1. Surround yourselves with rivals.
"The biggest thing I’ve learned is that if you want to improve your skill, you need to be around people who are better than you at your instrument/voice. Sometimes it’s intimidating, but you really elevate your skill because you want to do better. When there isn’t anyone around you like that, you get too comfortable and start slacking." –tylerk2468
2. It's okay to not be the best.
"It’s okay to not be the best at something all the time. It’s better to be around other people who challenge you and inspire you to do your best. It taught me to be passionate about something and to pursue that passion. Now I’m an orchestra teacher and musician!" –lhami164
3. Sometimes you come up short, but that's okay.
"My four years marching with the Lafayette High School "Pride of the Bluegrass" taught me some of the most important lessons of my life. The hardest one was that you can still come up short, even if you give everything you've got. You have no control over the final outcome. The only thing you can control is how you react. Furthermore, if you're not playing for the sheer joy of it, you're doing it for the wrong reasons." –jamess36
4. Having an outlet for your anxiety is key.
"I was in color guard, and I learned how to be social and be more confident in myself. It also served as my outlet when my anxiety started building. I had chronic migraines that started before high school, so I was home sick a lot. I was able to keep my grades up and keep coming back because I had this to look forward to." –alexisg460807daf
5. The more voices, the better.
"I was in choir all throughout school, ever since it was first an option in fourth grade. My life in music has been one of my only constant loves, because when words fail, music speaks. Choir is living, breathing proof that in order to create something beautiful, you need different voices to come together and make something one voice cannot. Once people come together to make something so incredible, they will always have that shared experience and be closer for it." –samanthak464f43d9b
6. How to embrace your inner "awesomeness."
I was a band kid from sixth grade all the way through graduation, and I am still participating in band as a college student. I grew up not confident, with low self-esteem, and I never talked to people. Band changed that. It wasn't until my first year of high school when I realized that it was okay to be a little crazy, and that I was awesome for who I was. My band family accepted me for who I was and allowed me to embrace my inner awesomeness! –shastasam
7. Be. Punctual.
"Doing band in school taught me about how important it is to be early and on time! Being punctual goes a long way with employers, and it has definitely helped me out in my professional life! Also, having to get along and work with lots of different types of people has given me a very developed sense of patience and communication skills." –carcraw127
8. Do what you're told, but also...sometimes don't.
"Music education has taught me that there are times where you need to fit in and follow the leader, and there are times where you need to stand out and be the leader." –Margo McAlister
9. Everything counts.
"In all my years of band, I was told “everything counts.” And as I get older, I realized it’s not just in music, where it’s notes or rhythm, but in life too, everything counts." –akikehara
10. No matter who you are, someone's got you.
"High school marching band taught me that no matter if your ethnicity, size, or gender. We were there for each other and supported each other, and I use those skills to teach my students that no matter how rough life is, you have somebody in your corner." –mauricabbott
11. How to both be inspired and inspire others.
"The highest purpose of art is to inspire. ... Choir and band and music education impacted me so much that I’m now on the horizon of student teaching to be a choir and/or band director, so that I can go out and give students a reason to feel those emotions and to inspire themselves and others." –yogidog26
12. There are patterns in everything.
"I learned to see patterns in absolutely everything and it has made me so much more efficient and effective in every aspect of my life. So obviously I became a band director?" –ericas42
13. Finding wisdom through mistakes.
"You learn more from your mistakes than just getting it right." –bulldogbecca
14. Expression = connection.
Music is a way you can openly and vulnerably express yourself. And in expressing your honest feelings and experiences, you can resonate and connect with others who have gone through similar adversity. ❤️ –capemay99
15. To be there when it counts.
No matter what, you are important. Each ensemble is a team, but unlike a sports team, you can't be tagged in at random times throughout the performance. If you were gone, your part wouldn't be there, or your section wouldn't be as strong. If you aren't there, something is missing. You're needed and important. –shannonpi
16. Having confidence starts with you believing you have it.
"If you aren’t confident in yourself, then no one else will believe it! Your voice carries, and if there is a shadow of a doubt, everyone will know. Confidence is the key to being a good singer." –myemoni1
17. Stay positive.
My band director always spoke about “self-fulfilling prophecies.” Basically, if you convince yourself you’ll fail, then you will. He used it in the context that we have to commit to playing and have confidence, but it’s helped me keep a more positive mindset in all aspects of my life. –jrt13000
18. Family is the company you keep.
"The list goes on forever, but the biggest thing I’ve learned from being in a music program is family isn’t limited to the people who you’re related to by blood. Family is the group that supports you and your passions unconditionally. The people who meet and bond through music are the people who are bonded for life." –emilyr496cf6ca6
Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.