Bowl Week occurs at an incredibly exciting time in students’ lives–it kicks off their final semester of high school, just months before they move on to their individual post-graduation endeavors.
I was able to catch up with 2014 Drum Major Blake Morgan to talk about his college experience thus far. He is currently a freshman at Brigham Young University where he continues his musical pursuits: he is Bass Drum three on the Drumline of the Cougar Marching Band, a member of the BYU Percussion Studio, a member of the BYU Panoramic Steel Ensemble, and a percussionist in the BYU Philharmonic Orchestra.
Blake says he has developed a fairly simple routine; he attends his classes Monday-Friday mornings, commits about two hours to practicing, then returns to his dorm to relax, do homework, and socialize. Although he claims his college experience has been pretty uneventful so far, he says, “I try to live my life by the idea that once I leave campus, I don’t need to go back.”
When asked what advice he would give a high school musician, Blake discusses the importance of practicing. “Practice,” he emphasizes, “Practice on your own time, outside of rehearsal and lessons. Practice six days a week, and take one day off to rest your brain.” He stresses the importance of setting goals to work towards throughout the week.
He also advises: “Don’t psych yourself out when you practice. Ignore that voice in your head that says, ‘I’ll never be able to get this,’ and keep practicing. The first day you won’t get it, the second day you won’t get it, even by the third day you may not get it, but by the fourth day, if you’ve been working hard, it will start to come.” He says that the musicians who have successful auditions and get gigs are those who put in the extra ten percent.
This strong work ethic and ambitious attitude was certainly impacted by Blake’s involvement in the USAAAMB. He explains, “The biggest lesson I took from Bowl Week was that with skills, dedication, hard work, focus, and a desire/passion to succeed, a lot can be accomplished.” Despite the long, cold days last year’s band endured, the group was able to work hard, maintain focus, and succeed in learning the show.
As Blake recalls, “We put in the effort and didn’t let anything distract us from our main goal: putting on an All-American performance.”
Blake appreciates having this consequent community of All-Americans because they are likewise in the midst of the first-year college experience and can rely on each other for support. While All-Americans are playing, studying, and learning at universities nationwide, they remain connected by this one short but intense week in San Antonio.