In pipe bands there’s winning prizes and then there’s just plain “winning”. In “plain winning” I mean, winning as in feeling really (really) good about the group where you’re a member, feeling an affinity with your team, your pals; win or lose, the band just feels right. In “plain winning” you almost always feel better after having attended a practice rather than not. Like the American basketball legend, Michael Jordan, said, “winning isn’t always about championships”.
Someone once passed along an interesting definition of what makes a good friend and that’s someone who makes you feel better after having had a chin-wag, a visit. That’s a “plain winning” band, you feel better after attending a practice.
If you’re always feeling like a shitbag after every band practice, well, run screaming. Spend your time with people who raise you higher.
Regardless of whether you compete or not, it seems to me the reasons bands win – prizes or “plain winning” – is uncomplicated. These winning bands:
1. Have fun: they love what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with
2. Know how to collaborate and get along as a group of people and as a team: they don’t sweat the small stuff
3. Have leadership that listens, responds and delivers: leadership is smart, fair and sensitive with a LAF (low arsehole factor)
4. Know how to practice, they know how to rehearse: and they’re smart about doing it
5. Have an identity, both musically and professionally: it’s positive, consistent and it’s magnetic (oh, and it’s spectacular, with a tip of the hat to Seinfeld).
And because of all these things, members are committed and bands win – on or off the field, practice hall or parade route.
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