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Category : Fine Arts
Join the Band: Marching to Success
Friday , September 24 , 2021
Being a school marching band member can be one of the most rewarding experiences during your high school years. Marching bands take center stage at football games, pep rallies, and state and national competitions.
So, why should you join the marching band? Natan Simon, director of Bands at Shea Middle School and Shadow Mountain High School, breaks down the top reasons you should join.
By working together, members of the band work together to ensure that everyone is marching in the same order, whether forward, backward, or side-by-side.
Students transitioning from middle school to high school find that being part of the marching band gives them an instant sense of community, support, and friendship with their peers and students in ninth through 12th grade. Marching Band teaches many skills, but most importantly, it teaches kids to work together, setting and accomplishing goals on a tight schedule. It teaches them how to manage their time, allows them to have an artistic outlet, and instills a lifelong appreciation for music and music education.
Modern marching band field shows are very physically demanding, emphasizing dance or "body-work." The activity has evolved so much that students do much more than simply march, and it takes a great deal of cardio and core strength to perform at a high level.
It varies greatly! Some students have been playing the same instrument since fourth grade. Others just switched to a different instrument due to a need in that section of the ensemble. Some have never even held a musical instrument before.
Reading Music, Playing an Instrument, and Marching
Most marching band programs have some instructional staff, including a person who focuses on teaching students exactly how to move and how to move and play simultaneously. Many of these staff people have experience marching in college or drum and bugle corps and have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the activity.
Most school marching bands are rehearsing for three hours, twice a week in the evenings. Others meet every morning before school starts.
As for playing halftime shows, this depends on the band director and the expectations of each community. I enjoy having our band perform their field show as often as possible, so we'll be at nine out of 10 of our varsity football team's games this year. A typical field show will last anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes in length, but we will not have the entire show learned until late September/early October.
The cost varies from school to school. Still, families are typically responsible for at least the district participation fee of $100 and the semester class fee of $15, plus the cost of marching band shoes and gloves for winds players. Some marching band programs have a dedicated Band Boosters organization, and they will ask families to chip in, often calling it a "fair share," and that amount varies from $100 to much more depending on the school.
All five of our high school bands are registered to perform at contests in the Arizona Marching Band Association circuit this year. There are several contests through October and early November, culminating at the Championships on Saturday, Nov. 13, and the Grand Championships on Sunday, Nov.14.
So, if you're still deciding on whether or not to join the marching band, the answer is a resounding yes!