COLUMN: Marching band is not easy: Here’s why

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Ian Stobaugh, Columnist

Saturday was tough. It was the Panther Marching Band’s first game of the year, and for me it was my first college game day. I was used to playing during halftime in high school, so the days before I expected myself to be ready. I honestly didn’t expect to find it as difficult as I did. 

I marched for three years in high school. I was going to march for four, but then the pandemic hit, suspending the band during my senior year. For three years, I played the baritone. If you’re not a band kid, a marching baritone looks like a big trumpet. Holding that up 10 degrees above parallel was enough for me. Then, of course, there’s the heat or cold depending on when you’re marching and the minimal amount of water breaks. Sometimes I feel like I’m melting like the Wicked Witch of the West. After bearing through all of that, I still can’t believe that there are people who say that marching band isn’t hard. 

The only reason marching band seems easy is that we make it look easy. You don’t see the hours spent learning eight to fives, trying to stay in line, on tempo, and on the right foot. If you have never been in a band before, I wish you good luck at not only learning how to march while playing, but also memorizing the music in some cases. Even for color guard, who doesn’t play, it’s a lot harder to spin a flag or rifle than you think. Believe me, I’ve tried. I can’t even imagine doing that while marching. 

I can’t help but wonder why people who have never marched see us moving in unison, while playing, and think that it’s easy. It takes a lot of teamwork and coordination to move together, and it takes even the best groups a decent amount of time to get their showdown to perfection. It takes hours of practice, gallons of water, and lots of dedication. 

It is definitely a hard activity to do at first. After a while, you get used to it, and you start to have fun. There’ll be a time where you’ll want to quit, or where you go home from practice feeling sore and exhausted. But after you get over that bump, it feels nice to march on the field with so many people watching. You learn to love it with time. 

So, next time you see any marching band, whether that be PMB or someone else, cheer them on. Trust me, they’ll appreciate it a lot. They may not show it, since most bands have to stay uniform and can’t interact much with the audience, but it’ll make their day. Make sure to stay for halftime, and cheer the band on. It means so much when you do. 

Ian Stobaugh is a freshman German major. He can be contacted at 581-1812 or [email protected]