What it’s like to be in a student band


Casual Trespasser performing at an outdoor venue (photo courtesy of Casual Trespasser).

Mckinley Huffman, Ellie Moran, and Katie Garrity

Last summer, the three of us first talked about starting a rock band with our friend Fiona Gallagher ’24. We were only joking about an idea that seemed impossible, but we soon realized that each of us could fill a role in a band. After finding our drummer (a junior at Riverside-Brookfield HS) from flyers that we placed throughout La Grange, our band, Casual Trespasser, became a reality. As of now, we have played multiple gigs and practice together weekly. This band has opened the doors to many new opportunities and experiences for all of us, and continues to be a fun and exciting creative outlet, especially during stressful times.


Individual practice

Mckinley (guitar) – Being in a band comes with many more time commitments and responsibilities than just practicing as a group. When we choose a new song to work on together, I usually watch a video on YouTube if available and teach myself how to play it. I memorize the song as I watch the video, and then practice playing along with it on Spotify. I have a playlist of our setlist which I use to practice before rehearsals and performances.

Ellie (vocals) – For me, practicing at home always feels a little tedious. Having to learn the melodies and lyrics by myself can be time consuming. As a band, we haven’t really expanded into writing our own music, but hopefully this will happen soon. Although it can feel overwhelming when we agree to learn multiple new songs at once, I’ve found that the individual practice really pays off when it comes time to put everything together.

Katie (bass) – I have to admit, practicing at home isn’t my strong suit. As much as I love to play around with my bass, focusing on one song and committing it to memory is a struggle. I’m usually 80% prepared at most for our weekly practice, but the majority of the songs we play have fairly simple basslines. 


Group rehearsals

Mckinley- We generally hold practice at Ellie’s house every weekend. During the summer, it was definitely harder to schedule rehearsals, since we didn’t stick to the same day every week. When we do get together as a group, it’s sometimes difficult to keep everyone on task running through songs, since we are also all friends and still want to hang out and have fun. We all make an effort to keep each other focused and get things done. Overall, practice is always something that I look forward to. 

Ellie- Coming together to practice with the band every week is always something I get excited about. Getting to catch up with my friends while also planning and practicing is something I will always enjoy. We’ve bonded over inside jokes and experiences that bring us all closer together. 

Katie- Practice every Sunday is something I genuinely look forward to. It’s an easy excuse to see my friends and get out of the house to do something that I really enjoy for a couple hours every week. It’s a great outlet for my emotions and it honestly has helped me destress before returning back to school for the week.



Mckinley- I am usually the one to book gigs and find performances for our band, and this is definitely a challenge. Since we are teenagers with only about a year of experience playing together, it can be difficult to find venues or events that are willing to take a chance on us and let us perform. I always get really nervous before performing, but I love the feeling of being on stage and seeing the results of all of our hard work. 

Ellie- When it comes to actual performances, obviously there’s a lot more pressure. When we first started performing, I would get very nervous on stage. Recently, I’ve started to channel some of the anxiety into enthusiasm and energy. Feeling confident is important as a singer. 

Katie- I. Love. Performing. Even though it’s never perfect, being able to finally show off what we’ve been working on is such an incredible feeling. It’s an out of body experience, I feel like an entirely different version of myself on stage.


Overall, student bands are important to LT because they build relationships between students outside of school. Anyone passionate about music can be in a band with others who care about the same things that they do. Our band has personally led to many positive impacts on all of our lives. It gives us a unique opportunity to express ourselves and form connections that many high schoolers do not experience. No matter where the future of this band leads, we will always recall the fond memories that we have made together through music. To view more about Casual Trespasser, you can visit our instagram @casualtrespasserband or our website, https://casualtrespasser.wixsite.com/band