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The Spark Notes for Marching Band

At high school football games across the United States, the tradition during halftime is a performance by the marching band – an ensemble of students with instruments who march in formation while performing music. But there’s a lot more to it than that. It takes hundreds of hours of student work to accomplish the 7-minute performance. For many schools, the main focus of the activity is to compete.

Did you know there are band competitions? Judges grade bands on their music, visuals, and general effect of the show. Similar to wrestling, the size of the band dictates what group you go against. Marching seasons typically go from August to late November, though some schools who take it more seriously might start in April or earlier.

To be part of a marching band is a lot of work! Music is learned first and by band camp (a week of day long band rehearsals), drill for the show is learned. The following rehearsals are spent learning and cleaning the show. Including competitions which can take all day Saturday, bands are normally busy 5 days a week.

I’m the Assistant Band Director at a local high school marching band and I wouldn’t be the first to say how silly the activity is. I also won’t be the last to say how special it is either. There are many skills and life lessons hidden under the veil that is called “Marching Band”. The verb of marching may never benefit a situation outside of itself but the discipline gained from constant repetition does. Like with sports or theater, after graduating a lot of students won’t play music as much or even at all. But the logic and mental growth will stay with them. I know I personally can’t remember the show music I played in high school, but I will always remember spending time with my friends.

If you know anyone in school, ask them if they’re involved in any sport or club because being a part of any extracurricular activity may help change them for the better.

Douglass Lang Play Expert


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