Why Marching Band?

Marching band offers a unique combination of benefits and fulfillment. Acceptance, commitment, friendship, performance, musicianship, entertainment, pride, leadership, challenges, discipline, camaraderie, and being a part of a legacy and tradition that goes back 80+ years are just some of the reasons to join Marching Band.  

Why must a student participate in Marching Band?

Students must participate in the Marching Band during their first year in the program. This is a required part of band because of the knowledge and experience students gain in the marching band. As a member of the marching band, students coordinate rhythm with music, which is vital to a musician’s development. Memorization of music improves the ability level of the student. There is no shortcut to memorization – it takes repetition. Repetition improves facility. The improved facility makes for better musicians.

Marching Band is required for the first year only. After a student has completed a year of marching band, they do not need to repeat that portion of the course. After the first year, students participate in marching band because they want to. We have very, very few students who choose to drop the marching portion after their first year.

How do I join Marching Band?

Membership in the band program is open to any student demonstrating intermediate proficiency on a wind or percussion instrument. Students in the band program sign up for Band when they are registering for their other classes. Participation in Band is a full year commitment and students are automatically placed into Marching Band for the beginning of the school year. In addition, band students must submit a separate registration form and fees due in the spring prior to joining Band.

What are the fees associated with Band?

The participation fee for Band is set every year and runs between $400 and $500 depending on Band Camp location and other factors. The fee includes Band Camp, spreads, after-party meals, banquet, uniform fee, clinician fees, and a t-shirt. Band Bowl or Disney trips occur every other year and fees for the trip are announced well in advance. Bowl trip participation is optional. Band yard signs are also available for a fee, if desired.

How do I get a Marching Band uniform?  Are there any fees for the uniform? What do I wear for concerts?

Every Marching Band member is issued a uniform for use throughout the marching season. Students are fitted for their uniforms during the summer. A uniform fee is included in the Band registration fee. In addition, members are asked to purchase additional accessories for a nominal fee. Some accessories can be used over multiple years. Each member must purchase a Summer Uniform shirt and shorts, which may also be used over multiple years. Students also must acquire the attire for Concert or Symphonic Band performances.

For more information, see Uniforms and Concert Attire.

How can I be in Marching Band if I don’t play a marching instrument, such as bassoon?

There are several instruments that do not march. Students who play those instruments should consult the director for suggestions on which instruments are needed most and which are the easiest instruments to switch to. Oboe players usually march flute, saxophone, or tuba. Bassoonists usually march alto or tenor saxophone or tuba.

What summer events are part of Marching Band?

The Upper Arlington Marching Band marches in the UA 4th of July parade and usually performs at the Labor Day Arts Festival in Northam Park. Marching Band conducts rehearsals for the 4th of July Parade in the week leading up to the parade. Band families (new and returning) are invited to the annual Parade Preview prior to the 4th of July parade. Band Camp is held in early August at the High School. Uniform fittings are also scheduled in the summer.

What is the Marching Band season like?

The fall Marching band season (August to November) officially begins with the start of school and football season. Most days will start at UAHS on the field at 7:30 am for practice and the band will run through 1st period. Football games will have a pregame show by the band, a halftime show, and a third quarter show on the sidelines by smaller groups. Another third quarter tradition is that the students host the band from the away team for cookies. For away games, the students are transported by bus. The sections often will get dinner together before the buses depart. There are no spreads before away games or after parties after away games.

Is Band Camp mandatory?

Band Camp is critical for new and returning students to prepare music and marching routines for the start of the marching season. It also forms and strengthens relationships among the band members thus coalescing as a band. Every effort should be made to attend camp as it is a priority not only for the directors but the students as well.

What is the cost of Band Camp?

Every effort is made to make Band Camp affordable and enjoyable for all students. Fees are announced at the end of the school year and are typically around $400-500 per student. The fee covers not only Band Camp, but spreads, after-party meals, banquet, uniform fee, clinician fees, and a t-shirt. Scholarships may be available for students with demonstrated need.

What is the difference between Gold band, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Bands?

Auditions are conducted at the end of Marching Band season to determine band placement. Based on the audition, students are placed in either Symphonic, Concert, or Gold Band. Symphonic Band is the highest level of high school band and performs more challenging music.  

Students have the option of participating in the Jazz Bands. Jazz Bands meets 2-3 times per week from 7:15–8:00 am beginning after the conclusion of Marching Band and receives 0.5 credit. Jazz Bands consists of two groups:  Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab.  Membership in Jazz Ensemble is open, by audition or recommendation of the director, to musicians on the following instruments: trumpet, saxophone, trombone, guitar, bass, percussion, and keyboard. Membership in Jazz Lab is open to students who are members in good standing of 1st-period band. Auditions for the rhythm section of Jazz Lab occur during late October or early November.

For more information, see the Band Descriptions.

How do auditions work?

Auditions are not held for Marching Band. All students who have the ability to play an instrument and the desire and commitment to participate in Marching Band are accepted. Placement in Symphonic, Concert, or Gold band is done through auditions. All band students participate in these auditions. Music for the audition is made available to the students at the end of marching season. Auditions are conducted during the normal 1st-period band class and are done by section. Results from the audition are posted upon completion of all auditions. Jazz Ensemble auditions are conducted for students interested in that program.

What homework is required?

Band homework is called practice. The more a student practices, the better they get. Students should practice 30 minutes at least five days a week.

Is it hard to maintain a good grade in Band?

The simple answer to this question is no. There should be no problem with a student’s grade if they are aware of the following:

  • Students begin each rehearsal with two points. Points are deducted for unexcused absences, tardiness, not having the proper materials for a rehearsal (pencil, instrument, music, etc.), or not exhibiting proper rehearsal behavior. This portion of the total quarter grade is 30%.
  • Another 30% is based on music playing checks. The grade is based on memorization during marching band and the quality of playing during concert season. Students earn ten points for music passed on the due date; seven points for music passed one day late; five points for music passed two days late.
  • The remaining 40% is earned for concert attendance.

What if I don’t play that well?

The UA Band has a place for anyone who commits to being part of an excellent organization. Obviously, you must know how to play an instrument, but don’t accept that you’re “not good enough.” Many students make tremendous strides during their high school years. We’ll work with you as you learn to become a stronger player. There are options if you find the music too hard. We can simplify and teach you tricks to make it work.

Do I need to take private lessons?

Private lessons with a quality instructor provide a tremendous benefit to increasing a student’s knowledge and musicality. A list of private teachers is available from the Band Director. However, it is not a requirement to have private lessons to be successful in Band.

How can I fulfill my other academic requirements so that I can graduate and take Band?

Upper Arlington High School is committed to providing a superior and innovative education. Students are able to schedule all their required courses and additional electives and be in Band all four years. Successful completion of one year in the Band program satisfies the Arts requirement for graduation. Participating in Marching Band for two full seasons entitles the student to receive the PE Credit exemption.  Participation in the Jazz Program earns the student .5 credit each year.

Is it true that students may use participation in Marching Band toward the waiver for PE?

Yes. Participating in Marching Band for two full seasons entitles the student to receive the PE Credit exemption. Students are required to complete and submit the PE Credit waiver form.

How much time does band take?

The UA Band meets during 1st period every day. During football season, Marching Band begins at 7:30. Outside the school day, the only scheduled times are on the Football Friday afternoons and evenings. There is the occasional other performances. Two concerts are scheduled for Concert and Symphonic Bands, and members are required to participate. Other performances, such as the 4th of July Parade, Labor Day Arts Festival, Middle school previews and more are not required but are highly encouraged. Social activities, such as Game Day After-Parties, Marching Band Banquet, Bowl Trips, Pep Band and Parade Preview are fun events open to all members, but are not required.

Can I be in other activities and be in the band?

Of course! Many band students participate in other activities at the high school from choir to sports to debate to honor societies. The directors encourage students to explore their interests and are willing to work with them to resolve any conflicts brought to their attention.

How do the older students treat the Freshman?

The Upperclassmen in the band program see themselves as leaders and mentors for freshmen. They have been through what the Freshmen go through, and they are there to help and show them the ropes. You will find the older students to be bright and helpful. Freshman hazing and initiations are not a part of the UA Band. Such actions are against policy and are not tolerated.

If I don’t sign up for band as a Freshman, can I join as an Upperclassman?

We encourage students to join their Freshmen year. Most students who join as Freshman stay all four years. If a student does not participate during their Freshmen year, they will miss an entire year of musical ensemble development. We will allow students to participate if they miss their Freshman year in band, but it is not ideal for the student.

What do the Band Boosters do?

Band Boosters is the name we give to all parents of band members. They are instrumental in the financial and material support of all the band programs. Boosters are responsible for many of the activities enjoyed by the band, including the spreads, after parties, 3rd quarter cookies, band banquet, parade preview, bus chaperones, fundraising and more. Meetings are held monthly, September through June, and all band parents are welcome and encouraged to attend and be involved.

UAHS Band Program