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Gville80

What is Happening to Marching Bands?

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I've sat through so many football games over the years and have observed a couple of things which are puzzling to me. What has happened to the traditional marching bands? Some of the music selections made could put a stadium to sleep; traditional flag corps look like interpretative dancers now (and outfits are questionable) and when the band is in the stands, they don't seem to know or play any good "fight songs" to get the crowd going. I know this does not apply to everyone, but it just seems like a lot of bands these days are just gearing up strickly for Saturday competitions/chorus bands. I know that musicians are looking for scholarships, but can someone fill me in? :flower:

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I'll keep it simple.

 

I marched for 4 years at Powell in the late 90s. I marched at Ohio State in college. I'm a huge football fan, but I'm also a huge DCI/drum corps fan. In the past 10-15 years, many marching bands design shows in preparation for competition season. There are specific criteria that must be met when designing a competitive show. Most high school marching bands will compete in 2-4 competitions each fall. The average football fan cannot really appreciate a "good" competition show (many fans don't even realize that marching bands are in the competition business), that is probably what you are seeing from a lot of marching band programs. High school marching bands no longer exist to simply support the football team. These bands spend countless hours putting together a competition-grade show. I do agree that some of these shows can be snooze-fests, but it is still common to see a competition-worthy show keep the football crowd on their feet - it just depends on the music.

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I think that's great and all, but somewhere along the lines, the crowds on Friday night would like to enjoy hearing a great band. It's all part of the atmosphere. Showtunes every single Friday night gets a little monotonous. :popcorneater:

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This is in the same realm as the question "is marching band a sport", but I think that this is more like "which came first - the chicken or the egg?" The "modern" marching band has only been around since 1907, but music has been around a lot longer than football. I believe that football and marching band go hand in hand, but there is no way to make all of the fans content. Some shows/music are just more pleasing than others. I always loved playing a show that was recognizable, yet intricate, because it kept all fans interested (not just marching band fans).

 

The solution that would be most logical (but not very reasonable) for most bands would be to learn two shows (most college bands learn 4-6 shows per year). Few high school bands choose to do a show for Friday nights and then a different show for competitions. It is an uncommon practice because it is difficult enough for high school bands to master one show alone. It would be like asking a high school football team to learn the spread offense, after spending all summer learning the wing-T.

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I marched high school, UT, and Blue Devils...and I think it's wonderful that marching bands have moved away from being the football teams traveling pep squad. marching band and always be underappreciated from those outside the marching family. competitions are the bands friday nights...football plays for the win on friday night...band plays for the win on saturday. Just so happens friday night is the bands last practice before game day!

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I think that's great and all, but somewhere along the lines, the crowds on Friday night would like to enjoy hearing a great band. It's all part of the atmosphere. Showtunes every single Friday night gets a little monotonous. :wacko:

 

I totally agree. My biggest pet peeve is bands not playing a part of the gametime atmosphere. Some bands don't play the fight song when they score, don't do cheers, and/or leave after halftime. And that music being played over the PA system?? That's another pet peeve. I know some high school bands who don't go to away games, because there is no room in the visitor stands. Instead, they could take a pep band. To a certain extent, cheerleading is in the same boat. I've seen squads that don't know what's going on and don't lead the crowd.

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Went to the state championships this past weekend at Tech and thoroughly enjoyed watching Columbia's band play - not only did they play for their crowd, but also for the vistor side. The band from Mitchell High School was extremely enjoyable to watch and listen the previous weekend as well. I was actually embarrassed to see Beech High School's band stand and play in one spot and couldn't even hear them in the stands. For a team that wins the state football championship - that's all they got?? Couldn't they have done something special for the event?

 

My next question - How may kids get scholarships playing in concert bands v. marching bands? :hungry:

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I know I'll be glad when the TSSAA gets around to passing a rule that prevents bands from playing when the football is play. Many other states have already done this as well as the NCAA.

 

I don't want to listen to some re-arrangement of the Beatles or Santana when there is action on the field.

 

I do enjoy the half time shows and also enjoy when the band plays music that supports the team on the field.

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OSUNUT, I appreciate your perspective. I think you hit some things directly on the head. I played Tenor Sax at U of Florida (yeah, I know you dont have them at OSU), and I was in the drumline (quads) at Michigan State (we both hate the same school!!)

 

I have two problems with the "competition mindset" of the High School bands these days. First and foremost, the kids are not enjoying it. The music, while challenging, is not fun. The kids get a ton of crap in their schools for being band geeks (even more so than when I was in HS) because they are not exciting. Their fellow classmates do not care about the soundtrack from harry potter. The students, and parents, are bored by the same routine every week. My daughter was freshman of the year at her highschool She was a darn fine saxophonist. But she quit after that because there were only 20 people in the band. She was tired of being treated like some kind of freak because she was in the marching band. She was tired of playing the same music day in and day out. She was just plain bored with it. And I imagine that these are a large part of why there were only 20 kids in the band.

 

The second problem I have is this: When I was in college, both at UF and MSU, we were told right from the beginning "We are here to support the football team. Without them, this marching band would not exist". Period. Yeah, we were also there to have fun. We were there to learn. there to be better people. there to compete against the bands that we saw every saturday. But we were there to support the football team.

 

When I was in HS in Lansing MI, we played a different show every home game. Different music to learn, different sets to learn (granted, i was in the drumline and we kinda just played and marched up and down the field while the rest of the band did pinwheels and arcs and crap like that, hahaha) but the point is.....we had a BLAST. We were entertaining. We were VERY VERY good. And it did not adversely affect my progress as a musician. I attended UF on a full music scholarship. I was well rounded, and I had FUN.

 

I wish we could get bands back to being "fun" again, instead of this "all business" mentality that has sunk in these days.

 

ALSO, for those who want to give me too much crap, here is more ammunition. I also played a little football in college. I stayed in shape all of those years by carrying drums around during the fall, and playing baseball the rest of the year. I was a musician. I was an athlete. And there is a difference.

 

GO GATORS

GO STATE.(MICHIGAN STATE that is!!)

 

:lol:

 

:thumb::thumb:

 

side note, MSU -v- OSU has always been one of my fav games, because I love the OSU band. have not always been a fan of their attitude....hahaha, it got them in trouble back in my days at MSU...but I love your band !!!

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I know I'll be glad when the TSSAA gets around to passing a rule that prevents bands from playing when the football is play. Many other states have already done this as well as the NCAA.

Why? That almost sounds like golf.

Shhh.... nobody make any noise. We're hunting wabbits... I mean, playing football.

 

Part of the excitement of H.S. football is the music.

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I know I'll be glad when the TSSAA gets around to passing a rule that prevents bands from playing when the football is play. Many other states have already done this as well as the NCAA.

 

I don't want to listen to some re-arrangement of the Beatles or Santana when there is action on the field.

 

I do enjoy the half time shows and also enjoy when the band plays music that supports the team on the field.

 

 

It is against the rules to play when play is in action on field..seldom called unless its called to attention of officals which they should be aware of ..5 yard penalty and possibly loss of down ,,not sure

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I would like to make a commen on how there seems to be less playing of music and more holding out notes. The ball game I attended last Friday night featured the home band playing what sounded like a group holding notes as long as they could to about six different notes while moving randomly around the field. Nothing about their performance was entertaining or enjoyable for the people who did not have a kid in the band, and I question how much enjoyment they were actually having. I can remember back about 20 years ago when bands played music. You were impressed with how well they sounded together as a unit and could be blown away by certain individuals being pulled out to perform solos. Without calling names, my home town band has gone over the edge and has finally reached the point of irrelevance. I feel sorry for the kids because I know it is caused by their longtime band director who feels it is more important to hear his own voice on a tag around PA system then to hear the members of his band. In addition, I feel this band has lost its connection with the football atmosphere as they have been known to show up during the middle of the second quarter at away games, including one that was only about fifteen miles down the road. If I am not mistaken, I would say MOST of the band members DO enjoy playing and supporting their team as well as enjoy watching them play. In addition, as a former player of a state championship football team, I enjoyed and was motivated by our band firing up the crowd. Now it just seems like some bands are fighting for attention and not there to support and BE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE GAME.

 

At one game last year, during the third quarter, I saw the band director had the band behind the stadium going through their few songs and the color guard was having their own workout. It was very distracting to those of us who bought tickets and wanted to watch the game. Again, I know that this comes from over zealous or even jealous band directors and not the students. Not sure how this can be corrected, but I really wish bands would at least work on perfecting their music more than their movement.

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