• Home
  • Marching Jayhawks General Info

General Information/FAQ

Big K formation

General Information

Drumline performerThere is nothing quite like the experience of a large university marching band! At KU, we play a wide variety of music: different halftime shows for almost every home game, energizing music in the stands, and a pregame show that is rich in tradition and college pageantry. We’re here to entertain the crowd, support the team, and HAVE A GOOD TIME!

Membership in the Marching Jayhawks is open to all students enrolled at the University of Kansas. Non-music majors are welcome and encouraged to join! Instrumental Music Education majors (band emphasis) are required to have one semester of marching band completed before graduation. The minimum prerequisite for membership in the Marching Jayhawks is two years prior marching experience (high school marching band, college marching band, or drum & bugle corps). Exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Marching Jayhawks march the following instruments/sections: piccolo, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, mellophone (horn), trombone, baritone, sousaphone (tuba), snare drum, tenor drums, bass drum, cymbals, colorguard (flags), and twirler.

We perform at all home football games, select away games, and post-season championship and bowl games when eligible. The University provides all travel expenses.

Marching band is a class at KU, and students may receive one credit hour for BAND 210/410 (BAND 210 is for freshman and sophomores, and 410 is for juniors and seniors). Normal rehearsals are held from 3:45 to 5:45 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the fall semester – this is less than many other college bands! Additional rehearsals are held on game days.


Frequently Asked Questions

Mascot in Jayhawk costume posing with Twirler

Do I have to be music major to participate in the Marching Jayhawks?
No! In fact, a vast majority of the band are NOT music majors! We are comprised of a diverse student population, and many of our students view marching band as their social “break” from their classes. Over eighty different majors are represented in the band, so chances are very likely that someone is already in the band and studying your desired curriculum.

Do I play well enough to be a member of the KU Bands?
You bet! Auditions are required for colorguard, drumline, and twirler in the Marching Jayhawks, but there are no auditions required for the woodwinds and brasses in the Marching Jayhawks, just prior experience in your high school band or equivalent playing experience. While the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band have an audition requirement, the University Band is open to all students without an audition.

How much time will I have to commit to be a member of the marching band?
We rehearse for two hours a day, three times a week during the fall semester, plus game day rehearsals/performances. While this may appear as a lot of time, it is actually less of a daily commitment than many other college bands. And, many students don’t realize just how much free time they have in their schedule while at college. It’s not just about classes!

How many performances are on the Marching Band schedule? We play at all home football games and often take at least one trip. The band also hosts and performs an annual marching festival, the School of Music Collage Concert, and various pep rallies and campus events.

How do I join the marching band?
See the “How to Join” page on this website!

What should I do if I have a class conflict with Marching Band?
If the conflict cannot be avoided, contact Dr. Smith, director of the Marching Jayhawks.

Are there any costs to join the band?
There is a band activity fee due at band camp ($175 for returning members, $200 for new members). Additional costs may include a flip folder (which you probably already have), marching shoes, and dry cleaning during the season. Information on these fees will be available to band members in the summer. The band provides meals on game days, all travel expenses, and a variety of adidas apparel as part of our sharp image! 

Are there any KU Band scholarships available?
The University of Kansas Office of Admissions and Scholarships offers various scholarships. For more information, please visit their website ».

The University of Kansas School of Music also offers music scholarships to incoming music majors. These scholarships require an audition with the applied faculty member on your instrument. Please visit the KU School of Music website for additional information.

How do I join the Basketball and Volleyball Pep Bands?
Participation in the Pep Bands is limited to fall semester marching band members. There is no audition for the Volleyball Band. Auditions for the basketball bands are held during the fall semester prior to the beginning of the basketball season.

Marching Band entering the football field

Why should I join the Marching Jayhawks?​
Many students claim that joining the Marching Jayhawks was the BEST DECISION OF THEIR COLLEGE CAREER! You will meet lifelong friends, be a part of a great tradition of collegiate athletics, and have a fantastic experience (i.e., FUN)!

What if I am not a KU student?
Contact Dr. Smith for your options! Students who attend a regional community college or Haskell Indian Nations University can also participate in the Marching Jayhawks.

School of Music Calendar
Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.