Marching Band: What to Know Before Buying Instruments

Marching bands are usually integral to sports events, as well as parades. They are frequently used in college and high school sporting events, as well as in specific competitions for marching as well as different types of celebrations and gatherings for the community. They are a crucial element of junior and senior high schools, as well as colleges across in the United States. If you’ve not experienced the joy of watching live performances it may be hard to comprehend how enjoyment marching bands provide. A great instrument for marching is one that lasts and is resilient to the elements and sometimes, harsh environments. A lot types of instruments can be utilized in the military, and they’ve served their purpose for many years. But, the other kinds of instruments used in parades are only used in recent years. It doesn’t matter if they are recent or not the instruments play a significant role in the way a marching band sound. If you’re starting the marching band, changing your gear or making a switch to a different instrument within the band, prior to when you purchase the instrument, it’s a good idea to conduct some thorough analysis of what you specifically require and what you are seeking.

What to Consider Before Buying a Marching Band Instrument

The marching band can be a source of enjoyment and fun. Whatever the occasion the marching band at full speed is an experience to behold and witnessing it live can be an exciting experience.

The Costs of a Marching Band Instrument

Consider that a high-quality marching band instrument, which will last for a long term, is likely to have more expensive cost. In general, more expensive musical instruments are generally greater quality than the ones that are less expensive and marching band instruments are no different. Even if you don’t purchase online, it is a good idea to look at prices on the internet, so you can gain a better understanding of what you can expect to be able to pay for your marching instrument. It is also important to look for a warranty that will cover the instruments. Certain instruments could also be cheaper than other models. There are some factors you’ll need to consider when you are in this situation. If you’re a parent one of the main elements that will impact your choice is knowing what instrument that your child or son might like to learn and which might be the perfect instrument for the pair. It is important to be aware that certain instruments aren’t affordable. If you’ve not done your homework, you could be surprised at how much you’ll have to pay. It doesn’t mean you should pay more money than what you are able to afford. A little bit of research can help. Marching bands can be a lot of fun, and require a lot to perform. However, to enjoy their fullest they need a lot of equipment, so that you are in a position to give the highest quality performance with the greatest comfort. If you can give a top-quality performance, it’s extremely rewarding for your child as well as your students, but it should be done with the least amount of ease.

Renting or Buying a Marching Band Instrument?

If your child is keen to learn how to play a particular instrument, you can contact them and ask them a few questions about the particular instrument and the reason they would like to try it. They might not be in the market for purchasing yet however when you ask them the right questions, it could be that they demonstrate to you how they are interested in playing this instrument. Once you’ve received an interesting and inspiring answer from them regarding a specific instrument, you may want to think about buying it instead of seeking a rental, or an instrument that is used (also feasible and less expensive). If you are in any of these situations it is important to make contact with the institution your child is a member of. Ask them whether, for instance they have funds to allow your child to utilize this instrument, or if they have an existing rental program in the event you aren’t able to purchase an instrument at once. It’s a standard practice for schools. If they don’t offer it, there are schools out there which might assist you. It is essential to inquire prior to purchasing as you do not want to be paying for something you don’t need. There is a risk of your child dropping interest and not playing the instrument. Also, ensure you’ve got a clear knowledge of the background of the instruments to discover the story of the maker. It’s not the most ideal idea to buy items that were produced in the past, or which are second-hand because, subject to the condition and condition that the instruments have, it could encounter a problem when it comes to the future.

The Size of the Instrument

The dimensions of the instrument you or your child is willing to play in the marching band may be a significant factor in terms of the expenses associated and the physical demands involved in playing the instrument. In general, instruments with larger sizes tend to be more expensive in terms of the cost of the instrument as well as their maintenance and care. Additionally, they are likely to have more demanding physical demands, and any additional equipment that helps make it more comfortable to march and playing is necessary to have.

The Case and Other Accessories Needed

Considering the number of times you will transport the instrument and the traveling that some marching bands do all through the year, the investment in a good quality case or bag that can protect well enough your instrument should be a major factor to any student player.

Also, not less important is the investment needed in some equipment and instrument accessories that can make you more comfortable while marching and playing it. Despite that adding to the costs of owning a marching band instrument, it will save your back and other parts of the body that tend to be tired and stressed out after many hours playing on the field or carrying it from one side to the other.

What Brand Manufactured it

Marching band instruments can be very costly, so, if available, it is a good idea to purchase some that do have a warranty. You should also know where they were manufactured because this may be a good indicator of quality.

Ideally, make sure that they are made by a known company. It may be easier to find information about that company online and there are many websites that allow people to do a search for this information.

Care and Maintenance Needed

Similar to any other band instrument performing in all sorts of bands, a well cared and maintained instrument will sound better and drive your costs down in the long run.

Consider periodically checkups and ask for the advice and tips of the band directors, school teachers, and more experienced fellow players on what you can do on a daily to weekly basis, that can prevent your instrument from breaking or starting to malfunction sooner than expected.

10 Essential Marching Band Instruments Every Band Needs

Marching bands are comprised of several musical instruments. Imagine the magic that is created when several sounds come together to give a unique, beautiful sound. Marching bands are rightly part of events because of the charisma and fun that they bring. Each instrument brings something to the table. In this post, we will see ten of the marching instruments that every band needs. These are divided into sections based on the type of sound that they produced.

Percussion Marching Band Instruments

These instruments are also referred to as the drumline of the marching band. It is essential because it is the sounds from these instruments that dictate the tempo for the whole band! So, which instruments are found in this section? Let’s see.

1. Snare Drum

Snares make up a group that is their own. Consider the revolutionaries of wars in the past and you will appreciate the attraction for the snare. It was initially used for military operations. The remains of snares have been found in the ancient Egypt. These are drums employed in isolation to produce isolated beats and rhythms. It is among the most frequently used drums, and it will define the beat that the band plays. The powerful, piercing sound from the snare can be distinct wherever it is heard. It is an essential and impressive instrument that is able to be used to play solo rolls. Also, it is utilized for in solos (remember the 2002 film Drumline which was directed by Charles Stone III). The snare drum has an attached chain at the bottom of the drum that increases the dynamism of the sound. Snare drums are by far the most glamorous of drums that are used in marching bands. They constitute an essential component of the marching band when it parades. The drums have the same width as what is on a typical drum set, but they are a bit deeper, which is twice as large as the snare that is typically found on a drum set. Due to this design it produces a richer sound and also projects more.

2. Tenor Drums

The tenor drum is to the Snare drum like Robin can be to Batman. They’re the sidekicks to the snare drums, and provide an additional dimension to the mix of sound. With this drum, the beat is enhanced and intensified. Tenors are also referred by the name of Quads. They usually come with a set of six or four drums that are carried and played. In most marching bands, the ensemble consists of four main drums as well as two accent drums. They are all set and hung on the body by straps. It is important to note there is a limit to the quantity of tenors in a marching group is dependent on the amount of drums for snares. If, for instance, there are three snares there will be two players who are tenor. The snare and tenor drums, as well as any other instrument used in marching bands, were designed to complement one the other.

3. Bass Drum

Although the bass drum does not provide a lot of dynamism but it’s certainly one of the most important instruments used for percussion. The bass drum used in marching bands is distinct from the drums used in a drum set and can have at least two bass drummers in the band marching. It is a big drum, which is usually secured to the body by straps for the shoulders. The straps are needed since it is almost impossible to secure oneself to the drum in an entire parade. The drum may not be struck with the same intensity as the snare or tenor drums, however this doesn’t mean that the sound doesn’t sound impressive. Utilizing the mallet’s softness it is possible for the drummer to produce the sound of a deep bass that can be heard anywhere. Similar to guitars it is possible to set the drum’s bass to the musical note. It’s important as it adds another dimension of bass and depth to the entire mix of sounds.

4. Cymbals

Cymbals are the odd sheep’ of the family of percussion. They are easy to recognize since they’re huge, circular metal plates. More distinctive than their appearance is their sound they produce. When they clash they emit an intense, high-pitched sound. They are usually found in the regular drum set however as the marching band marches, they need to be thrown together and are usually in pairs. A strong clash will produce the sound of a high pitch, but a less spirited clash will lessen the volume that the music makes.

5. Glockenspiel & Wood Blocks

It is a combination that combines two musical instruments. They are essential to any marching band, but the wooden blocks can be described as an instrument for experimentation as opposed to the glockenspiel. The glockenspiel is similar to the cymbals but instead of being the shape of a large round and being smashed together, it’s an oval shape. It is struck with the mallet of a small size, which is like the one used to hit the bass drum. The name comes from the German phrase that refers to a collection of bells’. The marching band instrument is great because its metallic structure of the instrument creates high notes. The higher notes of this instrument are like the treble clef found on the piano. Similar to that of the bass drum the glockenspiel is one of the biggest instruments and is played by the shoulder’s hardness. It’s a lot like the xylophone but rather than wooden bar the glockenspiel is constructed of steel and is set up in two sections. Wood blocks are, however look like the glockenspiel regards to design. It has an oblong shape, however it is made from wood. The sound is very experimental and gives the music a light bright and lively look.

Brass Marching Band Instruments

The instruments found in the brass section of a marching band are some of the most distinctive and attractive of all the instruments. These instruments give rich tones that vary in intensity and draw another stroke of impressiveness to the composition of the marching band.

As the name implies, these instruments are beautiful and polished and gleam especially in the glorious sunshine. Although most of them are created from brass, they are actually classified based on the type of sound produced.

Most of the sound comes from the player’s control over airflow and the shape of the lips. These instruments are also easy to modify with accessories.

1. Trumpet

Is the trumpet the most iconic instrument in this section of the marching band? Perhaps. The trumpet has been around for a long time. Records show that people of old used materials like cow horns for similar uses as the trumpet is used for today. And although it has undergone some changes in design and shape, it is still a staple of the marching band.

At first, the trumpet was used for military purposes; it is now used for more friendly endeavors. It is an excellent instrument played by blowing air through closed lips right into the trumpet’s mouthpiece. This compressed air then pushes valves which in turn create the sounds typical to the trumpet. The trumpet is a versatile instrument that cannot just play harmony but can also play a big role in the melody line.

2. Cornet and Trombone

Another set of popular instruments in the percussion section are the cornet and trombone. The cornet is the smaller sibling of the trumpet. To that end, it is also played by pushing air through closed lips into the mouthpiece. The air is then manipulated via the valves to produce different sounds. It is also a popular musical instrument in any marching band. The cornet gives a mellower tune than the trumpet, and due to the small size, it is one of the most common instruments in a marching band.

The trombone is similar to the cornet in size and also works like the trumpet. However, there are some key differences. For one, the trombone comes with a sliding pipe that is adjusted to play different types of notes, instead of the valves found in the cornet. Just like the trumpet, the trombone can play melody or harmony depending on the musical composition.

The Woodwinds

These are what add lovely variety to the marching band composition. They produce a sound that is radically different from the others in the marching band but still manages to sound exquisite. With the woodwind instruments, you can include softer melodies and jazzy undertones to the musical composition.

1. Flute and Piccolo

This is a common instrument that is used to make high-pitched tones. This instrument is widely regarded among scholars as one of the oldest manmade musical instruments. And it is clear why it was easy to stumble on. After all, some have discovered flutes made of bone that can be dated back to 80,000 years ago. It can be played along with the other instruments in the marching band or played solo.

The flute is an essential instrument that works to carry the melody of a composition.

The piccolo is very similar to a flute, with the main difference being the smaller size. It gives a higher pitch than the flute, and in fact, than most of the instruments used in a marching band. Just like a flute, it can be played solo and will enhance the vibrancy of the music composition.

2. Clarinet

This instrument has also existed for quite some time. Studies reveal that it has been around since the early 1600s, and is the offspring of the now-defunct chalumeau.

Right from the time of its introduction, it has undergone plenty of changes and modifications to end up as what we have in most marching bands today.

This instrument garnered fame because of the ability to play different musical keys on a single reed instrument. And as time passed, innovations were made to make it even more versatile and play more musical keys. The change to the standardized clarinet from the chalumeau occurred in the 1800s.

The clarinet is a reed instrument with a cylindrical design. One end of the instrument is straight while to other ends in a ball. It is quite similar to a flute but can play low tones too.

3. Saxophone

Last but certainly not least is the saxophone. It is one of the newest instruments to man and was invented by Adolphe Sax in 1846.

This instrument is to jazz music what the guitar is to country music. It is a powerful instrument that can be used to create a wide variety of sounds. Saxophones are made of brass, which is why some might consider it to be a brass instrument. However, the design makes it a woodwind instrument. It has a reeded mouthpiece and is played like other woodwind instruments.

As mentioned earlier, it is very versatile and offers a high pitch. There are types of saxophones, including the tenor saxophone, the alto sax, and the baritone sax. The tenor saxophone is distinguished by the bigger mouthpiece and the deep, bass sound. The alto saxophone is a common type of saxophone and is made to play clear, mid-level tunes.

If there is an alto saxophone in a marching band, chances are it will be, at some point, played solo. The baritone saxophone is the biggest out of the common saxophones used in marching bands. Although large and fairly bulky, this type of saxophone is still manageable. The low notes produced by this type of saxophone are usually easy to distinguish. In most cases, the baritone saxophone is used to give the music composition a low end.

The other types of saxophone include the soprano, sopranino, tenor, contrabass, and subcontrabass.


The best advice we can offer is to find out as much as possible before buying an instrument, taking into account how long you are ready to play your orchestra instrument and what efforts you are going to make to study it.

You should take into account all the factors described above, as they will be presented in most of your decisions while learning and playing your instrument for a marching band.

While this list above is by no means exhaustive, the instruments mentioned above are the most common ones that you will find in any marching band.

FAQ for Marching Band Before Buying Instruments

What is a marching band?

A marching band is a group of musicians who are typically on the field and play music while they’re marching. They usually march in formations, but they can also march in different patterns.

What is the difference between a marching band and a concert band?

A marching band is a group of musicians who play music for a parade, typically on the street or in a stadium. The musicians are usually drummers, as well as some brass and woodwind players.

A concert band is a group of musicians who play music for concerts, typically in an auditorium. They may include brass, woodwinds and percussion instruments.

What are the different types of musical instruments used in marching bands?

There are many different types of musical instruments used in marching bands. Some of the more popular instruments include the sousaphone, baritone, and the tenor saxophone.

What should you consider before buying marching band instruments?

The marching band is an important part of the school. It plays a major role in the school’s culture and the spirit of the students. They also help boost school spirit by performing at games, parades and other events.

It is important to consider a few factors before buying marching band instruments for your child or children. The most important factor is to find an instrument that is comfortable for them to play and one that they will enjoy playing for many years. It should also be an instrument that your child can play well with others in their group and it should be appropriate for their age, skill level and hand size.

Should you buy used or new marching band instruments?

Buying a used instrument is a great way to save money, but there are some risks involved.

A used instrument will not come with the warranty that a new one will, and sometimes these instruments may have been in an accident or have been poorly maintained.

A new instrument will be more expensive, but it will come with a warranty and you won’t have to worry about maintenance costs.

How much do marching band instruments cost?

The cost of marching band instruments vary depending on the type of instrument, the brand and the quality.

The most expensive instrument is a brass instrument, such as a trumpet or a trombone. These instruments can cost between $500 and $2,000.

Woodwinds are less expensive than brass instruments and their prices range from $300 to $1,000.

Percussion instruments are also cheaper than brass instruments with prices ranging from $150 to $800.

Where can I buy marching band instruments?

The best place to buy marching band instruments is a local music store. You can find one near you by doing a quick Google search.

There are many benefits of shopping at a local music store. For one, they will be able to help you with any questions or concerns that you might have about the instrument of your choice. Second, they will be able to point out any flaws that the instrument may have and offer advice on how to fix them. Lastly, these stores are usually cheaper than online stores and often offer discounts for first time customers.

What are the advantages of playing in a marching band?

Marching bands are a great way to get involved in music and have fun. They provide an opportunity to make friends with people who share the same interests and passions.

The band provides a level of community that is hard to find elsewhere, and the sense of belonging can be very rewarding.

Playing in a marching band can also be a great way to get exercise, learn discipline, and develop leadership skills.

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