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, very
quickly, and it offers a lot of perks and benefits towards your
college career. Enrollment in the marching band gives you a $100
tuition reimbursement, allows you the ability to move in earlier
than the rest of campus, and meets your university required PE
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 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 music, 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 experience
is necessary. Hand-eye coordination is the only requirement. The
Butler University Marching Band has staff and many members who are
more than willing to help out and teach you what you need to know.
We have a very 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" Blackboard site. That link can be found
here on this web site, and if you can find it, contact the band
What can I do in the Marching Band that doesn't involve marching?
We have a pit (percussion) and front (electronics) ensemble that
performs on the front sideline. This ensemble includes guitar,
electric bass, mallet instruments, piano/synth keyboards, and
auxiliary percussion instruments. 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
Does the Marching Band ever travel with the team?
Yes, some years the band travels to one or two away
football games and, occasionally, we have a year like 2010 and 2012
when we stay home and other bands come visit us! On years we
do travel, we often have an overnight trip, using the evening time
to perform as an exhibition group for high school
competitions. These trips can, if large, require some
additional fees. In the near future, we are planning on
shorter "day" trips to close schools in the area (like ISU,
Valparaiso or Dayton) that will allow us to return to Butler the
same evening to both save money and make more frequent trips
Is Marching Band a good social experience?
Yes! 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 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 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. For marching percussion members and the color
guard, this fee covers their warm up 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
$10. This fee creates a fund to keep these instruments in good
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 at
registration in the fall. There is a $10 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 repair. We
own piccolos, clarinets, tenor and baritone saxes, trumpets,
mellophones, trombones, marching baritones and tubas. We also
provide all drums, mallet and 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
music we play in the stands.
Are there auditions?
Currently, there are no auditions to take part in the wind,
front ensemble, pit, or guard sections of the marching band. Due to
the level of interest, however, the drum line will begin
auditioning members this year. For more information, watch the
marching band website as well as your email for updates. To
facilitate this audition process, fill out the online contact
form. The band office will answer any questions you may have
about the auditions. 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 schedule to be a great asset in helping you get ready
to perform with the BUMB this fall.
What if I am physically unable to march but play and 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
wheelchair members 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 they get their PE credit too!
There are possibilities for less experienced musicians willing to
learn. The cymbal-line, for example, is also a good way to
march and learn to play an instrument, and we can teach you what
you need to know to be a part of this unique and highly visual
section of our band.
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, Section
Coordinator or Section Leaders 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 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!!
Can I join if I've never marched before?
Yes. 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 coordinator, 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.