Should You Quit Band? Read This First.


Making any big change in your life can be scary, hard, and overwhelming. If you have invested a lot of time playing for Band and have developed a lot of relationships it can feel daunting to think about walking away from something that has been such a big part of you. 

When thinking of quitting Band (or anything else) it’s best to talk to friends and family that you trust and are close to you. Take some time to evaluate your reasons for quitting to see if it’s really something that will benefit you in the long run. 

Whether it is Marching Band, symphonic band, or jazz band if it has been something that you have put some significant time and effort into, or if you have only just recently started, making a choice to quit shouldn’t be something that you take lightly. 

I won’t tell you what the right decision is, it can be different for everyone, but my hope is that this article can help you think about all the pros and cons of your decision and help you make it more confidently. 

What are the reasons that your Want to Quit?

What are the obstacles that you are facing that have made you think about quitting? Are there other solutions to the problems? Have you tried reaching out to a friend, parent, or bandleader for help? 

It can be helpful to make a list of the reasons that you want to quit seeing it written out on paper can help it make more sense. 

Top Tip: To help you not make a quick rash decision, try writing a list on your app in your phone over the course of a few weeks of the pros and cons of being in band. Make sure to be as objective as possible and not just base it on your current emotions.

Here are some things that I thought of and what you might need to consider. 

  • Being in Band takes too much time. If you quit then what will you be spending your time on?  Do you want more time to sleep and watch TV, or do you have a legitimate talent or hobby that you want to pursue that makes doing Marching Band at the same time difficult?
  • I’m not good enough- Everyone needs to start somewhere and not feeling like you are good enough shouldn’t be the sole reason you quit.

    99% of all band directors and teachers would never want you to quit because of this. Sometimes finding a mentor or a friend in your section that can help you practice and get better can be just what you need.
  • Playing in Band is too hard. Do you have a physical impairment that makes being in Marching Band extremely difficult? Are you struggling with reading the music and keeping up? Do you feel exhausted after practice? If you do, speaking with a teacher or leader you should be able to come up with a solution that can make it more doable for you.
  • Marching Band is too stressful and not fun anymore. Try and think about what made band fun in the first place. Are you able to focus more on those aspects? Do you have friends in the band that you can reach out to ask for help making it more fun? Is there one particular person that is making it stressful? Can you problem-solve the conflict?
  • Music is not your career choice. Even if you aren’t choosing a career in music staying in band can still be well worth it. If you are able to commit to high school band it can be a great help to you on college applications.

Note: Being part of the band can be good for your future career even if you are not going into music. 

Being in band shows that you are able to make a commitment, and be a team player. Band gives you opportunities for leadership this can be a great asset to list on resumes or scholarship applications. 

  • My friends aren’t in the band. I have seen this one first hand. My daughter in color guard in the Marching band and when she joined the time she got to spend with her friends outside of band was limited, but she was able to make a lot of new friends in the band. Having a variety of friendships can be great, maybe your friends that aren’t in the band can support you by coming to your event then you can all go out for ice cream afterward.

When Band Takes Up Too Much Time

A big problem you may be facing as a band student is the number of things demanding your time and attention. It can be really hard and stressful to juggle everything while still feeling like you can do it well. 

If you feel extremely stretched thin then it’s time to evaluate everything that is demanding your time and attention and decide what your priorities are. 

Take a week and observe and write down everything that you spend time on. Sleeping, eating, homework, friends, family, band practice, working, other hobbies, downtime. 

Knowing where your time is going can help you decide if it’s being well-spent or not. 

After the week has gone by list all those things starting with the most important to you on top and the least important on the bottom. 

Is there a way to reduce the amount of time spent on non-important things? 

Did you list band as one of them? 

Knowing When it’s Time to Quit 

If you have tried to stick it out for a while, you have reached out for help, and being in band has overall become miserable and something that you dread then it may be time to quit.

If you feel like you can quit and look back at it in 6 months, a year or longer and not regret your decision, if you will not miss being a part of band or your friends then it should be an easier decision to make.

Note: This article is not specifically for band, but can help give you some additional things to think about. 7 Simple Signs It Might Be Time to Quit.

If you have made up your mind to quit you should if at all possible you should make every effort to stick it out until the end of the season or the end of the semester. When you sign up for band not only are you making a personal commitment, but you have made a commitment to the rest of the band to be a part of the team. 

How to Quit Band (Marching Band) 

If you have made up your mind that you are quitting make sure that you have someone close to you that can support you in the process. Oftentimes others will struggle to understand and may even feel hurt or abandoned that you are leaving. 

If leaving is what is right for you, you will need to be strong in your conviction and armed with your reasons. Having your reasons written down can help you when it comes time to communicate with your bandleader.

Top Tip: Never quit or say you are quitting in the heat of the moment. If there is something that triggered your desire to quit or you’ve just had that last straw, take a deep breath and wait until you are composed and calm to make your decision known. Doing so will help you not burn bridges or lose respect from your leaders and bandmates.

🎵 Set up a private meeting with your director so that you can talk and explain your situation.

🎵 If possible take your support person with you.

🎵Always remain calm when explaining your problems and frustrations.

🎵 Listen to your director/teacher’s side of things but be firm in your conviction to quit if you know it is the right thing for you. 

🎵 Be willing to give it some extra thought after hearing what your teachers and family have to say, but ultimately do what is best for you and your future!

Final Thoughts

For me being in Symphonic & marching band in middle school, high school, and college have to this day been some of the best memories of my life. 

Being in band gave me a sense of belonging and community. Not only did I learn a lot about music, but I learned a lot about life. Personally, I wouldn’t have given it up for anything.

I understand not everyone is so lucky. I wish you luck in your journey.

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