Why Your Band Should March Trombone

Marching Solely Baritones At Trombones' Expense Is The Cowardly Option

Marching trombone can be messy and difficult, yes, but limiting your band's instrumentation is not the answer.

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One of my biggest inspirations for going into band was seeing the Atlanta Symphony in the fifth grade. The extent of my music experience at the time was playing the recorder, but upon hearing and also seeing the Symphony I knew my destiny then and there.

The shiny brass instruments were calling my name.

The trombone was, by far, the most unique instrument I could have chosen. Its play style is so much different than any other. I regretted nothing coming up through middle school.

Then eighth grade night rolled around.

Eighth grade night is where local high schools invite kids from their feeder middle schools to come and experience a home game from the marching band's perspective. The high school ensures to make it one of the best experiences to draw in middle schoolers into the appeal of marching.

It was indeed fun, but I was forlorn to see no high schoolers playing the trombone.

We were put with the baritones: the marching instrument that trombones are made to play. They were nice and all, but it was scary to think that they were going to have us march a different instrument.

I got to march trombone by the skin of my teeth. Our high school had switched directors, and our new director was more favorable towards marching trombone than the hardline stance of the director before him.

He would have stuck with the previous stance had we not had a prospective fifteen marchers hoping to join the baritone section and only eight functional instruments. At the time, I was just grateful to not have to switch over.

I almost faced the sole-baritone reality. I've seen this reality play out in one of our local high schools. I've also led our trombone section with the ever-present thought that if we were to lose enough in numbers, we would switch back.

Maintaining a trombone section is necessary to a diverse marching sound despite the logistical drawbacks of marching the trombone.

Some of the obvious drawbacks that bands hope to avoid by eliminating the trombone section revolve entirely around our slides.

Playing through a slide means that horn angles when marching are a nightmare. It's infinitely more obvious when a trombone is below angle than when a baritone is due to our length. This is increased when playing in further positions.

Tuning and intonation is also difficult when on a slide. When in front of a tuner, it's easier because we can just fine tune and adjust manually. When marching, however, it's a lot harder to pay mind to it when also trying to march with proper technique, be in the form, watch the drum majors and listen to balance.

A minor preference for the baritone might be that the vast majority of marching baritones are already silver rather than lacquer, and so it would hence be easier to have all the brass instruments be silver.

Despite the perceived drawbacks to marching trombone, we're a necessary component to the marching band.

Trombones can provide a punch that cannot be so easily achieved on a baritone. I say this part from experience, as once you learn to balance your breathing and marching (harder than it sounds), you too can play to the true potential of the Ever Too Loud Trombones.

Smears! Smears cannot be done so well on any other instrument. By far, it's the best aspect of playing trombone if done loud and proud.

Trombones are needed in the marching band above all else because of the unique sound we provide.

While baritones and trombones are mostly equivalent in our range and uses, trombones are often written as a higher part when marching because we can provide a better sound in the higher range.

We usually aim to have a darker, more rounded sound when playing and balancing the marching band. A brighter tone is necessary, however, to combat those with dark tone. We have the bass instruments in the sousaphones and baritones, but it can be matched with the brighter colors provided by the trumpets and trombones.

My message to band directors across the nation is to keep your spread of marching instruments varied by maintaining your trombone section. Don't fall into the trap of wanting the logistically easier way out and hence sacrifice your instrumentation integrity.

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10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.
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College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.



There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


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Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

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The Top 3 Lifestyle Changes I Made In College

The mistakes I corrected which stood between me and satisfaction.

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2019 has been a year of unparalleled growth for me. In 2018 I could have said the same. I spent extended periods of time analyzing the factors of my life which left me, in some ways, feeling unfulfilled. Here are the top 3 lifestyle changes that I made in college which left me feeling happier than ever.

1. Cut out the toxic people. 

A house is worthless without a solid foundation. The people which you call your friends are largely the foundation for your confidence and social life. Sometimes, we recognize that these people are overall anchors on our psyche; condescending narcissists whose confidence rests on making others feel inadequate. The first step to building self-confidence is to get these people out of your life immediately. Once you solidify this foundation, you will soon realize how pitiful these people are, and growth you had been capable of without them.

2. Do you even lift?

Not only has my physical condition improved from going to the gym, so has my mental strength. As my physical form has improved, my confidence has risen. We have spent millions of years evolving to physically exert ourselves. Our modern lifestyle has left many of us without this crucial key to endorphins and proper brain chemistry; a factor which has promoted never before seen rates of depression and anxiety. Lifting weights have left me feeling better than I can remember, with endorphins and testosterone at an all-time high.

For years, I either avoided the gym or found excuses to stop. The reason I never committed to fitness was largely a lack of interest in self-betterment, but also a feeling of cluelessness in the subject. I recommend utilizing the "Beginner's Health and Fitness Guide" linked here. This guide breaks down fitness in an incredibly easy to understand way. This information is not published by someone trying to sell you something. It was written by input from numerous online fitness enthusiasts and refined for accuracy as well as simplicity. This guide has helped me and many others in online communities start down the road to improved physical and mental health through fitness.

3. Do as much as possible, even when you don't feel like it. 


I squandered years of my short life secluding myself to a comfort bubble. While in college, I have realized that happiness largely rests on occupying yourself with new and real experiences as frequently as possible. Time which would have previously been wasted on my phone, the television, or playing online games was shifted to trying new things. As often as possible, I have pushed myself to undertake activities such as learning to snowboard, grabbing food with people from college whom I had just met, going hiking with strangers and our mutual friend, traveling solo, etc. Pushing myself further from my comfort bubble every day has been exceptionally conducive to not only living life to a greater degree but also decreasing the anxieties which we all experience.


What can you fix in your current life to build the lifestyle you dream of?





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