Reply To: Marching without experience

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I’m brand new to teaching marching and have had no experience. Granted, I have only taught some parade marching to my middle school students, it’s a lot for them and I both to learn. Some of the best resources I have had in teaching myself so that I could teach my students have been other band directors in my district. They have been extremely helpful. Since you are in your teacher preparation phase, it would be a great opportunity to befriend local band directors (even if you aren’t student teaching at their school) and ask to observe their bands march. Most are very willing to teach and give advice. Not to mention, getting in extra student teacher observation time is INVALUABLE. If you’re looking for more military style drill, why not find out if you know a military (preferably Army or Marine for either parade or drill) drill instructor who could let you in on what they do and exactly how they teach it. You might easily find one if your school has an ROTC program. Here is a link for the Army’s manual on drill and ceremony regulations. It details every thing you would want to know regarding that specific type of drill.

Here’s the one that the USMC uses:

A lot of what you find in both manuals can be adapted pretty easily. Keep in mind that if and when you get a job running a middle or high school band program, you’ll want to decide how you introduce marching (or continue with an already established program) carefully. I have found that my middle school students do not particularly like marching, especially not in parades. I continued with parades because my predecessor had done them and I wanted to maintain program continuity, but I think next year we’re going to scale back and maybe do only one. Remember that you’ll do a lot of learning on the job, so don’t discount yourself if you’re not quite ready when you get out into the field. You will learn SO much SO fast, it will make your head spin. If you do your best to do research and educate yourself now, you’ll be ahead of the game, but be ready to teach anything. I currently teach band, choir, and general music to students 6-8 grade. The thought of that kind of job being a possibility never even crossed my mind while I was in college. I regret that it didn’t. Moral of the story: be flexible and knowledgeable and you’ll do fine. Best of luck.

Candice Brown
Band & Choir Director
Ron Watson Middle School, Yuma, AZ