Creating and maintaining a marching band program requires a lot of time, energy and equipment! This guide will lay out some of the key marching band instruments, accessories, software and other items you need to keep your program in tip-top shape.

Marching Instruments

The cornerstone of every marching band is, of course, marching instruments! From drums to brass to the front ensemble, stocking your band with high-quality instruments will provide your students with the best equipment to achieve great sound and thrill the audience.

Marching Drums

No marching band would be complete without percussion. The drumline is an exciting element for the audience and has a critical role: keeping time. A marching band depends on its rhythm to stay in step and to manage the timing of maneuvers. The foundation of a marching percussion section is made up of the bass drums, snares and tenors. Here are some recommendations for top marching drums. 

Bass Drums

Pearl Championship Maple Marching Bass Drum

Yamaha Power-Lite Marching Bass Drum with Carrier


Yamaha 9300 Series SFZ Marching Snare Drum

Sound Percussion Labs Marching Snare Drum with Carrier


Pearl Championship Maple Marching Tenor Drums Quad

Tama Marching Starlight Marching Tenor Drums Quad with Carrier

Marching Brass

Marching brass instruments are specially designed to be played while moving. The key difference between concert brass horns and their marching counterparts is that the bell faces forward to project sound forward rather than over the player's shoulder. Marching brass instruments tend to be sturdier and more resistant to wear and tear than their concert versions. You’ll often see sousaphones, marching baritones and mellophones in a marching band program. Here are some great options.


King 2350 Series Brass BBb Sousaphone

Jupiter Qualifier Series Fiberglass BBb Sousaphone

Marching Baritones

Yamaha YBH-301M Series Marching Bb Baritone

Blessing BM-311 Marching Series Bb Marching Baritone


Adams MM1 Series Marching F Mellophone

King 1121 Ultimate Series Marching F Mellophone

Front Ensemble Instruments

The front ensemble of a marching band consists of the stationary percussion instruments like marimbas, vibraphones and xylophones. The front “pit” is a logistically complicated area and many members play multiple instruments and may also play or operate other instruments, props or pieces of equipment. 


Majestic 4.3-Octave Deluxe Series Marimba

Musser M300 / M360 / M7360 Classic Grand 4.3 Octave Kelon Marimba


Adams Concert Series 3.0 Octave Vibraphone

Yamaha 3-Octave Standard Silver Vibraphone


Sound Percussion Labs 2-2/3 Octave Xylophone

Yamaha Standard Padauk Xylophone

Marching Band Music

After marching band instruments, the next thing you clearly can’t live without is music! Nothing creates a better half-time program or marching band competition show than heart-pounding, hand-clapping, crowd-inspiring music. We’ve got sheet music and scores for every instrument, style and playing level. Browse our massive selection of music and see what inspires you.


Marching programs are complicated systems that use intricate electronics to make the most of all the elements. So even though marching bands are loud, directors often still need to investigate PA Systems, speakers and mixers to run everything on the field. Luckily, there is a wide selection of electronics made to fit any budget.

PA systems

There is an abundance of wireless systems available these days from all of the top pro audio brands like Shure, Audio-Technica, Sennheiser and many more. No matter the size of your performance space, you’ll be able to find a system that works for you. If you need help with this aspect of your program, give us a call at 800.346.4448 and our experts can help you select the best system for your marching band’s needs. Or you can read up on the topic with our Band Director’s Guide to Field Audio.


Speakers will help project your band’s sound to all corners of the performance space and ensure that all elements and instruments can be heard over the louder and deeper instruments, plus the external noise of the audience and other activity. Powered PA speakers, unpowered PA speakers, portable speakers – we’ve got them all from top brands like Yamaha, Behringer, Peavy and more.


Control every element of the sound coming out of your speakers with our wide selection of mixers. Stick with time-tested analog mixers or dive into automation with the latest digital mixers from Yamaha, Presonus and more.


If you and your team are writing drills for your program, software like Pyware will be indispensable to you. This software is the leader in drill design technology and lets band directors design their own field show plus share it with staff, students or clients. There are several different versions of Pyware, from basic all the way up to a professional level – check them all out to see what’s right for you.


Your drum major or field commander needs to be front, center and above all, well, ABOVE the field! The best way to achieve this is a great podium to elevate that position so that everyone can see the leader. Choose from something as small and mobile as the Bearcat 24-inch Drum Major Podium all the way up to the massive Bearcat 6-foot Drum Major Podium - whatever is best for your program and performance sites.


Synthetic Reeds

You know how finicky cane reeds are in the best of conditions, let alone on a hot, humid day or a stormy summer evening. That’s why synthetic reeds are a great option for your marching woodwind players. Synthetic reeds have greatly improved over the years and are perfect for marching programs since they’re impervious to temperature and moisture. Check out excellent synthetic reeds from Legere, Fibracell and Rico.

Brass Lubricants

Brass marching band instruments need significant care and cleaning to keep them in top playing condition. Make sure your program is stocked with brass lubricants like rotary oils, trombone slide treatments, tuning slide grease and valve oils to properly care for everything from trumpets to sousaphones and trombones to baritones.

Flip Folders

Help your students keep their music organized and properly displayed while they are practicing, rehearsing and performing with high-quality flip folio folders.

Need More Direction?

Marching band programs are intricate and complicated, and are incredibly rewarding to create and maintain. But, they are a ton of work! Let us help you select the best instruments, accessories, music and equipment for your program – call us today at 800.346.4448 or visit our Educator Website to get great educator discounts on everything you need for your marching band. We’ve also got a library of Music Technology Resources that can provide additional guidance for everything from amps to microphones and more. We’re ready to help in any way we can.