The “Real” Cost of High School Marching Band?

It’s no secret in the marching arts community that participation and competitive experiences don’t come cheap. Students and parents are very familiar with band fees, scrip, fundraisers ad booster budgets. But what does it all add up to?

Business website Bloomberg recently published an article claiming to have quantified “The Real Cost of High School Marching Band” at $7,110.77. The sum includes things such as an instrument, clothing, medical supplies, fundraisers, and travel expenses for Bands of America Grand Nationals and the Tournament of Roses Parade.

From the story:

                “Being in a marching band takes more than coordination and stamina.

·         $550.00: Band membership fee

·         $400.00: Spring concert season fee

·         $700.00: Private lessons (minimum amount; half-hour sessions, once per week for 28 weeks)”

The article has been criticized by some readers as being not representative of the average band member’s experience, and not detailed enough in sourcing or specifying which costs come from individual students and families as opposed to the band budget.

Sources listed in the story included the Avon (Indiana) High School Marching Band,, summer camps at Auburn and Florida State Universities, and private teachers and students in New Jersey and Indiana.

Check out the story and let us know, what do you think? Was your experience similar to the one detailed in the story? Are the costs listed fair and accurate? Is this kind of summary and statistics helpful to the marching community?

About author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.