How to Earn a Marching Band Scholarship

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Earning a marching band scholarship generally depends on three things: a strong track record of marching band experience from your high school, a great audition and, perhaps most importantly, finding a college or university that offers such a scholarship. Not all schools do, as different colleges place more or less emphasis on their marching band programs.

Things You'll Need

  • Application forms
  • Instrument

Earn a Marching Band Scholarship

  • Perform with your school's marching band all throughout high school. At best, you may attract the eye of an eager talent scout for a major university. If not, your commitment to your high school band will show scholarship committees you're serious about being in a marching band.

  • Apply to schools that interest you, regardless of the opportunity to earn scholarships. Your best approach might be to decide on the college of your choice and then investigate whether any marching band scholarships are available.

  • Find out if any summer training camps are offered. Most undergraduate schools have some kind of band camp, designed to familiarize you with the school's particular style, cadences and movements. This is a great way to get your foot in the door and learn about any potential scholarships.

  • Indicate to the school your desire to earn a scholarship if one is available and complete any required forms ahead of schedule. The audition for the scholarship is often the same audition for acceptance in the band. You must be a matriculating student to audition.

  • Shine for the judges in your audition. Nail your musical piece, whether it is prepared in advance or provided on the spot. Many top programs emphasize spirit and enthusiasm over musical ability. "Wow" them and you will go far.

  • Keep your eyes open for additional scholarships you may be able to earn after joining the band. Some schools offer small scholarships to all band members after their first year in the program and beyond.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even if the school you are interested in doesn't offer a marching band scholarship, be sure to inquire about any grants, awards or work study programs associated with the band. These stipends may be small and are often awarded to more senior members of the band, but you may be able to earn one as a freshman. It never hurts to ask.
  • While schools may take great pride in their bands, they often expect them to be self-supporting through fund raisers conducted by band members themselves. Thus there isn't a lot of extra money to donate to scholarships. Some of the most prestigious collegiate marching bands, such as Notre Dame's and USC's, do not offer scholarships. They do, however, often have free instruments for students to use on a borrowed basis.
  • You usually do not have to be a music major to earn a scholarship or even to audition for a school marching band. In many cases, less than 10 percent of the marching band is made up of music majors.

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