Marching Health

marching health

Health of the marching musician has been a rapidly-growing subject of interest. From fitness to nutrition to proper footwear, find out how to have a healthy and comfortable season. None of this is meant to frighten you. Just the opposite! We want you to come in prepared. Every year we have several members who have never marched before and we can always get them up to speed. Whether this is your first year marching or your eighth, getting in shape ahead of time, eating well, staying hydrated, protecting your hearing, and having proper footwear will help you be more comfortable and successful.

Your arms may get tired holding up that baritone or doing all those drop spins. Develop those arm muscles now so you can shorten the period of adjustment. Do some cardio now so you won't be as out-of-breath at the end of that first run-through of the show. Get used to eating well now so you don't go overboard on the fro-yo and cookies when you get to the dining hall and regret it when you get out on the field in the sun!

Maintaining Your Health in Marching Band

Tips for prevention of common injuries and issues

Marching band is a great musical, social, and athletic activity. While our physical demands are not at the level of some drum corps and highly-competitive high school marching bands, there are risks involved. The following suggestions will help you stay healthy and uninjured from band camp through the end of the season. This article addresses heat and sun protection, repetitive-use injuries, and nutrition. See our other articles for additional information.

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Get in Shape for Marching Band!?

person jogging

While we utilize many different styles within our shows, the Wildcat Marching Band is considered a "corps-style" marching band. Some features of this style include the use of a roll-step or glide-step, keeping the performers' upper bodies pointed at the audience most of the time, and the use of backward marching and "shifts" or "slides" in addition to forward marching. Your band may have been a "big-ten" or "show style" marching band, or perhaps you marched only in parades (or not at all!). Whatever your background, you have nothing to worry about. We start with basic marching technique on day one for everyone. This allows our veterans to brush up on their technique and for new members to learn our style, terminology, and commands. It may seem overwhelming right now, but we will guide you through every step of the way. If you have trouble with anything we're doing, our veteran band members won't hesitate to help you out. We understand that our new members come from a variety of marching backgrounds, from those who have never marched a step to people who have marched in highly-competitive marching bands and drum corps.

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Hearing Protection

Hearing loss is a major concern for musicians in general, but especially for marching band members. It's one of those things that should be addressed more often than it is, even in concert settings. One thing that many people don't realize is that hearing loss is cumulative; you can't reverse the damage once it's been done. For more information about this, click here.


The best means of prevention is to wear hearing protection in rehearsals, especially indoors. This is absolutely imperative for percussionists, as they deal with the highest sound levels, but the rest of the ensemble should wear hearing protection as well. There have even been studies showing that players of certain instruments are more likely to lose their hearing because of where they typically SIT in an ensemble, not because of what they PLAY. So, if you tend to have a trumpet bell 3 feet behind your head when we're inside, you NEED to be wearing hearing protection.

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Marching band is a unique activity with specialized footwear needs. Gone are the days of simply recommending "closed-toed shoes." The Wildcat Marching Band is a corps-style band that puts on high-caliber shows. As such, we are demanding a bit more from our members and want to be sure you are prepared to be successful. Even if you haven't marched before, we'll get you up to speed. Obviously, you will be on your feet a lot throughout the season, as that's what marching is all about! The best way to keep your feet in good shape is to wear proper footwear. During band camp in particular, we'll have some long stretches outside on the field, so it's important that you start off the season right away with good equipment.

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Recommended Health Apps


We have some great technology at our fingertips these days. If you have a smartphone, here are some recommended apps and/or websites to help you get ready for the upcoming season (or to just get/stay in shape in general). If you don't have a smartphone, look into getting a pedometer (the old-school ones are just a few dollars). Or keep a journal of your activities. Many of these apps have companion websites that you can log directly on without using the fancy smartphone/GPS features. There are also a lot of podcasts to help you train. We are not affiliated with any of these companies. They're just apps or websites we've used or heard good things about.

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