new shoes, it is critical that they be purchased as soon as possible and worn immediately to break them in. Rehearsal’s are tough and they don’t stop when someone gets a blister. They get a bandage applied and sent back into the ranks. Marching Band requires a mental and physical toughness usually associated with sports. Well, this is a sport in everything except recognition as such. The most common injuries in band are medically categorized as sports injuries. Good shoes will reduce the risk of these occurring.
Equally important is the need for a second pair of shoes. There is always a high probability of dew on the practice field in the morning. And who knows what precipitation will occur throughout each day. Having a second pair of older shoes (and extra socks) is always a good idea. This allows band members to wear the older shoes in the wet conditions and then change into dry socks and dry shoes during the lunch break. This prevents further skin irritations and blisters.