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The Importance of Marching Band

Marching band is an integral part of a high school student’s education, serving not only as a source of school pride at sporting events, but also as a place for students to develop their musical abilities, grow academically, and develop essential social skills that will serve them in all aspects of life. It provides an opportunity for high school students to participate in a team-oriented activity that emphasizes dedication and hard work. It teaches valuable life skills such as discipline, time management, and teamwork. Through learning how to march and play their instruments in unison, high school students develop a sense of camaraderie and respect that extends far beyond the band itself. Overall, marching band helps to foster a positive, creative, and engaging experience for all high school students. One that will create life-long memories and ultimately shape the foundation of who they are as unique individuals.

Lions Band members, dressed in blue uniforms, march through the streets of Chicago during the Lions Clubs International parade (2007)
The Lions of Michigan All-State Band marches through the streets of Chicago (2007)

By participating in marching band, high school students can develop a strong sense of discipline, teamwork, and creativity, and receive all the benefits of a quality music education in the process. Best of all, when a high school musician brings their musical skillset to the Lions of Michigan All-State Band, they receive the opportunity to travel the world and share their musical talents everywhere they go.

Marching Band Instills Discipline and Determination

Being a member of a marching band is no small feat - any marching band alumni will tell you that - but the efforts required are well worth the tough grind and dedication. It’s a challenge that requires mastering complex choreographies, learning new music on a regular basis, and developing an appreciation for the value of hard work, determination, and perseverance. Each of these attributes requires discipline and determination in order to be a successful marching band musician.

Simply put, to excel in this detail-oriented and challenging activity, every high school student must, and will, develop the discipline to consistently put forth the effort required to perform live music at the highest level possible.

Trumpet players from the Lions of Michigan All-State Band perform for a live audiance on MSU's campus in East Lansing, Michigan.
Trumpet players performing on MSU's campus (2007)

The intricate movements and rhythms displayed by a marching band, especially the ones you see at a football halftime show or in a large-scale parade, require immense attention to detail, as well as the ability to work harmoniously with their fellow band members. While marching band isn’t your stereotypical team sport (football, baseball, basketball, etc), at its core that’s exactly what it is, and just like all team sports, it requires every player to rely on the discipline and determination of the players around them in order to achieve success. If one player doesn’t practice their music, it’ll inevitably sound like every player didn’t practice either. But when each band student works equally as hard the player standing next to them, and maintains a mutual focus and desire to achieve excellence, extraordinary musical performances occur more and more frequently and ultimately make the band sound incredible.

Teamwork, Goals, and Relationships

Being part of a marching band teaches many valuable life skills, not just how to read notes on a page or proper horn position (even though that’s a given element of marching band education). One of the most important lessons is how to work together towards a common goal.

In a high school marching band, every high school musician plays a vital role in creating a successful performance. Once each student understands their role clearly, each band member must rely on the other performer’s skills and dedication to bring any given performance to life, regardless of location, venue, or audience size. Whether it’s learning new music or mastering complex formations, every student has the responsibility of ensuring that the band's performance is of the highest quality and exciting for everyone in attendance.

Simply put, “Performance Excellence” is a marching band’s common goal.

Two members of the Lions of Michigan All-State Band, dressed in their traditional blue uniforms, mingle before a live performance.
Members of the Lions of Michigan All-State Band mingle before a live performance (2007)

If we look beyond that common goal, being part of a marching band also helps students develop important social skills and form lasting relationships with their fellow band members. Participating in a group activity like marching band encourages high school students to interact with other like-minded, passionate musicians and band instructors from different walks of life and varying social circles. They learn how to communicate effectively, build meaningful bonds, and support each other through the ups and downs of rehearsals, performances, touring, and music competitions, just to offer a few examples. These skills are invaluable to all high school students as they progress into adulthood and encounter a diverse range of people, places, and experiences.

By uniting over a common goal, every high school student has the opportunity to grow musically and socially and develop the skills necessary to live a fulfilling life. Marching band isn’t just about playing music. It’s about the betterment and well-being of the talented student musicians who are coming together to create music.

Marching Band Fosters Creativity

Marching band also serves as an excellent activity for high school students to express their creativity and showcase their musical abilities. One of the most significant ways in which it fosters creativity is by allowing students to work together to develop their own marching shows. Marching band shows are not just about playing music, but rather, creating a visually stimulating performance that represents the band's precision and spirit in connection to the music. Whether the students are marching across a football field or in a parade, these principles always ring true in every live performance.

Added to this, marching band encourages students to develop their own individual musicianship, which leads to stronger instrumentation and greater musical creativity. Students are encouraged to express themselves through their instruments, to play with feeling, and to experiment with different techniques to create a sound that captures an audience’s attention. The focus on individualized musicianship ultimately translates to the overall sound of the entire marching band, making each marching band’s performance one-of-a-kind.

Lastly, marching band encourages the exploration of different musical styles and genres. By allowing high school band students to play music of varying genres, you’re giving each student the chance to broaden their musical palette. This makes students more well-rounded and experienced musicians and creates a stronger appreciation for musical culture as a whole. By exposing students to different sounds and styles, both as a player and as listeners, every band student is more likely to find deep-seated connections and admiration for the music they may have otherwise never listened to.

A full-band shot of the 2007 Lions of Michigan All-State Band performing for a live audiance outside of the John Hancock Center in downtown Chicago.
The Lions of Michigan All-State Band performance outside the John Hancock Center, downtown Chicago (2007)

Benefits of a Marching Band Education

Participation in marching band has been linked to improved academic performance too. High school students who participate in marching band have been found to have higher GPAs and better attendance rates than their peers who don’t participate in marching band. Additionally, marching band helps boost cognitive development through the improvement of memorization skills, concentration, and listening abilities.

The continual practice and repetition of playing music can help students improve their problem-solving abilities in other school subjects too. Think of it this way. Learning and playing music enhances problem-solving and critical-thinking skills through the challenge of learning and mastering complex rhythms and charts. Marching band students are consistently challenged to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to all sorts of problems, both musically and logistically. Having this skill set is highly beneficial when you apply it to activities related to other school subjects, like conducting a science experiment, understanding and solving advanced mathematic formulas and equations, developing a creative report or thesis paper for a language arts class, and even constructing sets for a school play.

A student’s ability to solve complex problems and find creative solutions will serve them well in school, and in life in general. Marching band is a fantastic outlet to help students grow their cognitive skills and vastly improve their academic performance.

Why you should join Lions Band

As you can see, the benefits of participating in marching band are vast and highly influential. Playing music with other high school students in a marching band helps to develop essential social skills, build lasting friendships, foster creativity, and help students develop advanced problem-solving skills. The Lions of Michigan All-State Band prides itself on helping high school musicians from all across the state of Michigan advance in each of these areas.

The Lions of Michigan All-State Band is a traveling marching band associated with Lions Clubs International (the world’s largest non-profit organization) and the Lions of Michigan Foundation. Our mission is to serve the world through music. We do this by traveling all over the United States and throughout the world - attending the Lions Clubs International Convention on an annual basis - and offer free live performances for communities everywhere we travel. It is our mission to serve the world through the universal language of music.

Best of all, you don’t have to be a Lions Club member to join our marching band. You simply need to be a high school musician enrolled in a high school band program and must receive a written recommendation from your high school band instructor. Once you have that, you can easily submit a video audition online through our website and we’ll take care of the rest.

If you’d like to submit an audition, you can easily do so by clicking here.

We’re not looking for the best-of-the-best musicians to fulfill our marching band’s mission, rather, we’re looking for passionate and eager students who are ready and willing to grow musically and socially. If you’re passionate about music and everything music can do to positively influence the world around you, chances are you’re exactly who we’ve been looking for.

We hope you’ll join us on our next marching band adventure.

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