Marching Arts in Schools: Why are they important?

SmartMusic isn’t just for band, orchestra and choir. It is also the perfect practice tool for the marching arts. MakeMusic employee Michael Ferry describes his experience with the marching arts and why it’s so important in schools.

I grew up playing sports year round: baseball, football, basketball, and downhill ski racing. I also started playing music at the age of three which grew into a strong passion over the years. This was a unique skill set to possess when entering high school, and based purely on scheduling, I had to choose between sports and marching band/indoor drumline. I chose the latter…why? It was the perfect opportunity for me to utilize all of my strengths at once while allowing me to also foster my love of music.

I was competitive, and my band competed on the weekends. I was athletic, and percussionists have to wear their equipment while articulating all appendages with precision. I liked discipline, and the drumline rehearsed in a regimented style that demanded perfection. I enjoyed a challenge, and we attempted harder shows with each passing year. The marching activity drew upon many of my strengths, but mostly, I just loved music.

After an inspiring high school experience, my interest in the activity grew with each passing year. As a result many doors have opened, such as:

  • Touring the country for three summers with drum and bugle corps, and win a national championship in one of those years.
  • Teaching high school drumlines to take them to regional and national competitions.
  • Learning to write music and effectively communicate creative ideas.
  • Teaching a top tier, all-age drum and bugle corps and indoor drumline.
  • Meeting my wife in drum corps.
  • Starting a marching music accessory business with acquired industry knowledge.

The marching activity has shaped my life in so many positive ways. The experiences listed above would not have been possible without the skills I learned or the people I met while playing a drum! However, I fear that one day my children won’t have the same opportunities that I once had. I encourage all parents to fight cuts in the marching arts by fundraising, or simply speaking up at a board meeting. This is an activity that kids get passionate about and something at which they want to work hard. It also imparts a valuable combination of life skills that are difficult to attain in another activity.

What would you rather have your kids do with their free time?


This post first appeared on the National Association of Music Parents blog.

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