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10 Top Marching Band Performance Strategies

Marching Band performances are an incredibly important part of the music education experience. Whether you are a performer, instructor, or spectator, it’s important to understand the best strategies for a great show. In this article, we’ll look at 10 top strategies for marching band performances that will help ensure a successful show. From rehearsing and preparing to performing and reflecting, these strategies will help ensure your marching band puts on a show that everyone will remember.

Performance Strategies

1. Set Clear Expectations

Directors should establish clear expectations for all band members and set high standards for their performances.

Every performance performance strategy should have a reflection element and setting clear expectations should not be an exception. The more specific your expectations are the better. If there are consequences for not meeting the expectation then these should be crystal clear. By communicating these expectations, starting on day one, everyone knows what code they are to abide to. If these expectations cannot, or will not, be followed there is a strong chance that the students will not be successful in the program.

band expectations


2. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

Rehearsals are essential for any successful marching band performance because it allows the band to practice the intricate formations and movements needed for the field show. It also helps to reinforce the skills the band needs to memorize their music and ensures that everyone is playing in a uniform style. Rehearsals also allow the band to get used to the field and the equipment they will be using. In addition it also gives the band members a chance to get to know each other and build camaraderie among the members. Finally, rehearsals are a great way for the band director to make sure the show is running smoothly and that all the band members know their parts.
Band rehearsing



3. Use Variety

Varying the pieces played during a performance is essential for ensuring the audience’s engagement and interest. By changing up the style and tempo of the music, directors can keep their audiences engaged and entertained. Audiences are able to appreciate different types of music and have a more well-rounded experience. Additionally, when pieces are varied, programs can create an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. This will help to keep the audience focused and interested in the performance, as they wait in anticipation to see what will come next.
varied music literature



4. Utilize Visuals

Visuals, such as field formations and props, can help to make a performance more engaging and entertaining by adding an extra element of suspense and drama to the show. By providing a backdrop to the action, visuals can help to create a visually stimulating experience for the audience. They can also be used to enhance the storytelling, providing the audience with a more immersive experience. Visuals can also be used to create a unique atmosphere and to punctuate the performance with moments of surprise and suspense. In short, visuals can help to make a performance more engaging and entertaining by providing a visual context for the action and creating a more involved and exciting experience for the audience.


5. Focus on Dynamics

Dynamic performances are essential for a successful performance. Dynamics provide the emotion and energy needed to captivate an audience. Dynamics create a musical story that can range from soft and subtle to intense and powerful. When dynamics are used correctly, it creates a dynamic tension that keeps the audience engaged and gives the performance that extra “edge”. Finally, dynamics can help create a more cohesive ensemble sound, allowing each musician to be heard without overpowering the others. Dynamics are a key element to any successful performance, and directors should ensure that the band members are playing with appropriate dynamics to create a musical story that will captivate the audience.


6. Focus on Balance

Balance is an essential part of any performance and is often a regularly rehearsed component in band rehearsals. When a director creates a balance between soloists, ensembles, and the band as a whole, they ensure that all elements of the band resonate with the listener. This provides a more complete and cohesive performance that is satisfying to the ears of the audience. Furthermore, a balanced musical performance allows individual sections of the band to shine and have their intended moments in the spotlight. This creates an overall dynamic and energetic performance that is sure to captivate the audience.



7. Pay Attention to Details

Taking care of logistical details are essential to any successful marching band performance because they provide the precision and uniformity that makes the performance stand out. Small details, such as spacing between marchers and the exact stride of each individual’s step and gesture, can make or break the effectiveness of the performance’s execution. Directors should also pay close attention to the small details in order to ensure that every performer is in sync and that the performance is in perfect harmony. Details also provide a visual impact to the performance, allowing the audience to fully appreciate the intricate choreography and the beauty of the marching band field show. When the details are taken seriously, the result is a powerful and captivating performance that captures the audience’s attention.
Pay attention to details



8. Utilize Technology

Technology can help to make a marching band performance more dynamic and engaging by allowing for a greater range of sounds and effects to be created. By incorporating digital instruments and sound systems, the marching band can add layers of sound and create an immersive experience for the audience. Technology can also allow for more intricate and complex arrangements to be created in drill writing software, adding an extra level of sophistication to the performance. Furthermore, technology can help to create a more unified show by allowing for intricate coordination between band members and their instruments.
Utilize technology



9. Create a Show

Creating a show-like atmosphere with visual, sound and other effects is essential to ensure that the performance is as captivating and entertaining as possible. Utilizing effects such as light, sound, and music can help to create an atmosphere that not only entices the audience, but also enhances the performance, providing an immersive experience. Lighting can also help to draw attention to certain elements of the performance, making it easier for the audience to focus on the important details of the show. By utilizing show appropriate effects can also help to set an ideal mood and atmosphere.

Create a show


10. Have Fun

A successful performance is about more than just the end result; it’s about the overall experience. Everyone involved should leave feeling excited and satisfied. A performance should be an opportunity for the band members, staff, and audience to come together and share in a unique and entertaining experience. Directors should make sure that everyone involved is having fun and enjoys themselves. This will create a positive energy in the band program and create momentum for future performances.

Have Fun



By following these 10 Strategies for a Successful Marching Band Performance, you can be sure that your show will be one that the audience won’t soon forget. From the rehearsals and preparations to the performance and reflection, these strategies will set your marching band up for a truly amazing show. So take the time to prepare and rehearse and you’ll be sure to have a great performance that you and band students will be proud of.



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