Many times, the first experience a person has with musical instruments is through the band or orchestra program in school. From woodwinds to percussion, these programs expose students to the different types of instruments that have impacted music for centuries, and can lead to a life-long love of music in all its forms.
Marching band is one of the most visible representations of the music instruction available in schools. Usually thought of as a half-time football act, parade entertainment or an inspiration from the bleachers, these players have their own playbooks and equipment that can rival even the toughest football game on the field. Members of the marching band must know the instrument they play, the songs, and maneuver on the field and into the bleachers without missing a note or a beat. Marching band instruments must be portable, held in the hands or strapped to the body of the player. Large instruments like the tuba or bass drum provide a meaty backdrop for woodwinds like the flute and clarinet. Other brass instruments like the saxophone and French horn level out the high and low tones and the entire experience can come together with the crash of marching band and orchestra cymbals.
A special part of a marching band is its drum line, which is typically equipped with bass drums, snares, tom tom drums and crash cymbals. The drum line may help excite the crowd with complex rhythms, dynamic “call and response” shows or through the representation of the heart of the marching band. Drum lines are considered a historical nod to the presence of drums during wartimes to help rally troops, form ranks or implement other methods of attack.
From marching band crash cymbals to trumpets or flutes, the marching band not only brings music to sporting events, parades and other celebrations, but is a reminder of the power of music as it challenges, motivates and inspires.