Marching Band Discussion

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

  1. brassplayer

    brassplayer Pianissimo User

    May 6, 2009
    San Gabriel, CA
    I have to disagree with such a blanket statement.

    Marching Band is like anything else in life. It's not for everybody. On the other hand, it can be a great experience. You get out of it what you put into it.

    As for me, I did four years of High School marching band followed by four years of college marching band. I know I'm probably never going to be performing with the L.A. Phil, but I enjoy playing my trumpet and I'm grateful for all the experiences marching band has given me. Not only did I have numerous opportunities to play and perform, but being in the marching band also taught me how to conduct, arrange, compose, and lead a musical ensemble.

    Marching Band worked for me. It doesn't work for everyone. Simple as that.
  2. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 16, 2007
    Chesapeake, VA
    Thank You. It seems to me there is a lot of negativity toward marching band on this site. I work with a school that doesn't make marching mandatory... I'm sorry that there are schools out there that do.

    Marching band is a lot of fun.... and not in the least bit harmful if you are smart about what you are doing... same as any sport. If it isn't for you... that's ok... but don't try to kill it for those of us that love it.
  3. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    You are right, there is a lot of negativity toward marching band on this site.
    That's because there are a lot of seasoned older trumpet players who post here and have good reason to believe today's high school marching bands are detrimental to the developing trumpet player.

  4. vntgbrslvr

    vntgbrslvr Piano User

    Oct 10, 2008
    Waukesha, Wisconsin
    I don't claim to be the last word on how current band stuff works these days. My kids are only in Grade school, and have been encouraged to be involved in it. Right now they both seem to really like it, but they don't march in the Grade school program these days like they did when I was a kid.

    I happen to have been involved in marching bands and can honestly say that it was an experience that was wonderful through grade and High School. It's given me lifelong friends, and experiences I'd never trade. Was it hard work? Yes...Did they push us? Absolutely!...

    I happen to believe that the time and effort invested at that time improved my playing and personal Character because they challenged us within reason, and had high expectations of us, just like with Pit Orchestra, jazz, brass choir and wind ensembles during the non marching seasons. Marching was not required....but the majority of our band participated in it.

    Everyone has choices to make. if your band program is run by an idiot (yes they are out there in all walks of life and in all professions)....Choose another way to express yourself with music. Go join a civic band etc.... There are plenty of choices out there if you make an effort to look for them.

    Life's just too short for whining. If you don't like something, go do something you do like, or change your environment to an environment that you do like. If it's important to you, you'll find a way to get where you want to go. Trying to paint all marching type bands/organizations with one broad brush just doesn't wash with me.
  5. ewetho

    ewetho Piano User

    Jun 24, 2007
    Kankakee, IL
    Wow and to think when I hit Marching Band we learned

    1. More breath control that made my concert season long passages SOO much easier.
    2. Increased range. While we pushed range, only a note or two and never past High C (that was for concert season, LOL) if you did not have a player for it Sorry new song! We also did not let freshman play 1st!!! Those who could not play over G never got those parts. If you could not play all day we did not play all four songs up there.
    3. We got to work rhythms in songs we enjoyed trying to play. Yes we drilled them and referred to them when stuck on concert stuff for stupid reasons.
    4. Got to get some dancing in! Yup we did dance line to the drum line, Conga lines in the show.
    5. Both HS Marching bands I was in were very close, so we learned to make numerous friends.
    6. We did build lots of endurance, maybe we took more breaks.

    Both of my bands we all enjoyed marching bands (except parade routes) because it was just FUN!!! Got to play songs we really enjoyed and make some NOISE!!!!

    Sure, it took away from time we could have spend running Advanced studies books and scales etc. etc. etc..... But Dang it, we had fun!

    OH and when you bumped your lip or just blew it out you still marched patters but we quit playing? Sure the band director may have asked a pointed question, but when you could you rejoined.

    Is marching band bad??? NOPE! Could you develop and learn more doing drills and what not sure but remember Band is about making Music and learning to perform. It is ONE venue and a fun one.

    If I had to account the biggest flaw in Marching Band it would be horn flat all the time no bell down stuff. This is the big problem for development. Otherwise if addressed with a conscience just good clean fun. OH first three years, Had Boner for a teacher. Maybe that helped!!!

    Just find this thread amazing I learned so much those first couple of years in Marching Band that did transfer over to Concert Band and into Honor Band and stuff that I learned there transfered back. WOW.....
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I have to agree with Gunther Schuller that the reason the United States of America has so many great brass players is because of the marching band. Think of it as a Darwin sort of thing--you get a whole bunch of brass players, and the fittest will survive. Those who don't? How else can anyone get a bunch of teenagers to wear what they consider "funny clothes" (uniforms at that!) stand in a straight line, follow instructions, and not talk the whole time during class?

    It was a fun way to meet girls, too!
  7. SpiritDCI08

    SpiritDCI08 Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Fort Campbell, KY
    Here's my views,

    As a competing high school and DCI musician, I know the differences between the two. Marching should be an activity that you can refuse to do. Like my sister, our band director wanted her to do jazz, but she kept refusing because she hates jazz. Some people hate marching band, some people enjoy it. Marching is in fact harmful to young musicians if the director is some what of an idoit. Our director well yell at me when I start playing softly or taking notes or licks down an octave. I tell her to wish in one hand and poop in the other and see which fills faster (not a good idea but she has proven to me multiple times that she is not worthy to direct). I am section leader and I try as much as I can to preach everything I have learned in Drum Corp. Marching band can actually be beneficial if applied properly. Rehearsals shouldn't be short and intense, but more relaxed and longer (I do realize that time is a factor and rehearsals cannot be as long as you'd wish it was). Warmups should be long and filled with long tones, lip slurs, space cords, articulations, some show segiments, and whatever makes the director happy. Following the warmup the band should do visual block to practice marching fundementals. This will not only make the band's visual show stronger but it will also rest the chops. Next the band should go into sections. Many directors I have meet do not believe in sections, I say that they are retarded. Sectionals will clean parts of the music show that might not be heard in ensemble playing (because the some directors seemed to distracted with the woodwinds). I believe sections should go in this order: section only, mix sections (trumpet with horns and trombones/baritones with tubas), full brass sectional, then full ensemble. After sectionals then they should march and play. The band should get water breaks every 20 minutes, to help rest and refresh the band. Proper playing technique should be inforced. If you have to strain to achieve a note then you have no business playing it (take it down an octave). Don't press the mouthpiece hard against the mouth. Stagger breath with the ensemble and practice proper breathing technique.

    All in all these are my suggestions for an superior band. From what I have seen most of the extremely good high school bands have had atleast one or more DCI tech with them. I believe if they teach marching band in a smart manner then all worries will be forgotten.

    Reminder: I am not an professional and I am not an educator. These are just my opinions.
  8. operagost

    operagost Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    Spring City, PA, USA

    Young lead players are often expected to play higher and louder than their development would warrant. All this proves is that improper teaching methods, no matter the genre, are harmful to young players.
  9. operagost

    operagost Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    Spring City, PA, USA
    Anyway, as a follow up, since all the evidence against marching band in education is entirely anecdotal: 100% of the trumpet players I know who suffered grievous injury to their playing did so while undergoing jazz instruction. There's my totally biased, wholly unscientific statement.
  10. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    As a band director I hate marching band, but to the people that fund your program, hire you, etc... marching band IS music in the schools, that thing you do called concert band or jazz band, that is just what you do to keep the kids busy until next marching season.

    I have campaigned hard in the schools I have worked to change and grow the mentality to include a broader definition of music education, I can tell you it is a good way to wear out your welcome.

    Lets cut the directors some slack, most times they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

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