Inside DCI – March 2018: A Month to Celebrate Marching Arts and Learn Evolving Trends

Mike Lawson • Percussion • March 2, 2018

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March has quickly become an important month for all things marching. Since the official launch of March 4th as National Marching Music Day last year, the concept of celebrating the marching arts has taken off.

Schools and organizations everywhere are celebrating the history of marching bands, the future of the ever-changing activity, and all the associated programs, and even adding new opportunities to the mix.

A New Day in Marching

From military origins in the annals of history, marching has expanded into a versatile musical platform with a prominent place in the performing arts. Even more, many marching programs now incorporate innovative free-form drill designs that enable marching performers to interpret practically any music genre for audiences of up to tens of thousands at a time.

With hundreds of thousands of participants at multiple levels, the marching arts are on display at high school football games, college games, color guard shows, indoor drumline competitions, SoundSport team shows, specialty or novelty ensemble exhibitions, and Drum Corps International touring events. Marching programs reflect different performance and format styles and allow participants the opportunity to improve their personal skills while achieving group excellence. More and more young people are becoming involved in numerous ways to take their individual musical proficiency and showmanship to greater heights.

Ever-Increasing Artistic and Physical Components

As ensembles rehearse and perform physically demanding programs, marching musicians are becoming some of the most fit athletes among performing artists — even rivaling the physical demands on the most elite collegiate and professional sports players. Particularly at the Drum Corps International level, shows continue to contain more and more difficult elements and raise the bar even higher for artistic and athletic performance. As drum corps performers take the performance level ever higher, they must train extensively for tour season and improve physical condition every day to meet the demands of their shows. What’s more, this phenomenon of more physically demanding marching is becoming more and more common in high school and collegiate programs.

That’s where the Marching Music Health & Wellness Project comes into play. This DCI-sponsored program harnesses the benefits of rapidly expanding performing arts medicine and delivers proactive avenues for sustaining participants in the marching arts. You can find critical information on training, injury prevention, pre-season conditioning, and maintaining peak fitness throughout the season –

By partnering with organizations such as Athletes and the Arts (, the Performing Arts Medicine Association (, and the American College of Sports Medicine (, DCI promotes collaboration within this emerging field of study and treatment for marching musicians and color guard performers. Take advantage of these resources to improve training for your students as they reach ever higher through their performances.

More to Celebrate

March is also Music in Our Schools month. Sponsored by the National Association for Music Education, this initiative raises awareness of the importance of music education for all children. It’s a perfect opportunity to display the benefits that school music brings to students of all ages. For ideas on ways to celebrate, visit the association’s website, where you will find resources, templates, and more –

March Forth

Use the month of March to celebrate the marching arts and music education overall. Raise awareness of all your programs and the opportunities available to your students. Let your community know the benefits that your marching programs bring students, families, fans, and the public.

March on to success and join hundreds of thousands of marching music performers celebrating across the country!

Barbara Nash, APR is President of Barbara Nash & Associates LLC and supports Drum Corps International through fully integrated strategic communications and market engagement services. She has a broad background in music and performance, and has two sons who each marched with DCI.

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