Tips to Survive Band Camp

The excitement of that first half-time show is just around the corner. The fight song flows through your head, and the drum cadence affects your step, though it’s not yet playing. First, there is band camp! Just as the school’s football team has its pre-season training, so the marching band takes a period, prior to the start of school, to condition and practice for the shows and competitions to come. 

Otherwise known as band camp, this pre-season training is every bit as important to the band student. With the heat of summer, and the quickly-approaching, first football game, the endurance of every student-musician will come into play, affecting the quality of half-time performances, and competitions. In fact, many marching band programs provide students with physical education credits, as well. The demands of band camp are both musical, and physical, and it’s essential to come prepared in both respects.

~Nutrition and Hydration

Because of the physical elements of band camp, you must come with plenty of water, and some healthy snacks. While some band camps are morning only events, others are all day activities. Depending on your schedule, snacks may be sufficient, or a light lunch may be necessary. Fruits, and light foods are perfect.  Don’t overeat, but keep light snacks handy to boost your energy through the day. Drink plenty of water.  Skip the chips and sodas. Although these may taste better to you, they are apt to lead to dehydration.

~Comfortable Clothing

Wear comfortable clothing, as you will be doing a lot of moving about. Shorts and a t-shirt are perfect. Make sure your sneakers are in good shape, and tied.  Skip the slouchy looking shoes and clothes that may lead to blisters and chafing.

~Sun Protection

Wear plenty of sunscreen, and bring more with you.  The active portion of band camp takes place outdoors, and it’s easy to ignore the effects of the sun, until it’s too late. Wear a lip balm that has sun block, as well.  It’s never fun to play a wind or brass instrument with cracked lips, after all.  Wear a hat that will provide some additional sun protection.

~Instruments and Supplies

Bring your instrument, and any relevant supplies.  Clarinet, oboe and sax players, make sure you have reeds.  Cleaning cloths may not be essential at band camp, but if you haven’t touched your instrument all summer, you might want to do a little touch up cleaning.  Have a tote, backpack, or messenger bag for your music, and bring pencils and a notebook, for keeping any important information handy.


During your band camp week, make sure that you get plenty of rest each night.  The effects of the sun, and physical activity, will take a toll, especially if you’ve been inactive during the summer.  Make up for this with a decent sleep schedule.

Band camp is an exciting time, in spite of the physical demands that accompany.  You will renew old friendships, while establishing some new ones, as well.   Sitting in the stands during the first football game, you will no doubt be overcome with the excitement that kicks up when the school fight song plays, and when you’re part of it!  That first half-time show will be the culmination of your band camp preparation, but only the beginning of the season’s performances.  There is so much fun ahead, and band camp made the difference!