Marching bands are fun to watch. What’s even better is being a part of them. They are fun, exciting, and a great way to become part of something big. Marching bands may slightly differ in terms of the instruments being played. However, there are a few instruments that are always on the list. If you wish to learn about the top marching band instruments and whether there is a possibility for you to be part of one, then read ahead to learn more!
Before we get started, let’s have a look at some of the basic details of what marching bands are all about.
What is a Marching Band?
Here is a fun fact. Marching bands are actually a sport! That’s right, this is because they combine forces of physical activities and art to put on a dynamic and lively performance. It requires rigorous effort in terms of practice and is often played in competition with other marching bands. They can most commonly be seen performing at sporting events such as football and field shows. They can even perform indoors, making the marching band a versatile sport.
Top Marching Band Instruments
There are several instruments that when played together, put on a show that is encapsulating and fascinating. The instruments in a marching band come together like clockwork. Each instrument is played in a manner where it complements the other instruments. Let’s have a look at some of the top marching band instruments out there.
The trumpet is considered a staple instrument in a marching band. This makes it the most important and top marching band instrument out there. This is also because the trumpet has been around for a long and has undergone several transformations over the years. It has a mouthpiece from which the player blows air. This air then pushes the valves inside that produce sound. If you are thinking of learning how to play the trumpet, then get ready for hours of breathless practice sessions. The end result, however, is truly worth it!
The trombone is often referred to as the trumpet’s sibling. This is a mouthpiece instrument as well where the air is pushed through the mouth piece to produce a mellow sound. The trombone however is often confused with the cornet. It differs from a cornet due to its sliding pipe as opposed to the valves that are found on the cornet. Moreover, the trombone can produce a wide variety of sounds that can be high or low pitched depending on the musical composition.
The bass drum cannot go unnoticed in a marching band. This is because it is a large drum that is attached to the body via shoulder straps. A marching band can have two or more of these present for a performance. In addition, the bass drum is not hit with a powerful force. Even the slightest touch can produce a loud and dynamic sound. The bass drum can also be tuned like a guitar to produce a wide range of sounds.
Tenor drums come attached in a set of 4 or 6. They are complementary instruments that work best with the snare drum. What makes them so powerful is their rhythm. The tenor drums are carried via body straps to ensure they stay stable and elevated. Also, the tenor drums are added to the marching band based on the number of snare drums. For every three snare drums, you can find 2 tenor drums and so on.
In a marching band, there is a separate snare unit. Snare drums were initially used in military operations. Their origins have also been traced back to ancient Egypt! In addition, they can be defined as drums that are played in isolation as well due to the isolated beats and rhythms that they produce. They are also known to produce a loud and piercing sound that forms the backbone of the marching band. In terms of its structure, it is similar to a drum found on a drum set but is twice as deep. This is what helps it produce a fuller and louder sound, making it possible for the marching band to be heard from far away!
These large metal plates are something that you cannot miss out on in a marching band. Their unique sound is like the cherry on top. They are played by being clashed together by hand to produce a high or low pitched sound depending on how forceful and strong the clash is.
The saxophone is an ever present instrument in a marching band. It was invented in 1846 by Adolphe Sax, hence the name. Saxophones are the key elements that help produce jazz music. Having this as an aspect in the marching band is sure to create the desired depth. Moreover, saxophones are made of brass and have a mouth piece that makes them a woodwind instrument. Saxophones can come in a wide variety of sizes. The tenor saxophone for instance has a bigger mouthpiece and produces a deeper sound compared to the alto saxophone which works best for mid-level tunes.
The clarinet is one of the most challenging instruments played in a marching band. This is also because the sound it produces is enough to add value to the entire performance. You can consider its playability to be similar to a flute, but a lot more complicated. Be sure to spot it in the next marching band you go to see perform!
Wrapping It Up With A Bang!
So, the next time you get the chance to experience a marching band perform, be sure to keep an eye out for the top marching band instruments. In addition, if you wish to become part of a marching band and are skilled at playing any one of the instruments mentioned above, then you can get started today! All you have to do is sign up at your school or local community right away. Being a part of a marching band is a great way to make friends, further expand your music journey, and add value to your resume. If you’re someone who is shy and not sure if you’re ready to perform on stage yet, then the marching band is the icebreaker that can help you build confidence.
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Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.