Marching Band Is Needed Now More Than Ever

Marching Band Is Needed Now More Than Ever

By James Divine

Originally posted on The Music Ed Podcast


Marching band should be a part of the music program at all schools. It adds to many students lives in several ways.

The arts are often one of the first things cut when a school district is cutting their budget, but here are three reasons why marching band is needed now more than ever before.

James Divine Marching


There are no bench-warmers in marching band. What great preparation for the post-education world.

Marching Band Is a Group Activity

Students will find themselves increasingly working as a part of a team when they graduate school and start their careers. ALL members of a team must give 100% ALL the time for a team project to work.

When one person is gone from marching band, it affects the whole team. If one person quits, it affects the whole team. If one person gives less than 100%, it affects the whole team. 

Everyone participates. 

There are no bench-warmers in marching band. What great preparation for the post-education world.

Marching Band Is a Non-Digital Activity

Young people are spending more and more time in the virtual world. This isn’t inherently bad, but like anything else, it takes practice to learn how to relate and interact with people. It takes time face-to-face to develop relationships. Experts say that more than 70% of communication is non-verbal. That’s why bad news in an email is not an effective way to communicate.

Students DO have their electronic devices out at times during breaks, but most of their interactions are face-to-face with their peers and coaches. They learn how to talk to people, how to express differences of opinion, and how to hold a meeting to deal with problems and issues that arise.

Marching Band Develops Leaders

Most of what I learned as a leader came from

  1. Reading about leadership
  2. Jumping right in to a leadership position and learning on the job, and
  3. Watching what bad leaders do and doing the opposite.

Students in marching band have a chance to develop and hone leadership skills in a safe environment. Almost everyone who wants to be a section leader is given a chance to do so after being in marching band a bit. Drum majors have more authority and responsibility, but they have had a chance to prove themselves and make mistakes as section leaders.

James Divine Student

In what other endeavor do the former participants come to help voluntarily and share their experiences? EVERY ONE of my leaders who graduated came back to help at camp this year. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I didn’t ask them to; they came because of what marching band did for them as people.

What has marching band done for you?

 Listen to James’s podcast Episode 47: How to Start a Marching Band.


About the Author:

band director
Image Via James Divine’s Twitter @JamestheDivine

A NAfME member, James Divine earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College in Maine. He received his music education from the Army School of Music, graduating from the basic, intermediate, and advanced courses over a span of ten years and serving in Virginia, Japan, and Colorado. He retired from the Colorado National Guard in 2006.

He earned his teaching license from Western State College in Colorado and completed a master’s in music education at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. James believes in the value of life-long learning! He just doesn’t like standardized testing.

James is a member of the following:

– Colorado Music Educator’s Association
– Colorado Bandmaster’s Association
– Pikes Peak Jazz and Swing Society
– American School Band Directors Association
– Colorado Italian Musicmaster’s Association.

James’ life-long goal continues to be to act his shoe size, not his age. 


Biography abbreviated and reposted from The Music Ed Podcast

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