Is Marching Band a Sport?


Courtesy of the Klein Collins Band flickr account

The colorguard, drumline, and band preform their show at a football game.

Allie Leatherman, Staff Reporter

Marching band, by definition, is a sport. The Oxford Dictionary defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” However, the debate over its classification remains.

Marching bands begin practice, like most sports, during the summer. At Klein Collins, these practices usually last ten hours in 90 degree weather. The majority of the practice time is spent during the summer, racking up over 100 hours. During the school year, bands are allowed to have a maximum of eight hours of practice per week, excluding games and competitions. These practices are extremely taxing, both physically and mentally, having to remember each set position and the coinciding music. Physically, marching band easily matches any sport. Once October ends, however, the marching season, for the most part, is done. The biggest difference between marching band and other sports is that there is no off-season. Once marching band ends, it shifts to concert season.

In addition, marching bands compete in ranked competitions. These competitions are mainly held in October, where football games and competitions are held back-to-back a lot of the time. At the Area and Region competitions, upwards of 30 bands compete. These competitions last the entire day. Each competition is judged differently, mostly depending on how much value is placed on artistic elements. 

Despite how physically demanding it is, marching band can also be considered an art form rather than a sport. Traditionally, all bands were military bands, whose shows consisted only of marching and playing. Now that bands have become more interpretive and expressive; most competitions take into account the artistic choices the band made, such as choreography, props, and the general effect of the show. 

Marching band, though it has artistic elements, is a sport. It incorporates both physical and artistic elements, which causes some to disregard the physical requirements of marching band. Its rigorous practice and competitions make it impossible to consider it anything other than a sport.