Academic journal article Journal of Band Research

A Comparison of Variables in Arizona Marching Band Festival Results

Academic journal article Journal of Band Research

A Comparison of Variables in Arizona Marching Band Festival Results

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study investigated the relationships between scores at high school marching band festivals during the fall 2004 Arizona marching season and 16 contributing variables of participating bands. Directors of 115 schools that participated in such festivals were invited by electronic mail to complete a questionnaire using the internet, and 76% responded (N = 87). Using Pearson product-moment coefficients, ANOVA tests, and t tests, the variables found to have significant relationships with festival scores included marching band budget, total band-program budget, number of part-time assistant/non-certified marching staff, marching band enrollment, total band program enrollment, number of festivals attended, school enrollment, and concurrence of concert band programs. Analyses of the variables of teacher's years of experience, teacher's years at current school, number of full-time certified staff instructing the marching band, rehearsal hours per week, school geographic locale, internal program co-participation requirements, school Title I status, or director's rank of marching band priority among other band programs did not reveal any significant relationships to festival scores.

Competition has been part of the history of the American school band experience since the early national concert band contests beginning in 1923 (Moore, 1972). Competitive activity for high school marching bands experienced substantial growth in the last quarter of the 20th century, which some authors attribute to the growing popularity of competitive drum and bugle corps (Davis, 2000; Rockefeller, 1982). Rogers (1985) found that 60% of marching band directors reported pressure to compete from parents, students, and school administrators, and that 62% of schools surveyed participated in marching competitions. Factors such as adequacy of funding, school enrollment, and band size also influenced directors' decisions to compete at festivals (Sullivan, 2003). Given this decision to pursue competition by many schools, several authors and researchers recommend examining both how and why directors allocate resources towards marching band and how this allocation benefits the students' overall music education, as well as how to achieve a "successful" marching band (Dunnigan, 1998; Garrison, 1986; Rockefeller, 1982).

In a study on attitudes toward marching band contests, Rogers (1985) surveyed principals and marching band directors from 421 high schools in all 50 U.S. states. He found a significant difference in the mean annual number of marching contests attended by bands located among six geographic regions of the country, with the West attending the most contests (M = 2.75) and the Midwest attending the fewest (M = 1.00). Respondents were also asked to rate the importance of six different statements concerning the value of marching contests. Rogers found a significant but low level of correlation (r ranging between .18 and .27) between the value ratings of principals and marching band directors, with principals ranking highest the "value of marching contests in improving public relations for the school" (p. 262), and directors rating highest the value of contests to the benefit of each student's discipline, responsibility, self-esteem, and other personal benefits. Using stepwise multiple-regression, Rogers also found that the number of yearly awards earned and the size of the annual band budget explained up to 22% of the variance in band directors' value ratings.

Dawes (1989) examined relationships between marching band activity and concert contest results. He found an inverse relationship between Alabama directors' degree of educational attainment and the number of marching contests attended. Directors holding advanced degrees beyond a bachelor's degree attended fewer contests. Younger and less experienced directors achieved fewer division I ratings (highest award category) at concert competitions compared to older and more experienced directors. …

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