Competitive marching band is a sport in which, participants in a fairly large team play several types of musical instruments, as they perform various routines while moving around, usually on a huge outdoor field.
Bands vary in size and typically use a combination of a variety of brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments. In competitions, each routine is judged based on several factors like, synchronization of moves, difficulty of drills, visual impact, and artistic interpretation, to decide the winner.
Most marching band competitions are conducted at the start of the fall season every year. Bands from various high schools compete in two national level circuits which are, Bands of America and the United States Scholastic Band Association (USSBA). The USSBA competitions registers participation from over 700 schools, of which 50 schools are selected to compete for a championship. Bands of America circuit conducts preliminary regional and super regional competitions to select 12 out of more than 90 participating schools. The final 12 teams eventually compete in a grand national championship, a four day event to decide the final champion for the season.
There are some international competitions conducted for the sport as well, of which the most notable is the World Championships event held annually during summer.
- Baton Twirling — a metal rod called a baton, is manipulated, while simultaneously making coordinated dance moves
- Winter Guard — an indoor sport of the color guard discipline in which teams perform several routines using supporting equipment to recorded background music.