Marching Band Myth Busters: Why I Can’t Be In Marching Band

By John Gardner

For a writing prompt exercise, I asked a class of non-marching freshmen …

Why are you NOT in Marching Band?

Myth BustersI blended the variations of their responses into these common threads — and used them to create a recruiting tool I called “Myth Busters”.

I am not in marching band because…

…marching band is expensive. Band doesn’t have to cost you a nickel. All make a “fair share” contribution, but many earn all of that through our fundraising projects.

…I am in sports. We can work with most sports schedules. We rehearse during school, after school two days and one evening. We can be flexible with the after school sports and will ask the same of your coaches.

…I have sports events on Saturdays. We normally compete in late afternoon or evening and most of our Saturday morning parades are prior to sports events starting.

…I have/need a job. Employers highly value band students and will work around our schedule when you give them notice. Many band members have jobs. We try to promote and encourage businesses by posting a “Band Friendly” list of supporters on our website. We identify and compliment those employers who work around your schedule and regularly encourage our patrons to support that business. So…. hiring you becomes some free focused advertising.

“You’ll be working for the next 40 years. Use your time in high school to get as many life experiences as possible.” – a band director who spent 40 years working with teens

…I don’t know how to march. Good, because we want to teach you our way. There are very, very few people who CAN’T march. And in that case, there is our sideline ensemble. If you listen to music and feel the beat, you can march.

…I don’t know how to memorize music. Yes you do. You sing along with music all the time. We will TEACH you how – and it is a valuable skill you’ll utilize in other areas.

Additional Band FACTS:

Employers, Scholarship Committees and Admissions counselors highly value students in Marching band because they know those students have made extra commitments, know how to manage time and have learned valuable life-skills and lessons.

  • Get in free to Basketball and Football games.
  • We offer: Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Pep Band, Music Theory, Music Appreciation, Guitar Class, Percussion Class and more… Join us!
  • Science has proven that music makes you smarter – and the proof is in the band.
  • Your directors write amazing’ reference letters for marching band seniors to use as they search for jobs, scholarships and college admission.
  • We allow 8th graders in our marching band.

Band Freshmen already have 100 friends on the first day of high school….and upperclass members, including SENIORS, take care of “newbies”. No where else in the school will you get to interact and befriend Juniors and Seniors the way you will in marching band. Nowhere.

Additional Marching Band BENEFITS…..

You will learn…

Time Management. Marching band requires you to be efficient … a valuable skill to learn.

Chain of Command. Marching band isn’t military, but we do have section leaders, drum majors, and other areas of authority and accountability, and learning to work in that environment prepares you for after high school better than almost any other high school activity.

Leadership. We offer lots of opportunities to develop leadership and people skills.

Band is Family

17 yrs experience as a high school band director. 14 yrs as college adjunct faculty. 30+ yrs in the fundraising industry and 24 yrs as a small business owner. (Don't add all those up.). Experience in both the fundraising sales and education worlds give me a unique combination of perspectives in both. I love working with the youthful enthusiasm of today's teenage achievers and with those who work with them. Also 4yrs as proprietor of, which offers a wide variety of virtual services including web/blog design/hosting/managing, social media management (scheduling posts/tweets for maximum impact and brand enhancement) and small business consulting - specializing in school product fundraising.

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3 comments on “Marching Band Myth Busters: Why I Can’t Be In Marching Band
  1. I absolutely love this. My 8th grade daughter marched with her future high school this past fall, and she loved it! She is even trying out (next week) for Assistant Drum Major for next season! She considered trying out for section leader, too, but some of her 8th grade activities are in conflict with the tryout dates for that, so maybe next year!

  2. Thanks for the compliment. For an 8th grader to try out for section leader is ambitious. She must be good. I would suggest mentioning the conflict to the director. But also, I know in my band the section leader has to be in a position to instruct/correct the others in the section — and that could potentially be difficult for a freshman to do with a senior. We experimented with including some 8th graders a few years ago and have experienced 100% retention for all 5 years. Originally we were concerned about burn-out, but we were wrong. I have a lot of marching band articles on this blog….. Hope you find and enjoy some more. -John

  3. She is very good. She has been first trumpet since 6th grade. She began with the local community band shortly after she began 7th grade. She was 1st trumpet (3rd chair) her first year at Carson Newman Summer Music Camp last summer and is being bumped up to their senior band a year early for the 2016 Summer Camp. Although her elementary school doesn’t have official section leaders, she does work with the other trumpet players like a section leader, so I do see your point. She has decided not try for section leader until the next season, but she is still trying for assistant drum major. Thanks for your input! 🙂

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