School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Stephen Kerr


marching band, non-music major, recruitment, retention




The collegiate marching band can be the face of a university and the heartbeat of campus. Marching bands attract students from all majors across the campus, where those who major in music have the opportunity to be the smallest demographic in the ensemble if the ensemble is open to the entire college or university. Without non-music majors’ participation in collegiate marching bands, programs would not thrive as they do today. Numerous researchers have discovered that many students who had joined an ensemble did not participate in a collegiate performing ensemble after high school graduation. In particular, Mantie and Dorfman described “that approximately 75-80% of non-music majors with high school music involvement did not join ensembles on college campuses. They also noted that only 14.6% of participants reported partaking in regular music-making activities.” Through interviews of non-music major students who participate in collegiate marching bands and collegiate marching band directors, this study will answer the following questions: What factors influence non-music majors’ participation in collegiate marching bands? What recruitment tools do collegiate marching band directors use to attract and retain non-music major students in their ensemble? By answering these questions, the importance of the non-music majors’ participation in collegiate marching bands will be made apparent, and tips to recruit and retain those students.

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