Determining Your Repertoire – Show length

If you’ve studied music education in the past 10 years you probably have heard of the K.I.S.S. acronym. This meaning: Keep It Simple Stupid. When I was a music education student I didn’t exactly appreciate the tone of this acronym; however there is plenty of wisdom in keeping things simple.

What is the minimum length of show required by your state?

Most states require marching band shows to be at 7:30 minutes. Perfect! Once you select your musical repertoire you can and should make a playlist of the pieces back to back and get that total time down to exactly 7:30. Music programs like Audacity or Garage Band can help you cut and paste as you see fit. As an added bonus if you use a program like that you can come out with the entire 7:30 minute show in one .mp3 which you can then send to guard folks to begin choreography planning and to your drill writer.

FALSE: Shorter shows means your band isn’t going to be competitive

There are directors and drill writers out there who may claim that more drill charts = a better show. In many cases however, the exact opposite is true. A shorter show means:

  • Less work for you to teach
  • Less work to clean
  • Less work to make changes to
  • Less work for the students to learn
  • Less work for the students to remember

In every way, keeping your show on the shorter side will help make your season go by much easier and allow you and your students to actually enjoy putting the show together and cleaning it. Fewer dots, less pages, less music.

As your drill writer I will write to any maximum number of pages you request. In fact often writing a show that is at 20 pages is more challenging and rewarding than doing a show with 60+ pages. And I’d be willing to bet in ALL cases, a show of 20 pages is a lot easier on the director than 60+ 🙂

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