The Emerald Brigade: Metronomes and Time Management


Kate Rowberry

Granite Bay High School’s Emerald Brigade performs at the Del Oro Spectacular at Del Oro High School on Oct. 16.

In the month leading up to its performance at the Oct. 16 Del Oro Spectacular, Granite Bay High School’s band, the Emerald Brigade, logged almost 11 hours per week of practice.

At the Del Oro Spectacular, the Emerald Brigade won first place in its division, among other awards. The hours they put towards practice excludes class time and personal time devoted to practice, as well as practices for specific sections of the band, such as the drumline.

With occasional Super Saturday practices from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as summer band camp, football game performances and field shows, some band members have shifted their schedules to fit everything in. 

“I’m also part of a competitive swim team,” GBHS junior, Emerald Brigade flautist and varsity water polo player Aaliyah Zamorano said, “but I quit for the season because it’s too much to juggle, especially (because I’m in) junior year.” 

Zamorano also notes that she does not get enough sleep but attributes this to “junior year… and the nature of high school.”

According to a study, by the time students are seniors in high school, “75 percent of students self-reported sleep durations of less than eight hours of sleep per night.”

Some band students, including Zamorano, have found ways to manage their commitments.

“As long as I’m balancing everything and (my coaches and the band director) are happy with it, then I’m totally fine,” Zamorano said.

Elle Danielson, a GBHS senior who plays the vibraphone and oboe for the Emerald Brigade, thinks she has improved at managing her time due to band.

“I’ve gotten a lot better at not procrastinating because I don’t have much time,” Danielson said, “but I’m also able to get the most out of the time that I have.”

In response to the question “You can’t do sports and band?” the Emerald Brigade website says, “With good time management we have students that participate in many other things.”

Tom Ruscica, Associate Dean for the School of Humanities and Arts at William Jessup University, said that it was important for students to have a calendaring and planning system to stay organized.

Sometimes (band students) make mistakes, and don’t have a system, but it is a really great class to figure that out,” Lynn Lewis, GBHS band director, said, “because it’s better figuring it out with us when your friends are here to help you.” 

Additionally, students have noted that being in band has helped them academically.

“I can… go to different people for help with classes because we’ve taken almost every class in (band),” Danielson said.

Per the Emerald Brigade website, the pre-pandemic average GPA of a band student was 3.77.

However, there may or may not be a correlation between students’ musicianship and  academic performance. 

“I think (students’ success) has more to do with what they’ve been doing (in the past to stay organized),” Ruscica said.

However, Ruscica added that he thinks an “inherent bonding” occurs when people face challenges together.

“(Band has) given me a family, a group of people that share interests and passions,” Danielson said, “(and there are people I can) connect with and bounce off of.”