And you don’t even need to be a music major!

In high school athletics, the common assumption is that only the athletes in competition get scholarships and the band is simply there to support the team and show school spirit. However, just as college coaches seek out top talent for their teams, many colleges offer marching band scholarships to attract the same level of elite musical talent. The process may be different, but if you want to participate in a college marching band, read on to see how you can turn your marching band talent into a college scholarship.

Start Early

From an experience standpoint, performing with your school’s marching band all through high school is hugely important. Talent recruiters are always looking for experienced performers and, even if you aren’t spotted by scouts, participating in your high school band as much as possible will demonstrate to college band and scholarship committees your commitment to marching band.

Find Colleges That Interest You

While marching band might help pay for it, the ultimate goal is to earn a college degree. That’s why it’s important that you consider schools that interest you for more than just the marching band. Start by considering schools that offer majors in the area or areas that you’re interested in pursuing. Then, consider the size of the school, the location, the climate, and even the feel of the campus. To save time and effort, investigate whether a given school offers marching band scholarships once you’ve narrowed down a list of colleges that you want to attend. And, ultimately, ask yourself if a given school is where you’d want to be even if you weren’t in the marching band.

Go To Band Camp

If you want to improve, raise your profile as a marching band performer, or simply get a feel for a particular school’s band, a summer training or band camp is a great opportunity. Most colleges offer some form of summer band camp, and the majority of those camps will help you improve as a performer while also allowing you to see that school’s marching band preferred style, cadences, and movements. In addition, college band camps give you an opportunity to interact with current band members as well as band directors. And that can help you raise your profile with a band and its directors even more. This will be helpful when you…

Make Your Desire For A Band Scholarship Known

Reach out to marching band directors and school admissions officials to indicate your interest in applying for any available band scholarships. Then, make sure to complete any required application forms or paperwork ahead of any deadlines or auditions. If a school doesn’t offer band scholarships, look into band-related grants, awards, or work-study programs.

Ace Your Audition

The key to earning most marching band scholarships is to actually be admitted to the school and, once you’re admitted, to make the band. That means you’ll not only need to nail your audition for the judges to make the band, but you may also have to audition separately for the scholarship. In addition to the audition, pay attention to the intangibles, such as spirit, leadership, character, community involvement, and academics, that can make you more attractive to a college marching band, and a school’s admissions office.

Consider Everything

While it can seem to be time-consuming, the hours you spend in marching band while in college will be just a fraction of your college experience. And if you’ve set your mind on attending a particular school, don’t let the lack of a marching band scholarship deter you. Consider academic or merit-based scholarships, grants, or loans. Remember that, in most cases, you don’t have to be a music major to earn a band scholarship or even to audition. Finally, just remember that even if you don’t land a marching band scholarship, you can still apply for other scholarships and you can still audition for the band. Just keep your focus on the big picture so that, whenever you’re ready to march into your next chapter, you’ll do so with a college degree and a great college experience in hand.

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