School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Vernon Whaley


Marching Band, Recruitment, Retention, Enrollment, Attrition, Talladega College




More institutions are using marching bands in an effort to encourage and boost small college and university enrollment. In response to concerns about low enrollment, colleges and universities are adopting vibrant and more contemporary marching bands to serve in the capacity of recruiter and primary ambassador for the institution. To this end, a strategy is developed that will assist with institutional awareness, marketing, academic expansion and student retention. Utilizing the marching band as a strategic tool for student recruitment provides opportunity for the college to attract a greater diversity of students to the institution. In this thesis, historical data is gathered and evidence reported that supports the notion that a collegiate marching band can be used as the primary tool for student recruitment and retention. Talladega College, a historically Black, faith-based college located in the foot-hills of eastern Alabama, implemented such a strategy in 2012 and witnessed institutional growth from 574 students to more than 1300 full time students by 2020. Organizational policies, growth strategies, and recruitment practices, designed to encourage colleges growth, are examined. Steps for success are delineated and alternative practices to rehearsal technique are discussed.

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