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EIU Panther Marching Band

Why Should You March with the Panther Marching Band?

Maching band on the field.

You become part of a family with:

  • 100+ members
  • 44% with GPA over 3.5
  • 22 different majors represented - only 25% of band members are music majors
  • Many members active in campus service organizations

It can actually help you succeed academically in college and graduate on time

At some point in your college career you may experience adversity, academic challenges, pressure, and stress which place you at risk of doing poorly in school and, potentially, dropping out of school. Marching band participation provides you with high expectationsmeaningful experiences, and caring relationships to help you successfully overcome these threats. 

High Expectations - Marching band teaches you more than just music and marching. From marching band participation, you learn mental discipline, cooperation, responsibility, time management, leadership skills, and self-motivation - all skills that translate into success in your academics as well as success after you graduate. Did you know 70% of Fortune 1000 CEO's participated in high school or college band?! Many of them point to band as the place they learned the tools to be successful. 

Meaningful Experiences – When you put on the PMB uniform, you represent something that is bigger than yourself as an individual. Members of the Panther Marching Band don't just attend EIU, they become part of EIU tradition. The incredible sense of pride and accomplishment we feel from our pre-game concert to dismissal at the Alumni Clock Tower is a shared experience few organizations can match.

Caring Relationships – Joining the PMB provides you with a hundred new friends, study partners, and mentors. Since the PMB reports to campus a week before classes start, your first peers at EIU are band students just like you. In addition to rehearsals, we spend time bonding as a band family. Band students often remain friends for life.

The relationship with your band director and adult staff can also be meaningful. Often you will have a professor for one semester and may never see them again. In marching band, your relationships with the director and staff can last over four years – from your first day on campus to your last day and beyond.

Comparing Marching Band Students and Non-Marching Band Students

Using data and scales from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Dr. David Healy from Boston College compared the college engagement of marching band and non-marching band students from 20 different colleges. The study found that college marching band students are more likely than their non-marching band peers to:

  • participate in a community-based project (e.g. service learning) as part of a course.
  • teach or tutor other students.  
  • have serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity as well as students who are very different in terms of their religious beliefs, political opinions, or personal values.
  • examine the strengths and weaknesses of their own views on a topic or issue, try to better understand someone else’s views by imagining how an issue looks from his or her perspective, and learn something that changed the way they understand an issue or concept.


Doesn't College Marching Band Reduce Time for Academics?

The PMB rehearses for a total of 6 hours a week (less than many high school bands) and performs at five home football games a season. We also play for campus events (“First Night”, Homecoming Parade, and Panther Marching Band Festival) and present our own lighted and staged PMB Live in Concert performance in Dvorak Hall in the Doudna Fine Arts Center. While this may seem busy, it is actually very manageable.

You may have been encouraged to take a year off from band to get settled into college life. While this seems wise, after a year of being a freshman, rarely if ever, will a sophomore join a group as a new member. As band students you are used to being busy, so you will find something else to spend their time on and it may not be as productive and positive as participating in the marching band.  Besides – many of our PMB members make their life-long friends through band camp activities and PMB ‘family bonding’ times.  Why would you put off doing that to sit in your dorm waiting to make friends?

What members say about marching in the PMB

“I love how everyone is so open to change and trying new things!. I also love how genuine everyone is! I felt so welcomed in my first week at PMB camp – like I found a new family” – Haley, Freshman Music Education Major

“I really like all the relationships I have been able to make so far. It is neat how, with just a few hours of practicing, we can come together and make amazing music.” – Aspen, Freshman Elementary Education Major

“My favorite part about the PMB is that it is a family.  You already have about 100 friends on campus and you can just be who you are when we are together working towards one goal.” – Andrea, Psychology and Pre-Occupational Therapy Major with a minor in Health and Medical Humanities

“My favorite thing about PMB is everyone’s passion for marching band.  Every single person wants to be there and wants to be your friend!” – Justin, Junior Music Education Major

“PMB quickly became my family at EIU and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Because of this organization, I have made lifelong friends and found a family that I will forever be grateful for.” – Savanna, Sophomore Music Education Major

“PMB is the spirit of EIU. You get to meet students from all areas of campus and it is a great way to transition to campus. You get to form a special bond among all of the members. PMB is a perfect way to get involved and learn more about EIU and it works so well with all kinds of schedules.” - Abigail, Class of 2020

 “In uniform, the PMB represents the beating blue and grey heart of our university. More than simple school spirit, the members of the PMB contribute to the university by providing the enlivening sights and sounds that foster love for our home in the shadow of Old Main.” - Sam, Bachelor of Arts in English, Class of 2018

Where can I find out more?

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page or email Prof. David Boggs, Director of the Panther Marching Band at



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