Academic journal article Journal of Band Research

Marching Band as a Recruiting Organization for the University: A Case Study

Academic journal article Journal of Band Research

Marching Band as a Recruiting Organization for the University: A Case Study

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine if the reputation of a particular marching band aided in the recruitment of students to the entire university. Marching band members (N=273) at a large four-year comprehensive university were surveyed in an attempt to answer this question. The survey was designed to investigate this specific question in comparison to other reasons that students might give for having chosen to attend this particular institution. Results of the volunteer survey asking the question, "Why did you choose to attend this specific university?" yielded these results: The top three reasons listed as number one were: "Reputation of a specific department" (34%), "To be a Marching _____" (20%), and "Reputation of the University" (15%). The top reason listed as number two in importance was: "To be a Marching _____" (25%). The top choices listed as number three in importance were: "To be a Marching _____" (22%), "Reputation of the University" (16%), and "Cost effectiveness" (13%). Finally, "To be a Marching _____" was the highest percentage response from across all three categories, #1, #2, and #3, at 67%. The most important finding of this report is that many students actually choose to come to a certain institution because of its marching band as was evident in this case study. Implications for music education are discussed in regard to student leadership opportunities within the organization. Further, from 5-8 students actually change their major to instrumental music education at the conclusion of their first year.

The collegiate marching band has a long history as an important organization for a university. A successful collegiate marching band can represent and vitalize the university in a variety of ways. It can be said that the earliest marching bands were the forerunners of today's symphony orchestras, concert bands, and instrumental chamber music, as well as the modern marching band (Foster, 1978). Performing almost exclusively out-of-doors, today's marching band continues the historical development of outdoor music (Shellahamer, Swearingen, and Woods, 1986). Indeed, marching bands have been used for multi-purposes throughout history. However, the earliest of marching bands had military origins. The First World War gave a tremendous impetus to bands because of high interest in the morale-boosting effect of bands playing martial and patriotic music (Shellahamer et al., 1986). Presently, within the United States, two types of related marching band activities co-exist with different purposes and styles. Under the aegis of the Drum Corps International, large groups of dedicated youngsters engage in marching and performing activities for the sole purpose of achieving excellence and competing at extraordinary high levels of marching precision and musicianship. Thousands of other students participate in and value their experience in their college and university marching band. The value of a band in developing "school spirit" or espirit de corps among its members has long been recognized (Buckton, 1929).

Although the marching band has a storied history of association with the military, it was not until the emergence of college athletics in the last quarter of the nineteenth century that the military image faded (Mork, 1984). It was the rise of a uniquely American sporting event called "football" that served to bring together the military tradition and the entertainment value of the marching band. The development of the school marching band can be directly linked with the development of football in the schools (Shellahamer et al., 1986). When this relatively new game called "football" became prominent at Notre Dame in 1887, a band was on hand and ready. Ten years later, the 1897 University of Michigan band played regularly at football games, and prior to 1904, the Northwestern band existed solely to play for athletic events (McCarrell, 1971). In 1905, Albert Austin Harding became the Director of Bands at the University of Illinois. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.