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Compare Marching Band to Scouting

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apparently all academics is local as well. I mentioned GPA because scouts have told me the colleges they were applying to wanted to see high grades in Band if they were in band because it meant the student honored a committment. I guess it would have been better if they werent in band,then they wouldnt have to have a high grade in it but then they would be short extra-curricular activities


BTW, being Eagle was seen as a plus as well, but not at the expense of a high Band grade. Then of course the scout could have been untruthful. I can only go on what I have been told

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I once had a scout as a JASM for whom I wished that I could have tied his scout responsibilities to a grade towards his GPA (he was responsible for getting a crew ready for Philmont). He was very focused on graduating with high honors, he was very talented, but since he didnt see an immediate personal connection with the crew being prepared, he put no effort into it. He was in band, and put in significant effort there, because it did affect his GPA.

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Show me the money. If one wishes to know where the commitment lies, check the $$'s.


Better grades means more scholarship ($$).

Better grades means better jobs eventually ($$).


There's no $$'s connected to maturity, leadership, honesty, etc.


Need I go on?



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Me: HS: Trombone, rank captain, drummajor. Band was 5 days aweek in school. Our director (Mr. Laakko, Finnish) played oboe in the National Symphony on occasion. We marched, did parades, football halftimes, bball pepband, assemblies, school concerts, he even had us do concerts at the Finnish embassy. It was academic credit and to my knowledge, was not adjusted out of our gpa.

College: In my research, I found that if one wanted to play in the band, in MOST colleges, you had to be a music major. Let me out. I found a BIG school (Purdue) that had my subjects and (oh joy!) I could be in the band w/o being a music major. I got to the campus without knowing about the pre-semester band camp. I jumped in as a rookie trombone player (no competition unless you wanted to play in the concert groups). Again, it was part of the academic schedule, 5 days a week, we played, marched, halftime shows, parades, went places and did things. It was a cultural education, physical exercise, academic disciplne, social outlet, and fun. I knew I was never going to be good enough to be a pro, but I loved music, all kinds.

Scouts did things differently, did different things. Camping and nature study ain't band. I knew I wasn't going to be a Park Naturalist but I still learned enough to see the connectedness of the world and be able to impart some of that to younger people.

It all comes together. My HS Band: Troop bugler: Eagle: college band: trips: :: son likes music: guitar: trombone(too hard):Troop bugler: we'll see what happens next...

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personally, growing up in the Mid west I saw a lot of Ohio State University Football games. Back then, before the half time "studio shows" you actually saw the half time band performance. I loved the Golden Girl of Purdue and you guys do know that the big drum that Texas has "Big Bertha" originally came from the University of Chicago. It got Radiologically contaminated during the first "controlled" radioactive chain reaction underneath the grandstands of Stagg Field and somehow Texas got ahold of it but I digress. BTW, Purdue has quite the large drum as well


Personally, I always wanted to the Tuba player who got to dot the I in the Script Ohio number.


Not playing the Tuba always did hold me back

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There are a surprising number of musicians in our ranks. For some reason, most adults tend not to talk about that.


While my HS and college band experiences don't rank with some of yours, here's a quick synopsis of my music life:


Piano lessons: 16 years beginning at age 5. Included 5 years studying at Peabody Conservatory (prep department - concertos!, and studying with students at a state school for the blind), and ear-training courses (theory).

Organ (church organ): started at age 7, played first church service at 9.

Flute: started at age 9.

Piccolo: started in High school. Switched to sousaphone and baritone due to political reasons (1st chair flute was occupied by an upperclassperson, 1 bass player moved away and the other got pregnant). Included marching band and concert band for grade. Sousaphone is lots of fun in the snow!


In college, I took my Freshman year off. I was SICK of music. Got involved again Sophomore year. For the 3 remaining glorious years, I accompanied all musical stage shows (Gilbert & Sullivan, etc.)- we had nothing more than a pep band for sports. Accompanied 70% of vocal students for recitals and 40% for weekly lessons. Learned to sight-read as a survival mechanism! Accompanied and toured with concert choir, madrigal singers. Added harpsichord. Spent 2 years employed as Organist for Pennsylvania State Penitentiary (a rare experience to be shared another time!).


Since college, was rehearsal accompanist for Baltimore (MD) Symphony Chorus (now defunct), Assistant Organist at a large metropolitan church, Organist for a 10,000-attendee week-long church conference in Pittsburgh, accompanist for University of Hartford (CT) Civic Chorus, Music Director of CT Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and Organist/Choir Director at 3 churches over the course of 29 years (don't let me get started on brides' mothers!).


Oh, yes, I also have a day job. And Scouts. Music is what keeps me sane.

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My SM was a church organist, so no complaints about band. My HS weekly routine:


5:30AM - hit the alarm. dress. breakfast.

6AM - Practice piano for an hour except,

6:30 AM - invite the paperboy in to chat, sometimes run the rest of his route with him.

7AM - Study what I blew off the night before, pack lunch, get bus.

8 - 3 - School, which included a period of band (marching or stage depending on season) and practice during study hall if you had one.

3-5 - Practice band or a game (no lights at our field). On off days, chores around house.

6 - Dinner with mom and dad.

7pm - Scouts/Jazz Band Practice/Section Practice/Youth Group/Pack for a camp-out or retreat/ depending on the day.

9pm - Procrastinate on doing homework while watching TV with the folks. Maybe practice the horn -- especially if a fellow trombonist was after my chair.

10/11 - Wash up. Read Bible (10 Chapters). Pray. Lights out.


Oh, I lead section practice sometimes at my house without adults present. Same thing at school. The brass section would only call in the director if we were stuck on something. Same with jazz ensemble. So, my band was youth led as well. It helped prepare me for PL/SPL responsibilities.

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My oldest was in the HS Marching Band (two years) and earned Eagle. His take - in Scouts you got to stay up late outside, with your peers. In band he had to get up at 4:30 AM to make a 6:00 AM practice in Michigan in the fall. Teenagers, having a skewed internal clock (i.e. most are night owls) like the staying up late part better. However, yes the band has girls and cheering crowds!

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Ok....so here is a thread that I can speak to from a point of personal expertise.


Yes, I was the lead trumpet player in my HS Marching Band.


Yes, we were competitive in area and state competitions...in fact it was during my years in the band in which the competitve tradition was founded.


I was also a member in The Ohio State University Marching Band, reported as the largest all brass and percussion band in the world.


So, starting from the original post...


Band - Twice weekly meetings - Huh? Not in any marching band I was associated with. 1 week band camp, 5 class periods per week, + 4-6 before/after school 3 hr sessions per week + football games + pep rallys + competitions.

Scouts - once a week


Band - lead chair - No! MB's are adult led. Even those 'sectional' sessions are adult directed (what to do) with a section leader (student) doing it.

Scouts - Boy led - Sometimes


Band - Connected to school, non-band friends, community at large.

Scouts - Connected only to Troop, limited connection to community at large.


Band - Large immediate group. (130 at my son's school, OSUMB is 225)

Scouts - Small immediate group. (60 in the Troop)


I have two sons, one in MB that never considered Scouting as an option and my Scout.


The biggest thing I as a difference between MB and Scouts (as someone else pointed out) takes specific technical (musical) accomplishment over a long period of time with personal reward at the end.


In Scouting, you complete a merit badge, then move on to the next...you might stick to one of them if it suits you, but it is as a personal pursuit. The only real common thread between all Scouts is camping, which you do only on a limited basis.


There was a comment about college MB and having to be music majors. In the OSUMB, only 10% of the band are music majors on average...there is usually a larger percentage of engineeering majors than music majors. True "long-hair" music majors tend to poo-poo of MB. From my knowledge of other Big-Ten and Pac-10 colleges, that trend seems to hold.





Fixed spelling error....typing too fast!


(This message has been edited by Engineer61)

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Fall '77, I think, I had the privilege of watching an OSU marching band rehearsal, both the indoors and outdoors portions. If I recall correctly, wasn't there a sign above the door that said "TBDBITL"?


One surprise for me, after having just watched a jazz ensemble rehearsal, was that Tom Battenberg, the jazz program faculty/chair (and trumpeter), was also in the marching band.


I think it's also pretty amazing to see their present audition guidelines, which you can find online. There are physical standards to get into the band and they are pretty rigorous.



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Yes. TBDBITL (tah-'bit-ell) = The Best Damn Band In The Land


Yes, the perfomance and physical guidelines are pretty tough. The summer before I my tryout, I was working in a meat-packing plant and running 7-9 miles a day, then practicing 2-3 hours of trumpet.


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For the band people:


Given the time to do only one, band or Scouts the youth's time is better off in?



I have seen scouts try and do both and in general it's a scout meeting once a month, no service work and no campouts. Hardly scouting if you ask me.



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it depends ofn the level of dedication to scouting. One young man I knew would come from practices and games to meetings and campouts in his band uniform, then change into the scout uniform. Yes he would miss one or two meetings, depending upon band schedule, but he was there.

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For the band people:


Given the time to do only one, band or Scouts the youth's time is better off in?




That depends on the kid, and the kid's objectives.


If the kid wants to become a musician or music educator, or certain engineering or medical fields. Scouts it pretty much 2nd Chair (to use the musician's term).


If on the other hand, the kid want to be a Smoke Jumper, Wilderness S&R, Special Forces or Park Ranger, Scouting should be the bigger priority.


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