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Is Marching Band Worthy of a Physical Education Credit?

October 19, 2016

Most colleges still require students to participate in an active and healthy lifestyle through physical education. Often times, collegiate athletes can forgo this option, given that they are participating in intense amounts of physical activity throughout his/her season. But there is one group that is often overlooked when deciding what activities fulfill the physical education requirement: the marching band.

Marching Band Has Many Benefits

Though it has been proven that collegiate marching band members take an average of 13,988 steps on game day and 8338 steps on non-game days (on a practice day, for example), some people are still resisting the idea of marching band counting as physical education. There is no argument that a drum line member is exerting energy equivalent to a workout. The argument lies in the type of instruction a student receives in an educational setting rather than a practice setting: physical activity vs. physical education.

Physical Activity vs. Physical Education

One of the main arguments against marching band being counted as a P.E. credit is that it doesn’t physically educate students like sports like football does. That it is purely a physical activity.

But like any other sport that can be counted as a physical activity, students participating in marching band not only increase their heart healthiness, fat burn, and overall activity level for a healthier life, but learn many of the same concepts offered in a physical education course:

Requirements Vary from College to College

Across the country, colleges are considering this idea as a way to cut down on costs (staffing, equipment, etc.) through comparison to other sports which exempts students from taking a physical education course.

Dartmouth, for example, allows all:

  • Varsity-level athletes and managers to receive credit as long as they are participating
  • Club sport members receive 3 credits for their participation
  • Marching band members receive 1 credit for participation

Cornell University allows all students performing in marching band to be waived of the physical education requirement. There is currently no statutes or laws in place to hold all colleges to the same level – therefore it is solely based on the discretion of the school itself.

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