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Frequently Asked Questions



Who can join?

The Duke University Marching Band is open to any Duke student with the ability to play a musical instrument and an interest in supporting the Duke football and basketball programs. Past marching band experience is preferable, however not required. Many of our members never marched before stepping foot on Duke's campus and have been very successful. Any person who can play and march in step is welcome.
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Are there auditions?

Only for trumpet, trombone, and drumline. Trumpet and trombone players do not have to audition for admittance, only for part placement. Percussionists must audition for a spot in the line.
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Will I have enough time for this?

The best people to ask this question of are the students presently in band. Please feel free to e-mail one of our officers or section leaders. They will be happy to give you good information. Our rehearsal schedule is one of the lightest rehearsal schedules in the country and very few students drop out because of time. Visit the Member Spotlight to see how some of our members have balanced band with other activities.
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How is the Duke Marching Band different from my high school band?

Not enough space or finger dexterity to answer this question. The best advice would be to e-mail someone you find on our website or visit the 2017-18 Interest Group that has been established on Facebook. The Facebook group can also give you an inkling of the community that our band has. When you join the marching band, you have an immediate social network full of people eager to support you in your first college experiences.
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Can I play in the pep band without being in marching band?

No. The good news is that many people who join marching band only to gain membership in pep band tend to end up preferring marching band to pep band. It's true!
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I have never marched before; will that pose a problem?

No. Roughly 30% of our band members had not marched before they arrived at Duke. We use an easy-to-learn step that very few people have trouble mastering. We will help you learn, don't worry.
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I was an athlete in high school; will I still be cool if I join the marching band?

Only if you were cool before you joined the marching band. We have several band members who still participate in athletics here at Duke.
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I do not have an instrument, can I borrow one?

Yes. Just let us know that you'll need one before you arrive. No need to notify us if you play mellophone, sousaphone, or percussion. We expect that you'll need an instrument.
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Are there any extra duties or rituals that freshmen have to go through as part of the organization?

Absolutely not.
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As a first year band member, will I be allowed to travel to basketball tournament games?

Depending on your participation and our instrumentation needs, yes. If you play trumpet, trombone or sousaphone you would really have to slack to not be invited to at least some tournament travel. We try to give everyone the chance to travel to a tournament game but it is uncertain at this time how our growing membership will affect this.
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Can I also be in the Wind Symphony or Jazz Band and still be in marching band?

Yes. We will work with the other directors and they will work with us. You will be excused from band rehearsal for performances with the Wind Symphony or Jazz Band.
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Am I required to participate in a bowl game?

This cannot be answered yes or no without taking into consideration several factors. First of all, the bowl game is the ultimate destination of every college football team. Everyone in the marching band is expected to be there should we get to a bowl. However, if the bowl falls on Christmas, or requires us to miss being home for Christmas, we would argue for exemption for people who feel strongly about being home for this. There have been exemptions made in the past, on a case-by-case basis, and we are flexible. If the bowl were to be in Hawaii, we would probably not take a full band. We know this is not a direct answer, but it is the best we can do. We will always consider the best interest of the student.
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