Marching Band Team Building Exercises

By Leah Shiota

Updated September 22, 2017

Marching band members need to listen, be in sync and cooperate with one another.
i marching band image by Christopher Corgiat from

Much like a family, a marching band needs a unique bond accented with mutual respect and the ability to compromise in order for them to work together well. Team-building exercises can strengthen a band's rapport and help them polish their cooperation skills as well as their musical skills.

The Human Knot

The Human Knot is a popular "ice breaker" exercise that consists of dividing the marching band into smaller groups (preferably in groups of 10 to get more complicated "knots) and having each group stand in a circle. Each group must extend their arms into the circle and grab the hands of two different people. Each group must then work together to untie the "knot" while being unable to let go of the hands of their partners. The winning team is the group who unties their knot first. This exercise is designed to reinforce the importance of teamwork, communication and working well under pressure.

Adjective Name Game

This introductory game consists of the entire marching band standing in a circle and each member taking a turn saying their name and an adjective that describes their personality which starts with the the same letter as their name. For example, if the band member's name is "Chad," he may introduce himself with: " Hi. I'm cool Chad." Each member must remember and recite all of the names that have gone before them as well as the unique adjective that was used by each person. This game not only allows each band member to express their personality, it is also good for memorization, focus and listening skills.

Zip Zap Zop

Zip Zap Zop is a competitive yet fun rhythmic game that establishes an element of focus, competition and coordination skills among a group. The game starts by gathering the marching band in a large circle. One member of the band points to another member within the circle and says " Zip," to which the member must reply "Zap" and look at a different member, who retorts by saying " Zop" and looks at a different member. The game continues in this fashion until a member hesitates or breaks the rules by saying the wrong word out of order. A player who makes a mistake is out, and the winner is the last member of the band standing.