The Ohio State University Marching Band

The Ohio State University Marching Band (often called The Best Damn Band in the Land or TBDBITL) performs at Ohio State football games and other events during the fall semester. The 225-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.

With a history dating back to the late 1800s, many marching band innovations were developed at Ohio State. Among them: 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to join the marching band, you must go through the tryout process. For more information on how to prepare for tryouts and the process itself, click here.

You will also need to register for the marching band course through BuckeyeLink. Incoming freshmen who are trying out for the band will want to register for the class during their orientation and then drop the class if necessary.

Music 2205.01, click here to learn more about class enrollment.

The hard work doesn’t end after tryouts! After you make the band, you must compete for your spot each week through the challenge process. Each member of the band has the possibility of being challenged by one of two alternates in their row (or from another row of the band if they play the same part). Challenges consist of a mini version of tryouts and whoever wins marches in the show that week.

You can get more information on our athletic band program or for information on ensembles within the School of Music, please visit their website at

Thanks to the support of both the university and our generous donors, the band member costs have reduced significantly. For the most updated information, please contact the band office at 614-292-2598 or email

No. You will be 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 started in 1928 and has remained virtually unchanged through the years.
  • 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 fifteen minutes before kickoff at home football games.
  • Nearly 10 million people have viewed the tribute to Michael Jackson halftime show.
  • The Marching Band uniforms are actually dark navy blue wool jacket and pants with white crossbelts, white gloves, and black shoes with white spats.
  • More than 400 hopefuls try out each summer for the Marching Band, for 225 spots.
  • The band first performed “Hang On, Sloopy!” in 1965.
  • Each band member practices approximately 30 hours per week during football season to learn the music and the field formations.
  • For a home-game, noon kickoff, band members must report to the field by 4:30 a.m.

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