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Be Remarkable!

By Randy Gilmore, Marching Show Concepts, Inc. By Randy Gilmore, Marching Show Concepts, Inc.

Be Remarkable!

By Randy Gilmore, Marching Show Concepts, Inc.

First printed in Fanfare, Vol. 22, Issue 1, Autumn 2007.  Reprinted by permission.

Marching bands can hardly help but be noticed. People instinctively turn their heads when the first drum cadence begins. Being noticed, however, does not make you or your group remarkable. Remarkable happens when people talk; when they see something significant about you or your achievement and find it worth remarking about. John Maxwell, in his book titled, “The Road Map for Success,” charts a course toward the remarkable, without making it the all-or-nothing goal. Instead, he asserts that when you seek to fulfill your purpose, take steps toward your potential, and help others, you will not only arrive at your destination but realize many other benefits as well.

Many directors, judges, and even audiences have become mesmerized by one creative idea after another. They see more color, bigger flags, more elaborate costumes and props with each band attempting to outdo the last. With every new season, staff members search nationwide for that one unique idea that will not only satisfy judges and audiences, but get people talking. This pressure to come up with the next winning concept has paralyzed more than one director; often creating a disdain for the whole competitive scene, even, at times, relegating fine programs to the safety of the familiar and mediocre.

Beyond Normal
How do we get beyond “one-up-man-ship” and still find motivation toward excellence? Is it possible to motivate students simply by comparing themselves with themselves? Can a thriving program attempting to provide positive experiences for its students keep from falling headlong into the churning wheels of the competitive system? With your eye on the right goal, this is not only possible, but preferable. “What you get by reaching your goals is not nearly as important as what you become by reaching them” states Maxwell.

Talk is valuable
Bigger and better (based on what others are doing) cannot improve the instruction, morale and individual productivity of your students (or accumulate trophies). The only avenue left is to stop looking at the other guys and start doing something worth talking about. What can you do well with the strengths that are yours alone? Discovering this hidden jewel will crown you with the big “WOW!” It is just such a crown that will set the whole activity on a new and fresh path.

As Seth Godin, author of “The Big Moo,” emphatically states, “remarkable” isn’t up to you. It is in the eyes of your students, your audience, and your adjudicators. If one (or all) of these individuals decides something you are doing is worth remarking on, then, by definition, it is remarkable.

And how do you get people to remark about you? By doing something they recognize as significant, valuable, or beneficial to their interests (or that of someone else they care about). Whenever we shift our focus from success or out-performing the “other guy” to service and being our best selves for the good of the community, everything from practicing scales and marching maneuvers to half-time programs and state festivals take on more meaning. Not only will students gain confidence in themselves when they see the impact of their positive actions, but others will take note and, undoubtedly, begin to remark, “Have you heard what the high school band is doing?” “I never thought teenagers cared about anyone besides themselves, but these students are remarkable!”

The Quest
Making the effort to excel on your own individual talents and strengths, as well as that of your staff and students, inspiring unconventional trust and dedication through honest and forthright decisions, leading with proven integrity, and daring to dream big will thrust you on a quest for the breakthrough that will set you apart from the rest. Bring the thrill of adventure back into your program. Dream dreams bigger than yourself or the confines of your group. You and your students will never be the same.

Randy Gilmore served ten years as a nationally recognized high school band director and assistant marching band director at West Chester University. Over the past 21 years Randy has developed Marching Show Concepts ( as a nationally known company for quality marching band products and exceptional one-to-one services. Randy exemplifies an expertise and standard of excellence that is well known and respected throughout the music industry. He is an accomplished clinician, adjudicator and drill designer who continues to display his talents in the MSC collection of products and services.