Five Ways Marching Band Can Prepare You For College

The beginning of college is a very interesting experience, and many students aren’t prepared for a brand new set of responsibilities. It’s a big step up from high school: you’ll need to completely shift your learning style, learn how to be on time without your parents waking you up in the morning, and learn how to manage your time and money. Fortunately, those who participated in their high school’s marching band often find that the adjustment to college isn’t so tough. From getting out of your comfort zone to accepting diversity, here are five ways marching band can prepare you for college.

Working with Difficult People

A big part of being an adult is knowing how to work with difficult people. While marching band tends to be full of great people who are easy to work with, there’s always going to be someone who is best described as “difficult”. Whether you have clashing personalities or just don’t agree on a particular idea, a big part of the band experience is working through these differences and towards a common goal. This is a skill you’ll use frequently in college, especially since many teachers are keen on group projects. And, when you enter the workforce, working with others is often a requirement.

Time & Money Management

Although every school band program is different, most require students to contribute their fair share–a specific amount of money they’ll need to contribute to the program that goes towards transportation, uniforms, props, etc. Depending on the size of the program, the amount may be high enough that students will be required to fundraise and learn how to budget. These skills are sure to come in handy in college and beyond, when managing a budget and knowing how to save money are essential. Plus, balancing both school and marching band in high school will prepare you to balance your workload and, if need be, a part-time job in college.

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you started marching band as a shy introvert and ended the season with a large group of friends, this is a perfect example of coming out of your comfort zone. Many college freshman are socially unprepared for college because they’ve never had to do anything that makes them nervous or uncomfortable. To put it plainly, most people don’t naturally enjoy putting on a heavy outfit and marching around in front of a large crowd–it’s nerve wracking and uncomfortable. But, the more you do it, the more you realize it’s not that big of a big deal. The same can be said for college. Whether you’re concerned about making friends or a big presentation, it’s never as big of a deal as it seems.


There’s a reason universities love seeing extracurricular activities on your college application: it means you’re the type of person who likes to get involved. Extracurriculars boost high school graduation rates, and some believe that benefit extends to college, too. Those who participated in their high school marching band often find that becoming involved in college activities is a seamless transition. From joining a sorority chapter to transitioning into your college’s music program, being involved in high school means it’ll be easier for you to become involved in college. And, the more involved you are in your college, the more likely you are to make friends and enjoy the next four years of your life.

Accepting Diversity

One of the most beautiful things about marching band is the idea that so many people from different walks of life all come together to accomplish one goal: to make great music. When you welcome talented individuals into your band, regardless of their skin color, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background, you’ll learn to value a person’s talents and contributions over what they look or sound like. It may seem surprising, but some incoming college freshman have trouble accepting diversity, and some struggle with the concept well into their adulthood.

For even more articles related to marching band, check out How to Prepare for a Parade and Why Your Teen Should Join Marching Band.

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