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Thread: do lots of schools in the USA have marching bands?

  1. #26

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    Default Re: do lots of schools in the USA have marching bands?

    Quote Originally Posted by drumstix View Post
    Australia doesn’t have much of a marching band thing going on, but my dad has mentioned to me about the marching bands in his school when he was a kid.
    Just curious. Does Oz have school athletic programs that use marching band like the USA has American football, or do you play "European" or world football (aka: soccer) down under?

    American football is what drives the marching band program here. Oh yes, there are bands in parades but, if it wasn't for football there would be a lot less emphasis on marching bands. Granted there are marching bands outside the USA but not to the extent that there are here. Almost every high school that has a football team has a band, AAAAA to D. I've seen some schools where the marching band is actually more important than the football team but it is rare.

    In the USA, the area that is most important to the marching band development is the Texas high school market. In the past (not sure about today) all the major manufacturers designed and marketed their products for that market. If it was desired there, it was made. The rest of the country followed along.

  2. #27

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    Default Re: do lots of schools in the USA have marching bands?

    Every high school here has one. There are some that are more like college bands in that they don't go to competitions, just play popular pop songs at football games. Ours would go to competitions, some out of the state and we did quite well (we were the grand champion of more than one contest).

    What happens is, for the first part of a school year (August to November) there is marching season. The rest of the year is concert season. You cannot do just one or the other (unless you quit after marching season). We also had 2 jazz bands, which were only for people interested in them, as well as smaller ensembles during concert season which went to a separate contest, and percussion actually had a concert for all of theirs.

    Marching percussion is quite a bit different. The snare drums are very deep but tuned extremely tightly to get a very cutting 'crack!', and the toms (generically called tenors, or by the number of drums trios, quads, quints, sextets) are very different-sounding as well, think up in the higher timbale / snare range. The highest tom is generally only 6" or 8" and is tuned similar in pitch to a lower rock cowbell. The bass drums come in sets of at least 3, more commonly 4-6 and are almost always played 1 per person. They are tuned melodically and the parts are written so that the entire line sounds like one person playing with many parts split between all members of the bassline. The cymbals are the same as concert crash cymbals, 2 cymbals held by straps and crashed together. However, marching cymbals often require many more playing techniques as well as visual effects and the cymbals are generally heavier so they can cut through the band.

    Most bands also have a front ensemble, or pit, which has things like marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel, timpani, tubular bells (church bells/chimes), and concert / world percussion. More recently many schools are including synthesizers, electric guitar, bass and drum set. We had synthesizer all 4 years I was there, as well as an electric guitar one year and numerous set-ups very similar to a drum set.

    The music is, at least for the higher-level competing bands, very challenging and the style of percussion writing is also much different than most drum set playing (though you could definitely add marching band stuff to your other drumming activities later, as I often do). Look up DCI if you want an idea. High school marching bands also have woodwinds, and DCI is even more challenging but this is a great place to get an idea. Check out the Bluecoats and Cavaliers, they generally seem to have the biggest variety of show ideas and great drum features.

  3. #28

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    Default Re: do lots of schools in the USA have marching bands?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zickos View Post
    Just curious. Does Oz have school athletic programs that use marching band like the USA has American football, or do you play "European" or world football (aka: soccer) down under?
    I can't speak for Australia but in New Zealand the kids usually play either soccer or rugby. Especially rugby. Neither has anything to do with marching bands. A few schools here might have a marching band, but it's unrelated to sports.
    - Zack

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