Drumline FAQ

Drumline FAQ

Your time at NIU will be life changing! Don’t let opportunities pass you by during your collegiate years. Through music, choreography, friendship, and exuberant displays of school pride, being a part of the Huskie Marching Band will enrich your days at Northern like no other experience can.

Is an audition required to join the drumline?
Auditions are required to join the NIU drumline, and they take place in April before the fall season starts.  To help you prepare for the audition, the NIU drumline holds spring clinics with percussion consultant Bret Kuhn.  These clinics are not required but are strongly recommended.

Who instructs the NIU drumline?
Bret Kuhn, who served for over twenty years on the percussion staff of The Cavaliers Drum Corps, supervises all marching percussion activities at NIU, which includes regular clinics with the HMB drumline.

Does Marching Band take up a lot of time?
HMB is a great way to invest your time.  Rehearsals are always productive, efficient, and fun.  The band rehearses 3 or 4 days per week for a total of seven hours, with drumline meeting an extra 2 hours one night per week.  Rehearsal times are late afternoon and evening to avoid conflicts with other classes.

Will my studies suffer for being in band?
No!  The network of experienced students you will meet can help you in your academics, and assist you in learning the “inside stuff” of campus life.  Many of our members are honor students in their own departments, and hold academic scholarships.

Do I have to be a Music Major?
No!  The majority of our band is not music majors.  Our members are people who love music, love marching, and love performing.

When is Band Camp?
Band Camp is required of all members. It starts one week before fall semester starts.

Can I move into my dorm room early?
Yes!  Because you are in the Marching Band, you can move into your dorm room or University Plaza room the day before Band Camp begins.

What instruments are used in the drumline?
The NIU drumline marches snares, tenors, basses and cymbals.  Like many college bands, we do not use pit percussion.

Are instruments provided?
Yes.  The Huskie Marching Band provides full drumline equipment for its members.

Do the snares play matched or traditional grip?
Our snares play traditional grip.  If you are unfamiliar with this style, you may want to consider auditioning on bass or tenor your first year.

What does it cost to be in the NIU drumline?
The only expenses for participating in drumline are for personal items, such as black marching shoes, drumline apparel, stick tape, and a three ring binder.

Do I receive academic credit for performing in the Huskie Marching Band?
Yes! All students must enroll in Marching Band (MUSC393A) and receive 1 credit hour each semester.  Drumline members receive an additional 1 credit hour for the extra drum club rehearsals.

What kind of show does the Huskie Marching Band perform?
Actually, the Huskie Band performs several new shows every season! Typically we perform 5 or 6 different shows — a new halftime show for each home football game. Show themes are designed to best entertain our audience while demanding creative choreography and showmanship from the band's members. Our show styles include jazz, rock `n roll, classical, ska, and movie soundtrack music.

Where does the Huskie Band perform?
We perform at all home football games, one away football game, a local parade, and a season-finale indoor concert. We also travel to post-season games, thanks to our winning football team.  Recent trips have included the Silicon Valley Bowl in California, playoff games at the site of Super Bowl XL, and dozens of games broadcast on national TV.

Do I have to pay for trips or do fund-raising to participate in Marching Band?
No! Your "cheese & sausage sales" and "car wash" days are over! All expenses for travel are paid for, plus we provide meals, or money for meals.

Are there other performance opportunities for me besides marching band?
Of course!  Here at Northern Illinois University, most of our ensembles are open to any student who wishes to participate, although some require an audition.  At NIU, each ensemble is an independent unit, so you can enroll in any one ensemble or several, the choice is yours!

Huskie Pep Band
Pep band meets both fall and spring semesters.  You can enroll for a single semester or both The pep band performs at Women’s Volleyball games, Men’s and Women’s Basketball games, as well as any post-season games.

All-University Band
The University Band is a concert band that meets once a week on Tuesday nights, and gives two concerts each semester.  No audition is required- just attend the first class meeting to sign up.  Many members of the Marching Band enroll in this class.

Other School of Music Ensembles
Any student may also audition for the Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Philharmonic Orchestra, or one of our many jazz bands.  Auditions take place during the first weekend before school starts.  Please visit the School of Music website for audition materials and specific details.