Looking at some of the most successful marching bands, you may notice that they tend to have a lot of members. This can be intimidating for smaller programs who want to excel in competitions but feel like they're at a disadvantage compared to these super-sized groups. However, there are plenty of virtues in a smaller band, and knowing how to use them can give your band a much bigger sound. Here are three ways to do so:
1. Tap into your band's strengths
Every band has its unique strengths and weakness and, in a small program, you're at an advantage to become better attuned to these. If you want to give your band a bigger sound, play into your musicians' strengths. Do you have some particularly talented brass players? Or a few unbelievable percussionists? Choose music that allows these stars to shine but won't expose weaknesses in anyone else.
2. Encourage unity
The more musicians in a band, the more challenging it is to achieve a unified sound. Small bands inherently have this asset over larger groups, so don't let it go to waste. Encourage your band to work together by listening to each other when they play. You should also remind each musician that their contribution matters and promote hardworking rehearsals so they can sound their best.
3. Focus on the details
Issues like bad pitch can be even more obvious in a smaller band, so instill skills like tuning at the start of your rehearsals. Before taking a performance to the field or a competition, make sure it's as clean as possible. In a small band, quality trumps quantity. Having a full sound at this size means accuracy – a principle that should be applied to your band's musicality as well as its marching.