Using Microphones to Amplify the Band

Question: What are the specifics of using sound amplification during the marching band show? Are there any time constraints? I am very “old school” and believe that using amplifiers should be limited to soloists only and then only when they are performing the solo. I am finding more and more schools using amplifiers for great lengths of time – some for entire songs! Some have even left the mic on for the whole show, thus hearing the band through the speakers which in turn gives a false sense of “sound” and sometimes will take away from the “marching band experience” if the sound becomes distorted. Thoughts?

Answer: First, there are no rules or time constraints as far as how long you can use amplification. It’s a design choice that the director and staff have chosen for a specific purpose. I’ve seen some bands in the past that have showcased some absolutely phenomenal individual players throughout the program. However, when that method is continually utilized, there is the risk of a perceived lack of variety in the program. Additionally, for those groups who choose to leave the mics on for the entire performance, not only does it create a distorted sound but also carries a risk of causing timing issues within the ensemble.

– Mark Culp