March 2019

Mix, Match, March!

Having evolved over centuries, marching ensembles offer more roles to play than ever—here’s a primer on the diverse instruments, groups and styles.

National Standards: 7, 9

Prepare: Have the class read 2019 Best Music Schools: A Guiding Hand (page 2 of the student edition). The article dives into  all the ways in which admissions consultants are here to help.

Key points in the article:

  • The term “marching band” only scratches the surface when it comes to marching groups and styles
  • Ensembles like Drum Corps International (DCI) and Winter Guard International (WGI) look for experienced players, but trying out can be a learning experience for newcomers
  • The “drum major” acts as a conductor and leader in many forms of marching music
  • You don’t have to play an instrument to be involved in marching –someone with no musical experience can audition for the color guard
  • The roots of marching music date all the way back to 200 BC

Review these vocabulary words:

  • COHESION – the action or fact of forming a united whole
  • HIERARCHY – an arrangement or classification of things according to relative importance
  • REGIMENTED – very strictly organized or controlled
  • UNCONVENTIONAL – not based on or conforming to what is generally done or believed
  • BORE – the hollow part inside a tube
  • JANISSARIES – members of the Turkish infantry (soldiers)

To get the latest updates on DCI, visit

To get the latest updates on WGI, visit