Competition is a huge part of marching band culture. Whether it's bolstering team spirit in the big game's halftime performance or proving your own chops against the scrutiny of judges, marching bands may not exist without the spirit of friendly competition.
That's why it was so controversial when Louisiana State University decided to ban opposing teams' marching bands from performing at halftime at the school's Tiger Stadium. Only a few days after instating the ban, the school lifted it.
The choice to reverse course was a testament to the importance of competition. Here are just a few other reasons why some friendly rivalries make this art so special:
Encourages better playing
When all other motivators fail, the push of competition can drive musicians to play their best. Whether you're competing against a past performance or another band, knowing that there's a tangible goal to reach encourages your band members to play well.
Instills respect for others
When an opposing band plays better than you, it can sting at first. However, directors can steer that emotion in a different direction: respect. If you lose, admire those who won. That way, you can learn a few important lessons from their performance. That is the spirit of healthy competition, after all.
Gives you pride
However, in the event that you do win in competition, you get to experience a feeling like no other: pride. In fact, even if you don't win, your band can still feel overwhelming pride in the accomplishment of getting there in the first place.