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What Is a Pep Band?

By Terrie Brockmann
Updated: May 23, 2024

Pep bands are specialty musical groups whose goals are to promote school spirit, entertain school sports event audiences, and encourage the school athletes. Generally, colleges and schools, such as middle or high schools, have pep bands to support their football, basketball, and certain other athletic teams. Many pep bands are set up as clubs, and certain members serve as president, vice president, and treasurer.

A pep band's goal is to energize the students at games and game-related functions, such as pep rallies. Sometimes pep bands can offer a degree of crowd control by the selection of music that they play. Another goal is to entertain the game attendees before and after the game, which can also be a form of crowd control.

Typically, a pep band plays longer pieces of music before the game, during any intermission or long break, and after the game while the crowd is exiting the facility. During the event, the band plays shorter, peppier pieces called cheers. Bands select the music pieces during their rehearsal meetings.

Some of the events that pep bands frequently play at include ball games and pep rallies. Often pep bands enter floats in a homecoming parades or other parades to provide musical entertainment for the parade onlookers. Sometimes they play at other school-sponsored events. The main goal of the band is to promote school spirit, and a band may participate in several events to meet this goal.

Members of a pep band often play at more events than other school bands. Frequently, the band may play at several different games during a week. In contrast, the typical concert band plays only a few times per year. Pep bands play at each home game during the regular season and travel to away games during tournaments and other important games.

Whereas other school bands tend to be formal, the pep band's personality is usually casual. Uniforms may consist of matching shirts, such as inexpensive T-shirts, and jeans. Often members need to supply their own musical instruments. Some pep bands at larger schools have more resources and may supply instruments. Many times band members hold fundraisers to raise money for away-game expenses and other obligations.

Generally, a pep band's members are selected from other school bands. Occasionally, bands may seek their members from the faculty, alumni, or community, especially if the school is small and the selection is limited. Often the conductor is a senior who has previous pep band experience.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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