Honors Projects


Each marching band defines “culture” as their ensemble’s decisions on marching style, music choice, band size, instrumentation, and performance obligations. This study aims to categorize marching bands by cultural features, test if marching band characteristics are similar across a region, and explore how these trends in band culture relate to other demographic and socioeconomic trends. Research focused on bands in the Midwest and Southeastern United States and was conducted through video observation. Through analysis, it was found that most marching bands surveyed use a corps step, perform music of artistic merit, have between twenty-one and one hundred marchers, perform with a full ensemble as well as pit percussion, and perform in exhibition shows. However, Midwestern bands play more popular music, are less likely to have a pit percussion, and perform in less competitions. Additionally, there is a subtle regional effect for band culture (college and high school ensembles in the same region tend to have similar characteristics). Finally, “Avant Garde” high school bands are correlated with higher income areas, while “Traditional” marching bands exist in areas with more elderly residents. Midwestern “Show” marching bands tend to have opposite demographics of their Southern counterparts (Midwestern “Show” bands tend to come from richer areas, while Southern ones come from poorer areas). This information is of value to collegiate band directors interested in recruiting more students, high school students looking for a familiar style of college band to join, and new band directors who are interested in working in a particular band culture.


Honors Program


Management Information Systems

First Advisor

Michael King

First Advisor Department

Music Education

Second Advisor

Kyle Moninger

Second Advisor Department

Applied Statistics and Operations Research

Publication Date

Spring 2019