You Know You’re a Band Parent When . . .

You make three more trips than expected to drop off your child with everything they need.
You can’t pick your child out of the crowd because they all look alike.
You no longer speak of your child as a fourteen-year-old daughter/son, but as a “freshman trumpet.”
You prominently display a band calendar in the kitchen, have band dates marked on the calendar in your purse, and/or have the Band Phone Number on you speed dial.
There’s no such thing as a prior commitment.
You know that you will be wearing something maroon and navy every Friday night.

New Parent SG cover1Guide for New Band Parent’s
(Good for older ones, too…)

The New Student & Parent Marching Band Survival Guide is the product of a group of new band parents who spent a large portion of our “rookie” year in various stages of confusion. In the many hours we spent together watching practices and performances, waiting to pick up our kids, and following yellow school buses, we asked hundreds of questions.

As novice band parents, of course we wanted to know what we should do. After all, the only people who were even more confused, and looking to us for answers, were our children. This booklet is our attempt to share with the “upcoming rookies” some of the answers to many of these questions before we too forget how it felt not knowing what was going on . . . (of course, we still don’t have all the answers – second year band parents).We hope this booklet helps you in your “endeavors” during your child’s rookie year. 

Band Camp

Yes, your kids will get a workout. Be prepared for running laps and plenty of sweating.
Dress Comfortably – caps, sunglasses, comfortable tennis shoes (not high-tops, well broken-in – not new), shorts and t-shirts or tank tops.
Bring water to drink! Mark your container.
Bring a towel. (you’ll need it!)
Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen!!! Put on before coming to practice and bring to reapply. This is the week of sunburns and bad tan lines.

Helpful Hints that Save You Time, Gas and Grief

Make your child responsible for being prepared. The first time they forget something will be the last! They learn to be resourceful when they have to be.

At the end of each practice session there are usually announcements – listen up. This is your best opportunity to find out who, what, where and when things are going on.

Network – This is how we met each other. It is also one of the best ways to get helpful hints on band parenting from others.

Carpool to competitions when buses aren’t available.

Be prepared to cheer! The band loves it when they have their own cheering section.

Don’t put uniform (except dress uniform) items away in the closet or drawers when cleaned. Keep all items (socks, shoes, gloves, etc.) in a bag. That way you won’t spend time hunting for them each time they’re needed.


Inspections are held before traveling under the breezeway outside the main building, and before home games outside the Band Room. Students should be in place no later than the time they were told to report. In this instance, start time means students should be in uniform and in the inspection line a few minutes prior to inspection! Allow time for changing into uniforms, and preparing instruments for inspection. Your student and their instrument (even the inside of the instrument) will be inspected as they stand at attention by sections. Students should be sure to not have any odd or large jewelry or face paint of any kind. Demerits will be given here. (We aren’t quite sure what this means yet, except that it’s bad and it involves cleaning something.)

Terms, Phrases

“Inspection is at six thirty”

There will be a one hour run-through.  If you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late. When you drop your child off at 4:55, there will be students already there, ready to play. At this point, the anxiety level for being late dramatically increases. This is when your child will be sweating bullets. Beware of the traffic. Always allow extra time. There are no excuses.

“Where are your drill charts?”

These are very detailed charts that students wear around their necks during band camp and at rehearsals that tell them exactly where they stand for different setups, like Opener 6. A good place to keep these is in the instrument case, which may save you one of those trips back home, and your child laps around the practice field.

“Where’s my tick?” and “Do we line up on the hash?”

This does not refer to insects or breakfast food. These terms indicate how the practice field is marked off. Students use their drill charts to answer these questions.

“The band received an Excellent rating”

Excellent is not the best. Each band is striving for a Superior rating.

“Play to the box!”

This means that instruments should be directed toward the tower on the practice field where the powers-that-be live and flourish.

Practice field

The practice field is where ever we practice. Usually there will be a “run-through” near the end of practice. This is also a good location to gather information, and network.