Friday, May 29, 2009

Moving Up:

Stepping Into the World of Collegiate Marching Band

High school marching band offers so many amazing and diverse opportunities for students. Some groups travel across the state while others across the States and even a few oceans, but no matter how far a band travels, it never has to leave the blacktop practicing lot to foster lifelong friendships.

Okay, okay, enough saccharine digressions.


Typically, college marching bands practice a lot less than high school ones. Why? Most collegiate groups don’t compete. They perform for their fans at their home arenas and travel to maybe a couple of away games. For example, I came from a program that practiced 3 days a week, had a game on Friday, and a competition on Saturday. At UVa, we have on weeks and off weeks. On week simply means that a game will be happening at Scott Stadium that week. During on weeks, we practice Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and do a rather short warm up Saturday before the game. On off weeks, we only practice Tuesday and Thursday.


Again I look back to my hometown marching band: our fees were rather high and annual. Every year, I paid member fees, shoes costs, gloves—the lot. At UVa, they give you an instrument and have ZERO annual fees. You buy shoes (around $30) and gloves ($3), and that’s it.


I highly recommend you come watch a college marching band. Just like with college visits, if you want an idea of what something is like, you should come talk to people directly involved, living and breathing in the very environment you're interested in pursuing. We play fun, fast paced music. This year we even played Rob Thomas & Santana’s Smooth to a packed stadium of over 60,000 people. It. Was. Amazing.

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