Marching Band

The Ohio State University Marching Band earned its name as The Best Damn Band in the Land by developing many famous marching band innovations, including floating and animated formations, script writing, and the fast cadence with a high knee lift. The band’s Script Ohio is considered by many to be the most memorable tradition in college band history.

Carrying on the tradition of excellence that dates back to the late 1800s, the 228-piece “Pride of the Buckeyes” is one of the few college all-brass-and-percussion bands in the U.S. and is acknowledged as the largest of its type in the world. An ensemble that includes student members from all over the country, the OSUMB strives to continue a legacy of hard work, determination and Buckeye pride while performing at Ohio State football games and other events during the fall semester.

Ohio State Marching Band drum major

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I join the Marching Band?

The Ohio State University Marching Band is open to all students eligible to enroll at Ohio State or a membership institution of the Higher Education Council of Columbus (HECC). In order to join the Marching Band, you must go through the tryout process. Learn more about tryouts and the tryout process.

You will also need to register for the marching band course (Music 2205.01). Incoming freshmen who intend to try out for the band are advised to register for the class during their orientation and then drop the class if necessary.

What happens after I make the band?

The hard work doesn't end after tryouts! Band members typically spend 10 hours a week at rehearsal, plus time outside of rehearsal to practice and memorize music. If performing at a football game, band members are expected to arrive six hours before kickoff.

Each week, alternates have the opportunity to challenge a regular member on the same insturment and part for a spot in the performing squad. Each member of the band can potentially be challenged by one of the two alternates of their same instrument and part. Challenges, which occur on a weekly basis, are a condensed version of tryouts. The successful student will march in the upcoming performance.

How can I stay involved with Ohio State bands if I don’t make the OSUMB?

The School of Music, of which the Marching and Athletic Bands program is a part, has a variety of bands open to students of all skill levels.

Our Athletic Band is open to woodwind, brass and percussion players and offers students the opportunity to play at a variety of athletics events, including men's and women's basketball, men's ice hockey, men's volleyball and football's annual Spring Game. The Athletic Band also travels around the country for postseason tournaments. No audition is required.

What is the cost to be in the band?

Band members are responsible only for the purchase of a white dress shirt, black shoes, blazer and black dress pants. Thanks to the support of both the university and our generous supporters, all other costs are covered. For more information, please contact the band office at 614-292-2598 or

Do I need to use my own instrument for marching band?

Band members are supplied with both a practice and a game instrument for use during the marching season.

Interesting Facts

  • Edwin “Tubby” Essington was the Marching Band’s first strutting drum major.
  • In 1936, John W. Brungart of Coshocton with the first person to dot the “i.”
  • The famous ramp entrance was first used in 1928 and has remained virtually unchanged since then.
  • To be eligible to dot the “i,” a sousaphone player must be at least a fourth-year band member.
  • The Skull Session always starts two hours and 10 minutes before kickoff at home football games.
  • The Marching Band jacket and pants are actually dark navy blue, with white crossbelts, white gloves, and black shoes with white spats.
  • The band first performed “Hang On, Sloopy!” in 1965.
  • Each band member practices 20-30 hours per week during football season to learn the music and the field formations.
  • Band members typically report six hours before kickoff for home games — meaning 6 a.m. or earlier for a noon kickoff.