Marching Band Harmony

My children are involved in a robotics program called FIRST LEGO League. In this environment, they are learning teamwork as well as the concepts of “gracious professionalism” and “coopertition”—a coined word that combines cooperation and competition. According to these concepts, teams “compete like crazy but treat each other with respect and kindness.” To live these values, they often share treats, advice, and even LEGO parts.

In the marching world, we have also seen these concepts at play. Every school, every team, every ensemble has major rivals—the competitors closest in distance, style, or skills. A lot of communities spend time and effort fanning the flames, but when rivals set aside their personal gains and join together in harmony, the combination can be beautiful.

In our May/June 2016 issue, we included a feature called “Rivals? What Rivals?” That article uncovered how competitive groups learn from and push each other to be their best.

Our current article, “Show of Unity,” takes this idea a step further and presents various examples of how and why ensembles have banded together in joint performances.

If being part of a combined show does not seem feasible at the moment, consider some of these other simple ideas that might create more positive interactions between organizations.

  • Greet visitors or competitors when they get off the bus.
  • Share a meal or snack before the event.
  • Join in sectional traditions.
  • Trade swag, goodie bags, or sweets.
  • Snap selfies with the other students.
  • Gather for a post-game drum-off.
  • Do the Halftime Magazine crossword together.

We hope that these ideas bring you and your ensemble greater harmony with other groups. And if you try some of these suggestions or have other thoughts, let us know.

Musically Yours,
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

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