While many people are familiar with what it takes for an athlete to be recruited by colleges, the rules about marching band recruitment can be a bit more nebulous. Generally speaking, there are a few main factors to consider when trying to fully understand the process.
Don’t Expect a Scholarship
Even though marching bands can be a big part of school pride and various events that directly reflect a college’s brand, it is uncommon for universities to extend scholarships to such musicians. Research indicates that fewer than 1 in 10 colleges in America offer marching band scholarships, including some that are as little as $200.
Enrollment Comes First
Whereas most colleges begin recruiting athletes before they even apply, it is typically not the same for musicians. In the majority of cases, universities form their marching bands by using students already enrolled in the school. Larger colleges sometimes express an interest in talented musicians, though any talk of scholarships and grants are typically on an individual basis.
Recruiters Want Variety
Instead of college athletic recruiters who have their eyes on a few key players, those who try to attract marching band musicians are generally seeking to cast a much wider net. Their chief objective seems to be reaching as many prospective applicants as possible so that the director will have the deepest pool from which to build a stellar marching band.
All Experiences Are Unique
While the information above applies to many colleges and band directors, there are no clear rules that dictate how the recruitment process will play out. If a university has a surplus of available funding, for example, it might make sense for the band program to offer some financial incentives for standout musicians to join the marching band. As for whether being a band member will provide any credits or honors, these are details that can also vary depending on the school in question.
The bottom line is that there is a wide chasm between the recruitment process for athletes and that of marching band musicians. Nevertheless, it is possible to have a rewarding experience as part of a band at colleges of all sizes.