These questions and answers were developed by current members of
the marching and basketball bands.
What are the benefits of joining the Marching Band?
Marching band is a great way to make a lot of friends very
quickly, and it offers perks and benefits towards your college
career. Enrollment in the marching band gives you a $100 tuition
reimbursement and meets your university required PE (Physical Well
Being) credit. The marching season ends about 5 weeks prior to the
end of the semester, opening up time previously used for rehearsals
to study for finals while students in other PE courses are still
attending those classes. Participation in the band and guard makes
you part of a very powerful spirit organization on campus, provides
you the opportunity for leadership development and personal growth,
and instills principals that can be used throughout the entirety of
your college career.
How do I join the Marching Band?
Joining the marching band is quite simple. When you register for
your fall classes, add one of the following course numbers
depending on your year and requirement. If you are taking marching
band to receive your PE core requirement, regardless of your
current year, add the course PWB140. If you already have your PE
credit, then add course ES119 if you are a freshman or sophomore,
or course ES319 if you are junior or senior. If you have not yet
been in contact with the band office, fill out the online contact
form. The band office will answer any questions you may have
about the ensemble and will collect important instrumentation and
uniform sizing information needed to start the year off strong. The
office can be contacted via email at email@example.com or
Do I need to be a music major?
No, many students from various majors on campus join marching
band each year. These students simply enjoy performing, love the
experience, and find rehearsals a very relaxing way to get away
from their school work. In fact, the majority of the members of the
Butler University Marching Band aren't music majors.
What experience do I need to join the Flag Line?
While experience is a big plus, no prior color guard involvement
is necessary. Hand-eye coordination is the only requirement. The
Butler University Marching Band has staff and upperclass members
who are more than willing to help you out and teach you what you
need to know. We have a large range of experience in our line, from
those who have marched with drum corps and high-end competition HS
bands to new members interested in learning for the very first time
at Butler. It's a lot of fun and is a great way to make lots of
friends! To help you, instructional videos on flag
fundamentals and our fight song routines (easy!) can be found on
the "New Members" Moodle site. Here is a link to easy
step-by-step instructions on how to access that site. New Members Moodle Site.
What can I do in the Marching Band that doesn't involve marching?
We have pit percussion and front electronics ensembles that
perform on the front sideline. These ensemble include guitar,
electric bass, mallet instruments, piano/synth keyboards, and
auxiliary percussion instruments.
We are always on the lookout for a student with a dynamic
speaking voice to be the band's announcer and those students can
earn their PE credit too.
We also have internships for video and audio engineers to assist
with our live performances and to create the season DVD that we
create each year. Media Arts majors, or those with media or
audio production experience can contact the "Internships and Career
Services" office at Butler to apply for these internships.
Certainly, if you can play an instrument we want you to do so, but
if you are a non-musician with A/V skill, this is a way you too can
get involved. Check with friends and roommates to see if they
might like to intern with our band.
Is Marching Band a good social experience?
Absolutely! Marching band is a great social experience. You get
to interact with other students and closely work together as a
team. There are also band social/service organizations, such as Tau
Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi, who host events so that the band
can become closer. The marching band is a great way to make a ton
of friends outside of your dorm, major, and normal classes!
And the band often acts like a large "peer advising" group,
assisting younger members with class work and ideas as to how to
stay on track to graduation. With more than 130 people
involved in both athletic bands it is difficult to come in with a
major that an older member of the band does not already have!
Those folks can be a GREAT resource for you!
How much does it cost to be in the Marching Band?
The fee for new members is $45. For wind, percussion and front
ensemble players, this fee covers an in-stands hat, an
under-uniform shirt and a copy of the season DVD. The shirt and hat
are required for all performances and once purchased can be used
for multiple years in the band. For the color guard this fee covers
their warm-ups, uniforms, and a copy of the season DVD.
Returning members pay $10 each year to help defray the costs of
creating the DVD.
Additionally, renting instruments from Butler, including all
guard, drum line, and pit instruments, costs $20. This fee creates
a fund to keep these instruments in good repair.
Though this may seem like a bit of money, when compared the cost
of books required for other PE classes the amounts are quite
Do I need my own instrument?
School owned instruments can be rented from the marching
band. There is a $20 dollar fee to do so that can be paid at
band registration. The fee creates a fund so that allows us
to keep the instruments in good shape. We own piccolos,
clarinets, tenor and baritone saxes, trumpets, mellophones,
trombones, marching baritones and tubas. We also provide all
drums, mallet instruments, electric instruments, and
amplifiers. This instrumental rental fee is charged for all
guard, front/pit and battery percussion members as those are the
most expensive sections of the band to properly equip.
Do I need to have music memorized?
For the majority of shows, no, you don't have to have your music
memorized. Many members of the band use lyres for their music
during shows. With the amount of music we perform in a
season, there is no pressure to have it all memorized. It is
expected to have several frequently played songs, such as the War
Song, Varsity, etc. memorized. We utilize "flip books" for the 30
or so songs we play in the stands.
Are there auditions?
There are no auditions for membership in any part of the band.
We do have a simple "playing exam" at the start of the season
where we hear each member individually so we can get to know your
strengths and your suitability for different parts in multi-part
sections like trumpet and trombone. Same thing for the drumline so
we can place you on the proper instrument. To facilitate this
"playing exam" process, make sure you have filled out the online contact
form. The band office will answer any questions you may have.
The office can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Can I join if my instrument is not typically in a marching band?
If you do not play an instrument we use, then you still have a
few options. Our color guard does not require experience, so
if you are interested in adding to the visual aspect of the band,
this section may be right for you. Our front ensemble may
also provide an option for those who play instruments not usually
seen in a marching band. We have had a violinist and a
cellist play with us in the past. If your instrument can't be
marched, or placed in the front ensemble, then you might decide to
try a new instrument or switch to a secondary instrument that you
can play. There are always options. If in doubt, simply
How physically demanding are rehearsals?
A typical marching band rehearsal is not particularly strenuous
for those in relatively good physical condition. For inexperienced
marchers, special care is taken in the first week of rehearsals to
get participants accustomed to the techniques of marching. These
techniques are designed to make marching as effortless and
comfortable as possible. Appropriate footwear, comfortable
clothing, and a large water bottle are the best tools for a
physically undemanding rehearsal. Remember, this is a class
that counts for a PE credit, so some amount of physical activity on
your part is expected. You will find the Preseason Technique Training Program to be
a great asset in helping you get ready to perform with the BUMB
What if I am physically unable to march but play an instrument that is normally on the field, or can't play an instrument but want to help?
For the past couple of years, we have had a section of our band
entitled "Mobility Assistance." Their role is to move any
BUMB members who use wheelchairs around the field in the different
formations. The turf in the Butler Bowl is very conducive for
wheelchairs to move across it easily. And the best part is
that both the wheelchair member and the mobility person who assists
them earn their PE credit!
And for other opportunities see the answer to the "What can I do
without marching?" question above.
How can being in the Marching Band help a Music Education major?
Participating in Marching Band as a music education major allows
students the opportunity to develop leadership and teaching
skills. Many use their roles as Drum Major or Section Leader
to "try out" pedagogical techniques that they later utilize as
future music educators. Some music majors perform on a
secondary instrument, or march in the guard or drumline as this
adds even more tools into their educator's toolbox. As long
as you look and sound good, and can make a real contribution to the
band, you are welcome to play an instrument other than your primary
and strengthen your secondary instrument skills!!
Is it true I can attend Butler's "Snare & Tenor Drum Camp" at a reduced tuition?
Yes. This camp, featuring Bill Bachman and our own Jeff
Queen, is available with the band paying nearly half the cost of
the camp. See here for information and dates of the camp and
here is the application for the reduced tuition.
Can I join if I've never marched before?
Absolutely. In 2008 the band added a front ensemble and "pit"
where mallets, accessory percussion, electronic keyboards, and
electric and bass guitar are used in a stationary section. Also,
our marching band is like one big family, so there will always be
someone there to assist you in marching correctly, whether it be
the drum major, your section leader, or just a member of your
section. You'll always have someone there to help you when it is
needed. The band has members every year who have little or no
marching experience. Typically, they are able to quickly
learn and become very proficient members of our band.