Marching Band Should Count for P.E. Credit

Marching Band Is a Workout. Cartoon by Maddie Steen.
Marching Band Is a Workout. Cartoon by Madelyn Steen.

By Madelyn Steen

People who have ever taken part in marching band know it is one of the best, most constructive things you can do with your time. It keeps you active and healthy while expanding your mind through all different types of music. But it is also time consuming, (approximately seven hours a week, not including competitions), and rehearsals are just as rigorous as sport practices. Trying to march in step, blow a constant stream of air, and remember all of your music and drill, while carrying your thirty pound sousaphone is quite a difficult task. But even when students work their tails off in marching band, they are still required to have a physical education class. Marching band should count as a P.E. credit, since the students get over an hour of physical activity daily during practice.

Most band kids take Lifetime P.E., a class based on games, rather than Performance P.E., a class based on weightlifting. The time students spend in Lifetime P.E. class is taken up by a wide variety of games like tennis, volleyball, basketball, and dodgeball. As fun as these games may be, they are not essential to stay healthy. In fact, most students rarely put forth physical effort during P.E. In marching band, however, everyone has to give 100 percent to place at competitions and be ranked as a Division One (the highest score a band can get). It takes everyone, working hard every day memorizing music, practicing routines and sets on the field, and through it all making sure your horn angle and feet positions are perfect. After each rehearsal, everyone is sweaty and exhausted, not at all like P.E., where people are rarely even winded.

Some people may say our school cannot offer marching band as a P.E. credit because it is not teaching students how to stay healthy after school, when there are no sports or other activities to keep you in shape. However, P.E. doesn’t really teach you how to live a healthy lifestyle. Lifetime teaches you different games to play. It forces you to live a healthy life while enrolled, but does not teach you how to continue that healthy lifestyle moving forward.

Performance has the same problem. It shows you how to lift weights, and keeps you prepared for sports. It doesn’t teach you anything about a healthy diet, or any activities other than weight lifting. Plus, each student is required to take multiple health classes in their school careers, all of which teach them healthful choices.  

Marching band, on the other hand, accomplishes everything that P.E. does, and more. In order to succeed in all aspects of life, both in the present and future, one must work hard, work well with others, and be a leader. Such skills are the foundations of everything we do in marching band. You have to truly commit, and never give up. Even if your exhausted, you keep going for the good of the band. But it’s not a one man show either. It takes every single person getting all their music and every set exactly right. There is no star player in band that carries the team. Everyone is counting on you, and you are counting on everyone. That means you have to communicate well and work well with everyone, whether you like them out not. And if someone doesn’t know what they’re doing, it is up to you to show them how, whether your a section leader or not. In these ways, marching band prepares you for life in the future, and provides adequate physical activity in the present, making a P.E. class unnecessary.