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Breaking the Ice


BY Meghan Vogt
LifeAtStart.com reporter

There is a wide variety of stereotypes known in our society. People use stereotypes to assume personality traits of an individual based upon a single aspect of the individual’s life or appearance. Stereotypes are commonly extremely incorrect and sometimes insulting to the group of people they describe.

Some general examples of stereotypes are: blondes and athletic students are not smart, Caucasian males are poor basketball players and Asian students are good at math. Stereotypes apply to certain groups. As a member of marching band, you are grouped, and, therefore, vulnerable to stereotypes, the moment you join the class. I explored the accuracy of common stereotypes about different sections in marching band by asking members of select sections how a specific stereotype applied to them. These are my findings.

Stereotype One: Tuba players are slow thinkers.

Result: Inaccurate

Start’s lead tubist, Christopher Dauer, responded, “Not at all. I am the exact opposite.”

Stereotype Two: Trombone players are cool.

Result: Accurate

“Because bow ties are cool, and, therefore, I am cool,” explained Start’s junior trombonist, Justin “BowTie” Hockman, who can be seen sporting a bow tie every day at school.

Stereotype Three: The color guard is always off step.

Result: Partially Accurate

For Adam Garçia this is true “all of the time.”

However, veteran marcher Hayle Pant pointed out, “Sometimes I’m off step, but you have to be in step to spin right.”

Stereotype Four: Percussionists are loud and annoying.

Result: Partially Accurate

Nathan Haueter, lead snare, commented, “Personally, I don’t fit that stereotype, but yes it’s true for a certain drummer on this line.” Nathan politely did not want to give names, but after prying, he confided that the certain drummer was tenor player Matthew Gebhardt.

Matthew Gebhardt admitted that he was indeed, “very annoying, very noisy.”

Stereotype Five: Woodwinds can’t march.

Result: Inaccurate and very insulting

“You know that is… [male cow’s feces],” responded sophomore clarinet player Phillip Dutridge.

“Total [male cow’s feces],” agreed fellow clarinetist Sam Gonia.

Marissa Shuster shared, “I feel like I want to kill those people who think that.”

Mitchel Borst more calmly commented with what the rest of his section was presumably also thinking, “I’m a pretty good marcher.”

Stereotype Six: Trumpet players are egotistical and arrogant.

Result: Partially accurate

Mylisa Boright, sophomore trumpist, believes “that is the upperclassmen guy trumpets… Like Dan.”

When questioned, Daniel Smith, responded, “No, it’s not true because I’m not full trumpet; I’m half baritone.” Although Daniel marches trumpet he plays the baritone during concert season. Andy Roberson, senior, agreed, “It’s pretty true. I mean, look at Tim.” Andy was then asked if the stereotype reflected him as a trumpet player. He responded, “Yeah, I’m pretty great.” Timothy Warring, current first trumpet, admitted, “My ego is off the scale.”

Andrea Gowdy shed some wisdom on the topic, “Well, you know, it’s people who know they’re good. Nine times out of ten people who think they’re good are good.”

Unfortunately, not all trumpet players are as confident. Terrance Peavy described his attitude towards his abilities, “I’m self-conscious, and I’m like the only one that doesn’t play out… I’m not good enough.”

Conclusion: Most stereotypes only apply to the few individuals that stood out that caused the stereotype to form. No stereotype defines everyone. There will always be exceptions and stereotypes should never be used to judge anyone. It’s always better to get to know someone before deciding if they’re egotistical, annoying or a poor marcher. If anything, maybe use the stereotype as an ice breaker. Believe me, you’ll hear some interesting things.