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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. It is one of the few all-brass and percussion bands in the country, perhaps the largest of its type in the world.

Photo Credit: THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH. Originally Published: 9/3/2010

Each fall more than 400 student-musicians compete for one of the 225 open slots in the band. Every member must try out each year. Students who have not made the band before are required to attend “Candidate Days.” This is a two-day event that compresses everything learned during the Summer Sessions into two eight-hour practices. Following “Candidate Days” begin the two days of actual try-out audition sessions. Drill and fundamentals are judged and scored by the row squad leaders, with oversight from the directing staff.

Music auditions are heard by School of Music faculty assisted by well-known instructors with other college or high school bands or drum and bugle corps instructors from the area. Most of the brasswind auditions are heard by the School of Music brass staff, while the percussion is heard by both School of Music staff as well as those with drum and bugle corps staff experience. Music and marching are judged equally and satisfactory grades in both areas are necessary. The directing staff has final say on all members who make the band. Roughly 25% of candidates will be cut from the band roster in the afternoon on the 2nd day of tryouts. The remaining candidates will go through one more tryout session before the final decision on the band block is made. Candidates report to the Steinbrenner Band Center later that evening for what has become known as “Make the Band Night.” During “Make the Band Night,” all candidates who have not been cut in earlier in the day will assemble in the main rehearsal hall and listen quietly as the director reads the names of who made the band in order of their rows. Everyone then exits the room quietly, in respect to those who did not make that year.

For those students who did not make the marching band, there are many opportunities to continue playing their instrument for the University. Ohio State is proud to have one of the largest Athletic Band programs in the country. Musicians perform for the Ohio State Men’s and Women’s basketball games, Men’s Hockey, Women’s Volleyball and other concerts. For more information about the OSU Athletic Bands, please click here.


Script Ohio
Ramp Entrance
Drum Major
Skull Session