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 expectations, meaningful 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.
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.
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). While this may seem busy, it is actually very manageable. The season is finished before Thanksgiving break which allows you extra time to do homework and study during the busiest time of the semester.
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.
“I wanted to join an organization that would help me become social with people that enjoyed music.” - Rachel, Junior Public Relations Major
“It is a great way to meet new people and make lasting friendships. It is also a great place to go because you fit in no matter who you are.” - Danielle, Junior Special Education/Elementary 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, Junior Music Education Major
“Having a whole family behind you to support you and help push you to do your best is amazing. I am such a better student because of my PMB family.” - Rachel, Sophomore Psychology Major
“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