Marching Band Innovation
A recent innovation at Grove City College would be the marching band’s recent adoption of dot to dot marching. The Grove City College Wolverine Marching Band has recently made a transition from squad marching to dot to dot marching. Dot to dot marching is not an original idea, as many marching bands use this method, however it is a very innovative idea for the Grove City College Wolverine Marching Band who had utilized squad marching for many years.
In squad marching, the band moves in “squads,” or small groups. The band members stayed with their little squad for the entire show. Squad marching had the band making pinwheels, diagonals, and straight lines. With this style of marching the moves could be written in exactly as they happen in the music (forward, backward, right, left, etc). Also, band members could rely on one another to ensure correct spots, because members moved together as groups. More challenging song selections could be made because the moves were relatively simple. Additionally, percussion stayed in a block during squad marching.
Dot to Dot Marching
In dot to dot marching, there are dots on the field that are four steps off of each other in every direction. The dots are then used as reference points when learning the drill to aid the band members in finding the on-field positions. Dot to dot marching enables the band to form multiple complex shapes. In this year’s version of the Grove City College Wolverine Marching Band halftime show, the band forms shapes such as stars, triangles, circles, boxes, and more. Additionally, with dot to dot marching, band members move all over the field with positions beside a variety of different people. In dot to dot, each band member must be more sure of his or her own position on the field, as they are creating complex pictures and are not always necessarily in line with another band member. Also, with dot to dot, the percussion now move with the band.
I spoke with upperclassmen about their thoughts on the transition, and I received responses on both sides of the spectrum. Some people loved the transition and thought that it provided the band with a challenge, as the show was more complex and different than their previous shows. They seemed to really enjoy the fun shapes that the band now makes. Other people liked it because it was what they had done in high school and had known. On the other side of the spectrum were people who were not fans of dot to dot marching, as they thought it allowed the band to be sloppy because the shapes have room for error, caused poorer sound quality due to focusing on the moves, and forced the band to play easier music than previous years.
Overall the feedback seemed as though the band welcomes the new challenge of dot to dot, but misses the cleanness and more difficult music of squad marching.