Marching Band Camp Survival Tips

I’ll be honest with you. Band Camp was my least favorite thing in High School. Sure, our band directors and staff tried to make marching all morning in the desert sun and rehearsing music indoors all afternoon with over a hundred sweaty people as fun as possible, but really it was exhausting. Luckily, I was always around great people and made tons of friends. I also learned a lot about music and teamwork. So, it was probably worth it in the end. Plus, Band Camp lends itself to tons of funny and crazy stories!

I have a private student in New Mexico who is going to be an incoming freshman. She asked me if I had any pointers or if I can tell her what she should expect from her first Band Camp. Of course, I mentioned, “bring plenty of water and sunscreen”, but I decided I should write up a whole list not only for any first-timers but for any upperclassmen who have blocked out the memories from years past and need a refresher on what they need to survive the Band Camp experience.

Equipment Needed

  • Bring several pencils with a clip on it so that you can clip it to music holders and drill charts.
  • Wear comfy light-colored althletic wear. No jeans or stiff, heavy pants. You’ll thank me later.
  • Wear comfy althetic shoes! Preferably some that you have already broken in. Garaunteed your band directors will have very little sympathy for you if you can’t march well because you’re fighting with the blisters on your feet.
  • Wear sunglasses. Protect those music reading eyes!
  • Bring two bottles of water. One refrigerated overnight and one frozen. (The frozen one is for the hot afternoon hours.) Even better: get yourself a Camelbak. You can just wear it with you on the field and take a sip of water whenever you need it.
  • Bring all the sunscreen. I’m talking a sunscreen for your face that won’t give you breakouts and a high SPF sunscreen for everything else.
  • A hat to keep the sun off of your face and to keep you slightly cooler (if you’re allowed to wear one.)
  • Bring snacks, preferably nutritious snacks. Fruits, veggies, protein bars, granola bars are all good options. You’ll be burning a ton of calories marching in the heat, so you’re probably going to need to eat more than you usually do.
  • Bring extra reeds, or even better, use a plastic reed. I like using Légère, though there are quite a few good options these days. There is a lot of standing around and reeds will dry out even faster in the dry heat here in the Southwest. You don’t want to mess with rewetting your reed constantly. It’s annoying… trust me.
  • Bring a cooling towel. They’re relatively inexpensive and so nice to have around your neck during a break.

Mental and Physical Health

  • Breaks are for taking a break! Find some shade or air-conditioning and don’t play your instrument. This will help conserve your energy.
  • Just relax when you get home and get plenty of sleep.

I hope this list helps you out. Comment down below if I forgot something. Good luck with Band Camp and Marching Season!

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