What is the time commitment for being in the Marching Sycamores? Can I balance out my practice time with work and classes?
You are the only one who can answer that question fully; however, thousands of students have managed to do it over the history of the Marching Sycamores (and hundreds of thousands of students have managed to do it at all university marching bands across the country for many, many years). If they can do it, why can’t you? We rehearse three times a week, MWF for two hours – and there are many weeks where we take Friday off (especially if there is no home game the following day). Furthermore, this year our season ends after only five home games, on 5 November, a few weeks earlier than it usually ends. All in all, the time commitment is not monumental, and the tradeoff – entertaining thousands of fans, getting to know your Sycamore family and making friendships that will last a lifetime, and making music – are well worth the commitment.
What is the estimated cost to participate in the Marching Sycamores?
Our ensemble only requires fees to cover casual uniforms, flip folders, and any miscellaneous individual uniform needs for the season (proper marching shoes, white gloves, etc.) The average cost of participating in the Marching Sycamores is just shy of $100 for the season (and can be as low as $60).
I am a Music Education major, and I think I am going to skip out on Marching Band until my sophomore/junior year. Is this a good idea?
In a nutshell: No. Not participating in marching band your first semester on campus has several consequences that you should be aware of:
1. You will not be eligible for certain leadership positions in the Marching Sycamore (Drum Major, Section Leader, Section Captains, etc.)...ever.
2. I will not be able to, in good conscience, write you a letter of recommendation when it comes to the job search process during your senior year...you will have demonstrated to me that you lack discipline and were unable to meet the challenge of participating in an organization that will teach you quite a bit about your future profession in the music education field.
3. From a playing perspective, it is quite easy to tell the members of the concert ensembles that do not participate in ISUMS during the Fall semester, because the sound output is simply not as focused or strong as many of the members who do participate. This does not mean they are better technical players, better sight readers, or better musicians, per se...all it means is that I have heard the difference quite clearly in the past.
4. You will immediately have a huge circle of friends and peers who will help you navigate the difficulties of a first semester in college. This is an important and underrated facet of being in a group like ISUMS.
5. You will arrive on campus a week before everyone else does, and will already know where everything is.
7. It’s fun. ☺
What if I have a class conflict with marching band practice times?
This happens from time to time, and unless the conflict means you will miss substantial amounts of time, we can make it work. So don’t worry if your class runs 5-10 minutes into rehearsal time, or if you must leave 5-10 minutes early to make your next class. As long as the missed time is not excessive, we are willing to continue the tradition of working with your schedule to help you be a member in good standing.
Is previous marching experience required to participate? What if I come from a small school that didn't have an adequate marching program? How challenging will it be for me to keep up musically and marching wise with others?
The Marching Sycamores have had plenty of members who did not march in their high school band programs, and they have managed to do great things while a part of our program. Help will always be available if you feel you need it, but in the end – learning to march isn’t exactly rocket science. You will get what you put into it, and if you are willing to work hard on it, no one will be able to tell you didn’t march previously.
If I’ve never marched before what can I do to prepare for band camp?
Honestly – you can practice walking in rhythm. Pop in a set of ear buds, listen to some of your favourite music, and walk around, putting your foot down on each beat (left foot first, on beat one, right foot second, on beat two, and so forth – though this may be slightly more difficult if your favourite music is in a 3/4 meter). ☺ Most of all, don’t sweat it. We will teach you how to march. By the end of band camp, no one will be able to tell you apart from anyone else, depending on how hard you’re willing to work.
How does college marching band compare to high school? How many competitions do we perform in?
Collegiate marching bands do not typically enter competitions. The college experience is a different mindset when it comes to marching band – we see it as our job to entertain not only our fans, but also our members. The trade off is that we don’t make huge demands on your time, it doesn’t cost many hundreds of dollars to march in ISUMS, and we won’t be attending competitions every weekend. Over the years, many students who have come from high-pressure competitive programs have found that they enjoy the experience of performing simply for the sake of entertaining the crowd at our football games, instead of pleasing judges with tape recorders. However – if you live for competition, and find that to be the only way you know how to be in marching band, in all honesty you will not be well served by being in the Marching Sycamores. As a member of the ISU Marching Sycamores, students not only experience the thrill of performing in front of thousands, but they are a part of Indiana State's most active organization where friendships last a lifetime. Students say their favorite aspect of being in band is the camaraderie. At band camp, members of the band have the opportunity to become close friends even before the semester begins.
Is drill done via coordinate sheet or full drill sheets?
The short answer is both. Coordinate sheets are handed out to every member prior to learning the drill, and full drill charts are given to the leadership team. HOWEVER, you are always welcome to print out a full drill chart if you are more comfortable with that (full drill charts are made available for each show via our DropBox File Center).
Does music have to be memorized?
Some of it. Pre-game music and short cheers to be played in the stands are expected to be memorized by the first home game. However, show music and stands music can be read off sheet music in the required flip folders. Drumline members typically memorize their music, as well. All of the Pre-Game music and the Short Cheers will be made available on DropBox once we have your information – that way you can show up to Band Camp with all your music memorized and show up the older members. ☺
Do I need to use my own instrument?
No, you may rent an instrument from ISU.
How many shows do we learn?
It all depends. Typically, if we have 6 home games in our season, we will try to learn three different shows (again, this will depend on how far apart or close together they are spaced in the schedule). This season we have 5 home games, and will strive to learn 2 different shows, plus maybe a half show incorporating some new music. Generally, each show is performed for two home games before it is “retired.”
How long is the season?
The football season typically runs from early September through mid-November. Our performance responsibilities depend on how many home games there will be in any given year, plus whether or not the Sycamore football team makes the playoffs (and whether we host a playoff game). Last year our season ended 21 November. This year, our season ends 5 November (unless we make the playoffs).
When and where does the band rehearse?
The Marching Sycamores rehearse at Kennedy Field, on the corner of 8th Street and Spruce. We rehearse Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 3:10pm to 5:10pm. If a rehearsal is rained out, the Winds and Percussion meet in Rm. 159 of the Landini Center for the Performing Arts (the Rehearsal Hall), and the Guard meets at the North Gym or Tilson Auditorium. Some of these locations may be modified depending on other departmental needs.
Does the band travel?
Sometimes. We did not travel last year, but are seeking to re-start the tradition of traveling to an away game in the region.
If I'm in marching band in the fall, is it expected that I am a part of basketball band in the spring?
Not at all...we wouldn’t be able to accommodate everyone! However, the Sycamore Basketball Band is its own brand of fun, and allows you to continue playing music at a high level with your friends – while screaming your head off for our teams.
What is the class number?
All members of the Marching Sycamores must register for MUS 109 (freshman and sophomores) or MUS 409 (juniors and seniors).
Do band members get paid or get scholarships?
We are currently working on a marching band stipend thanks to the generous consideration of our University President and our University Provost. As soon as we know a structure for this, we will let you know.
What instruments are used in the marching band?
The Marching Sycamores use the following instruments: Piccolo, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet, Mellophone, Trombone, Baritone, Sousaphone, Crash Cymbals, Snare Drum, Quads/Tenor Drums, Bass Drums.
Why should I get involved in ISU marching band? High school marching band burned me out, why should I do it in college?
Whoo boy...this is a tough one to be concise on, and is probably best handled with a face to face meeting. Suffice it to say – college marching band is nothing like some of those high-pressure competitive programs that are found in abundance here in Indiana. We are here to entertain first and foremost. Our goal is to make not only the crowd happy, but ourselves as well, and we never worry about judges with tape recorders. Most students who came from high-pressure competitive programs and end up marching in the band here at ISU find it a refreshing change of pace.
Will this count for my P.E. Foundational Credit?
No, Marching band doesn’t count for PE credit or fine arts credit it counts as a free elective.
What can I work on now to be better for band camp?
You could start memorizing your Pregame music or the Short Cheers (as soon as they are available). You could also keep your “chops” in shape by practicing just a little every day. Even just ten minutes a day will keep you stronger than going weeks without playing. If you don’t have an instrument with you and you are a brass player, you could buzz on your mouthpiece. This will help keep your embouchure strong. If you are a woodwind player, you can do the time-tested traditional “air fingering” of your parts. ☺
Can I get music before band camp starts?
Yes. The Pregame Music, the Short Cheers, Show 1 Music, and many Stands Tunes will be available for you to practice well before Camp begins. Show up knowing your part, and you’ll make the complacent upper classmen jealous.
When should I expect to receive information about the marching band?
Sometime over the summer you should start receiving mailings, as long as we have your information. If you want to receive information but have not yet signed up for the class, head on over to our Contact Form and let us know – you will be added to the email distribution list.
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