When you join the Marching Scarlet Knights, you join an organization with students from many places, backgrounds, and majors. Listed below are some of the most common questions we hear from prospective members. Of course, if your question is not listed below, we encourage you to ask us through our "Contact Us" page, our email , or over the phone at (848) 445-4833.
Click a question to jump to its answer.
Do I have to be a music major to join the band?
You do not have to be a music major to be in the Marching Scarlet Knights. In fact, the majority of the band is made up of non-music majors. There are approximately 50 different majors represented in the entire ensemble.
Do I have to attend Rutgers to join the band?
To join the Marching Scarlet Knights, one must only attend a college or university in New Jersey. Since the program is the only one of its kind in the state, we open up membership to any NJ student who wishes to have a college marching experience. There are numerous non-Rutgers students in the band who love the activity enough to commute to Rutgers for rehearsals and game days.
What is the schedule like?
The band rehearses on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 5pm to 7pm on Busch campus. We perform at home football games, which are on Saturdays. Game days typically span from mid morning to the evening, though our call time and end time depend on time of kickoff and the length of the game.
Over the summer there will be several summer rehearsals as well as student run sectionals. If you are on vacation during a rehearsal or sectional, you can still join! Attendance for summer rehearsals is required for those who are currently in the state. Band camp is mandatory for all members, and takes place in late August.
Will I have time for both band and my academics?
While participation in the band requires a significant time commitment, balancing band and studying is very achievable. For freshmen, class scheduling tends to be very flexible, which is why even students with more streamlined majors such as engineering can fit band in their schedules. You can also note your participation in the band on your Academic Planning and Advising day form. Additionally, being in a college marching band is a great way to improve time management, which is a necessary skill to have for achieving high grades.
Is there an audition?
There is no formal audition to join the Marching Scarlet Knights. If you want to join the band and can make the commitment, we would love to have you!
What performance opportunities are there?
The band performs at every home game both on the field and in the stands. We also send small groups of students to away games to play in the stands. The selection of these students is based on instrumentation and seniority. We also perform at various high school exhibitions. The ensemble occasionally is asked to perform at high profile events, such as playing for former vice president Joe Biden at an on campus event this past season. Other significant past performances include Super Bowl XLVIII, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Are there any commitments after the fall semester?
In the spring, the band performs at two on campus events: The Scarlet-White spring football game and the Rutgers Day parade. At the Scarlet-White game, we invite any interested members to come perform in the stands with us and get a small taste of what it’s like to be in a college marching band.
Do you need to have previous marching experience to join the band?
You do not need to have any previous marching experience to join the Marching Scarlet Knights. While it doesn’t hurt to have marched in high school, all new members will learn commands and techniques that are new, regardless of past experience.
How much music do you need to memorize?
The ensemble memorizes all show music. This includes our traditional pregame show, which remains the same each game, and all halftime shows, which vary across the season. In the stands, we use flip folders to hold our stand tunes.
Is it hard learning multiple shows in a single season?
While most new members are likely used to learning a single show for an entire season, the transition to learning new halftime shows each week is very smooth. This is because our shows are designed to entertain a crowd of football fans as opposed to a panel of judges. While our musical and visual standards are at a collegiate level, our shows have much less pages of drill than a typical high school show, and the music we play is familiar, which makes it easier to memorize. While learning a new show each week does require focus and efficient use of rehearsal time, it is no impossible task for new members.
What marching style do you use?
We use a traditional corps style straight-leg step.
What is band camp like?
Band camp takes places in late August, during which the band rehearses music, learns drill, and puts together the first show of the season. In recent years, we have gone away for camp. In addition to rehearsals, there are fun events organized at night such as a talent show and an ice cream social to meet others in the band. While band camp requires hard work, it is an extremely fun bonding experience, and is necessary for the band to achieve the level of excellence that is expected of us in the Big 10 conference.
What is game day like?
On game days, we have a shortened rehearsal prior to our first performance of the day, the Scarlet Walk, where we play stands tunes and show music for our fans outside of the stadium. After the Scarlet Walk and a lunch break, we march into the Stadium and set up for our pregame performance. After we march on to the field and perform pregame, we take our place in the stands to play throughout the game. We then perform our halftime show before playing in the stands again during the second half. After the game, we arc up and give a postgame performance, which includes the traditional “Loyal Sons”.
Are there any financial obligations?
The only obligations come at the very beginning of the season, which is a uniform fee and an instrument fee (if one is renting a school instrument).
The instruments we have available for rental are piccolo, tenor saxophone, mellophone, baritone, trombone, sousaphone, percussion, and color guard. Instruments are signed out with the Equipment Manager.
Are there any scholarships available?
If you are a Mason Gross student participating in the band, you will receive a scholarship each season you are a member. All second year students and above receive a stipend at the end of the season, regardless of major. Additionally, there are a few scholarships handed out to exceptionally hard working members of the band at the end of the season.
Why should I join?
Being in a Big 10 marching band is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will positively affect your college experience in ways beyond just rehearsals and game days. It’s a fantastic way to meet people outside of your residence hall or major, and builds friendships that last beyond your time at school. Staying involved in college can be tough, so what better time to start than before classes even begin? Being in the band also provides various opportunities to seek out leadership roles that provide great experience.
Regardless of past marching experience, there is nothing quite like marching into a college football stadium with tens of thousands of fans watching your performance. The Marching Scarlet Knights are a one of a kind organization in New Jersey.
How do I join?
Contact Us if you have any additional questions.