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The Benefits of Using a Custom Marching Band Show

Updated: Jun 9

“Custom written marching band shows cost more money. I just don’t think it is cost effective for my program.” I hear this a lot as a composer and arranger. And believe me, I get it. As a former band director, I always wanted to make sure that we were very careful with our money. Which is why I still believe custom shows are the most cost effective and beneficial for any program-- large or small.


Picture by: Anna Bratton

I won’t deny that oftentimes custom shows are more expensive, but let’s break down the benefits to a custom show over a stock show.


  1. Customized- Obviously, the #1 reason that they benefit your program is they are completely customized to your needs. Tailor-made. Your numbers- check. Your ability levels- check. Your instrumentation- check. You name it, the arranger can write for that specific need. You can rest assured that your needs are taken care of because the show was written with them in mind rather than reactively adapting a piece that was made for the ideal program. Which brings me to benefit #2.

  2. Edits- If anything changes or does not work as you begin the teaching process, you have direct access to the writer, who can edit as you go. Let’s say the first ten measures of the opener’s range were too difficult for your first trumpets...There’s no fear in that, the arranger can go in and fix that as necessary. Some arrangers will charge extra for edits, but the best part of custom shows is that there are lots of arrangers, so you have lots of packages and prices that you can research to fit your needs--which we will talk about next week.

  3. Other Design Team Members- Creating a custom show is truly a collaborative process. You build a team that wants the best for your program and is willing to work to make it happen. You get to decide how involved you need or want each member to be, and if you need recommendations for other team members, your arranger has a plethora of people from their network to help you with that!

  4. Ease- You don’t have to worry about finding a show that “fits your program.” Instead, you simply decide what you want to do and collaborate with an arranger. This frees up a lot of space and time to focus on show design, details, and teaching. Instead of worrying about how to fix things that don’t work, you get to focus on your students. That alone is worth it-- your time and your students’ time is priceless.


There are plenty of arrangers to go around, which is a huge advantage for you! That means multiple price points and price packages. With a little research, you can definitely find someone who fits your budget and program needs.



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