Marching Band Discussion

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gzent, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. SenorTaco

    SenorTaco New Friend

    Feb 16, 2009
    Weslaco, TX
    I'm going to assume you're VERY far away from Texas. For some reason, my director seemed to have the mindset that if you played louder and faster, it would cover up all the rest of your mistakes :shock: even in concert band (division 3's for the win! :().

    But aside from him, I can see how most directors here justify their advocacy of marching band. Football is so big in Texas that marching band is the most popular form of band in the eyes of the public, which makes marching competitions the most important competitions in the eyes of the administration because it is the biggest in the eyes of the community. That in itself means that if the bands want to keep the support of the people that are supplying their budget, they have to do whatever they can to do good in marching band, no matter the cost, which is why they won't let good players opt out of it.

    And from the students' perspectives, at least in my school, there was a lot more interest in marching band than in concert band. Most people would nearly completely lose interest after marching season ended. It's not like every student goes on to become a music major and most don't do any playing at all after high school. There were only maybe one or two each year from my school. I always just made sure that I kept myself in check when I would get tired and such. Needless to say, I didn't have a good relationship with my head director, but it was my last year, so it's all good now XD
  2. ChopsGone

    ChopsGone Forte User

    Jan 26, 2009
    Northern California
    The mention of Texas reminded me of one other reason we endured marching band - a good bit of our funding came from a cut of the gate at the football games. (Having oil refineries, etc., on the district tax rolls didn't hurt, but the extra income from football season really helped with extras.) Friday night high school football was big business back then.
  3. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008

    Well, I think it's a lot like football and wrestling. We're talking about young kids developing skills.

    Band directors, like sports coaches, are trying to get the most they can out of their kids so their group can deliver the best possible performance. I've had instructors who urge everyone to keep "improving" and to "push yourself". Where is the boundary between pushing yourself to the limit and over-doing it? THAT is the root of the issue.

    There are plenty of crappy band directors who allow kids to push themselves past the point of failure to where they get hurt. Same with football and wrestling coaches.

    The good ones help you to push yourself aggressively towards improvement, but recognize that you have to know your limitations. Just because Johnny can blow a G above high C it doesn't mean that Jimmy can. (same for Johnny who can run a 4.5 40, but Jimmy can't).

    So I'll again go back to the original post and state that I see nothing wrong with marching band. From a social, musical, leadership, and educational standpoint I think it's a fantastic activity. Fantastic. I think the problems that you're identifying are with "bad" directors...
  4. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    And bad contest judges.
    You can't tell me that the judges aren't impressed with more volume.
  5. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Lots of band directors are required by the district to have a marching band, at least for football games. Often, they are "encouraged" by the school administration or district to compete in the state competitions.

    While I'm sure some schools operate that way, I think very few students actually made to play "as high and loud as possible" for two hours a day. Usually, there is plenty of time spent listening to instructions, resetting and rehearsing parts of the show that aren't high and loud.

    Are there directors who are over the top and abusive? Sure, but it isn't the fault of marching band as an activity, it's misguided teachers. When I was in high school, our marching band place in the top 5 in the state for four years, and we also had a wind ensemble concert during marching band season. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    If I'm not mistaken, Chris Martin of the Chicago Symphony marched Drum Corp is his youth.
  6. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    If a kid's lip is shot 30 minutes into a 2 hour daily practice and he quits playing the
    director WILL give them grief. This isn't just my experience from 30 years ago, but also my kids' experience today.

    If anyone doubts what I'm saying then either you haven't been around a marching band lately or things are VERY different where you live.
  7. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
  8. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    This is true for the first trumpet in a wind ensemble or jazz band rehearsal too. I'm sorry your kids have had a bad experience, but the fault is HOW the band director does his job, not the fact that it's a marching band.

    The toughest rehearsals I've ever played, by far, were summer symphonic band rehearsals in college. Tougher than any marching band show I ever played.

  9. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    This isn't the first story I've heard about, I'm sure it won't be the last.

    Marching band IS different than concert band, jazz band and other groups for HS students. Marching band is a competition. Bigger, louder, faster wins trophies. That is the nature of today's HS marching band experience.

    Hang around with some kids in today's HS marching bands.

    I liked marching band when I was in HS, because we got to play REALLY loud and I could bury half the band. That doesn't mean it was musical or beneficial for me as a player in any way. However, even though I enjoyed it, I would have likely quit band altogether if I had to spend as many hours perfecting the same stupid routine week after week like today's competition marching bands do.

    I wanted to make music, not be a dancer or a foot soldier.

    Other guys my age who were bandroom-dwellers agree, the demands are way too high and focus is on the wrong thing.
  10. Passion

    Passion Pianissimo User

    Jun 11, 2009
    I am a senior in Highschool Marching Band right now. Some said it would make me a better player my freshman year. And marching band is like a family.

    I disagree with both. I hate marching band so much, and cant quit because then I cant do stage band. IT's not like a family at all, it's really very annoying at times. Marching band is like a cult.

    Now that im more serious and concentrating on music, I feel like marching band has held me back. My range has decreased, endurance is lowered, and my mouth is too tired most times after school to practice things that will make me better.

    I tried to quit to do the tennis team last year, but alot of people were like "Noo!" So I stayed, and regret the choice. I founded the tennis team alot more enjoyable when I was in it before to be honest.

    I think doing marching band is about the worst thing to do if you're serious about music.

    I'm so glad the season ends next week. Marching was a bad decision for me; I should've quit like all my other siblings who did marching band.

    My recommendation to under classmen is skip out on marching band and do a sport instead. Not a sports person? Then do golf. At my school you either do sport, or marching band to do Stage Band. Even if you dont like golf, it will save you from negative effects of marching band.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2009

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