How to Join a Marching Band

High school marching band is a highly rewarding activity that requires a lot of hard work. Not only does it require musical knowledge, but it also requires a little bit of athleticism. Marching band requires you to be active, social, and hard working. Joining your school's marching band can be the greatest time of your life if you are ready for it.


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    Check to see that your school has a marching band and who the director is. The director is the person running the band. Their job is to make sure things are running smoothly and progressively. They will be the person to ask if you want to join.
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    Talk to the director about joining and playing an instrument. Marching band includes marching drum line, pit percussion, brass, and woodwinds. If you have no musical experience, but like to dance, you could consider joining colorguard also.
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    Talk to others in the marching band. Being social will help boost confidence when joining a band. Most of the time they love what they are doing and will give you a good idea of what it is like.
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    Ask the director what instruments he/she needs. If any of those appeal to you, join up! However, if one doesn't seem appealing to you, just ask to play one that you like.
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    Get private lessons before the marching season. Private lessons will help provide you with knowledge you need to proceed further into your music. They help you become a better player. Most schools will offer lessons, but if they don't, look for private lessons at a community center or ask your band director for recommendations.
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    Learn when practices are. Most bands practice over the summer (aka band camp), on Saturdays in the morning, and once or twice during the week after school - sometimes even everyday after school! You will most likely participate in marching competitions throughout the year, competing against other bands in your county, state, or even country! You might also have to be in the pep band at fall football games.
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    Pay attention during the first practice and learn the various commands and the proper marching technique. This will be a daunting task at first. Try hard and you will become decent in your first year.
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    Attend all the practices. Memorize your music and learn the marching drill. That way the band can put together the field show.
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    Always conduct yourself correctly and listen to your drum majors, directors, and section leaders. They've been around the longest and will be correct 99% of the time.
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    Try your best. People will learn to respect you even as a newcomer if they can see that you are working hard instead of complaining or being lazy, even if you aren't very good yet. Also, remember that you aren't perfect and don't expect too much of yourself. Don't be discouraged if you find it difficult, just try all the more to overcome it.
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    Have fun! Hopefully you'll make friends and perform an awesome show.
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    Make sure you have time to do marching band. You might be required to play at every Friday night football game until November, or even later, depending on your school's schedule.


  • Start memorizing your music as soon as possible. Trust me, your section can tell if you don't have it memorized when you're supposed to, and that may lower their opinion of you.
  • Don't worry! Marching bands are a relaxed and tight-knit group. Once you're in you're part of a whole new family!
  • Bring water and healthy snacks to band camp and other practices. (But don't eat or drink anything but water right before you play!) Avoid milk products before long outdoor practices in the heat, or you will get sick.
  • Prepare to lose your Friday and Saturday nights and occasional Thursdays for competitions and performances at football games.
  • Be prepared to work. In most bands there are programs designed for conditioning and endurance. While it may start off very difficult, stick to it. It will become easier with time.
  • If you're on the verge on deciding whether you want to do it or not, go ahead and try for a year. You never know, you might have a great time and become a major bandie.
  • Find out what instruments your school will lend out. Most schools lend out larger instruments like tubas and baritones for a lesser fee than music shops.
  • It will be hard work. Don't complain - if you do, it will make the whole band lose track of what they're doing.
  • If you live in a hot state, use sunscreen, especially at band camp.
  • Talk to the drum major about any problems. The drum major should be a good friend and a good leader, on and off the field.
  • Keep your uniform clean, because you might end up paying big bucks if you don't. Some schools have a system where you can bring in money and they'll handle cleaning for you (or even include cleaning fees as part of the uniform rental), but others don't. Make sure you know what you'll have to do for yourself.
  • It's going to be hard. It's going to suck when you first join, but please don't quit. I promise you it gets so much better. Don't give up. It's worth it.
  • Pay attention to the music. When the music is fast, you can tap your foot to keep tempo and track of music.


  • Don't join if you're unwilling to work hard.
  • Don't cause drama. Nothing ruins a section's time in the band like a vendetta between two or more of its members.
  • Your director can be a very mean person during practice and at competitions but they aren't always like this. Do not cross them during this time.
  • Do not talk during practice.
  • Be aware that some high schools will not let you join marching band unless you were in band in middle/junior high school.
  • If you're struggling, get help from an upperclassman that knows what he/she is doing.

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Categories: Marching Bands