Guidelines for Band Service at Athletic Events

Approved by the Montana Bandmasters Association

An affiliate of the Montana Music Educators Association, a state affiliate of MENC: the National Association for Music Education

The Montana Bandmasters Association believes instrumental music is an academic subject of primary importance. A school band program’s first responsibility is to provide a comprehensive music education to its students. Playing for athletic events is an important but secondary role. The MBA has developed the following guidelines to help band directors and administrators maintain a quality academic musical program while still preserving the band’s role as an athletic support group.

1 . Bands should not be required to perform for more than 16 preseason and regular season athletic events per year.

2 . Bands should not be required to play for more than two athletic events a week.

3 . Bands should not be required to perform at events where students or equipment could be in physical danger. This includes outside events during adverse weather conditions, and volleyball matches that pose serious injury and safety issues during warmup drills.

4 . Scheduling of performances at athletic events should be done with respect for student’s academic well-being, and also in deference to festivals, concerts, and assessments which are outgrowths of curricular study in the music classroom, or such things as semester testing in other academic areas.

5 . Bands should not be required to perform for athletic events during holiday vacations or educator convention weekend.

6 . Bands should not be required to play with less than adequate personnel to fill all necessary music parts because of student conflicts with other scheduled activities. As the music professional in the school, the band director should make this decision in collaboration with the school administrator.

7 . Bands should not be required to play for athletic contests or pep assemblies held in the three weeks prior to the MHSA District and State Music Festivals.

8 . The use of bands to play for tournament games during weekday afternoons and evenings should be evaluated with regard to: a) loss of school time for students, b) cost, c) weather conditions, and d) loss of instructional time to other classes taught by the pep band director.

9 . Bands should not be required to travel for Saturday morning tournament games.

10 . Bands should not be required to play for athletic events in which the home school is not a participant.

11 . Funding for pep bands should be the responsibility of the school district or the athletic department budgets, rather than diverting funds from the curricular music budget or requiring students to assume financial responsibility for pep band costs.

The Ridgeway Settlement Agreement states that band services shall be provided on a gender-equal basis and, “In satisfying this requirement and determining which performances are appropriate for band appearances, consideration shall be given to the functions and goals of the music program as an independent activity.” While bands have historically provided entertainment at school events, the expansion of school athletic activities since the mid 1970’s has made it impossible for bands to perform at all such events without compromising the primary purpose of curricular music instruction. These guidelines represent a balanced approach which preserves the entertainment component of the pep band without exploiting student musicians or their instructors.

Original Draft Oct. 1985. Revised Dec. 2001.