The Ohio State University Marching Band Implements a Student Led iPad Program

The Ohio State University Marching Band Implements a Student Led iPad Program


As a 4 year member of the Ohio
State Marching Band I’ve seen a lot of the great things that we
do on the field, but also a lot of the things that we could
improve on, and one of the things that myself and my friend
Charlie king saw as band members was the massive amount of
paper that we use every year. It was like, what if we use
tablets instead of paper, and we had probably been talking about
something like this before because it’s extremely
frustrating, especially as someone that’s even a little bit
conservation minded to see all of the iterations, all of the
hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper that are printed. So we decided, you know what
if we made this work digitally since that’s where
everything is going anyway. And so as we developed our idea
more we set up a meeting, a presentation with the director,
assistant director, some people at the university, Digital
First, and some other people at the Arts and Sciences
department, and they really approved of the project, thought
it was a great idea and said “Let’s move forward,
let’s give it a try”. They came to me, Charlie and
Ryan, and said “We’ve got this great idea, we waste so much
paper around here” and I said I agree, tell me what the idea is
and they said “well, we can do everything on the iPad”. It was really remarkable to see
how well thought out they had this whole plan for the iPads,
from how they were gonna fund it, how it would be sustainable
over time, really how it would reduce waste in the band and
really to gain money back from the lack of having to
pay for paper or copying. It was really incredible to see
that two students brought that to us. We learn a new show every week,
we have a lot of new things coming out every week. Time is critical for
the marching band. We only have two hours every
day Monday through Friday for a given week to put out a show
that you see on a Saturday afternoon. And what we found was that
the iPad was so intuitive that students started innovating way
outside of the bounds of what we had envisioned originally. The squad leaders have thought
of things like videotaping the marching band during rehearsal,
a close up view of maybe how their picking up their feet or
snapping their turns, things that are really critical
and useful feedback. We found this drill software
that took in files from the drill writing software that our
directors already use, and turns them into this animated
drill that you get to watch. So this has been probably the
biggest innovation that we’ve seen in our project from what we
previously did in the marching band. It allows the band member to
select their own marcher, see their actual coordinate on
the field as the formation is transforming in front of them. You see everything unfold
right in front of you, which is something that we’ve never
ever been able to see. So on a Monday when we go out to
the field we already know what the sets look like, we already
know how the transitions look, things that we would
not get from paper. It’s gonna help the students
reduce the stress they have of learning that music, put out
better shows on Saturday, and improve the way that we do
things on and off the field. I’m really excited that we were
really able to leverage a whole team and resources across the
university who came together really quickly, and came
together because they wanted to help these students make
a possibility a reality. The students received a
Sustainability Grant that made it possible for them to buy the
technology and to save and to create a greener and more
renewable, sustainable environment. And so, we worked with the
Office of the Chief Information Officer, the College of
Business, College of Arts and Sciences and we worked with the
technology team to take a space in the stadium that did not have
internet access and turn it into a wireless access
point really quickly. Arts and Sciences technology
services played a role in defining what kind of profile
would be deployed to the iPads, we helped deploy all apps that
would be used with the band, and we also helped to deploy and
configure security on the iPads. I think the best thing overall
is that this was a student initiative and a student idea. And you know our motto around
here is tradition through innovation. And not only did they come
up with the idea, but they instituted the idea,
and made it work. It’s one thing to say “well,
I have an idea, we should do this”, and it’s a totally
different thing to take the leadership role and develop a
program and create this whole thing that has really
revolutionized everything that we do.

12 thoughts on “The Ohio State University Marching Band Implements a Student Led iPad Program

  1. Great students working together to achieve a great result! The work Ryan and Charlie have done is truely impressive and inspirational. Way to go guys!

  2. O-H!

  3. Great initiative hopefully it can be shared and incorporated to other collegiate, HS, and even professional [DCI] programs!

  4. I-O!

  5. yeah, but you can't put the ipad in your pocket, back of your shorts or in your bell, and you probably shouldn't hit your freshmen with it… ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I'm sure you could still hit people ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Actually, for bands that do a show a week where music on the lyre is almost mandatory (i know I couldn't memorize a whole show in a week, with other classes, homework, rehearsals, practicing, etc. etc…) do they use paper in the flip folders then? …i don't know anyone there now to ask directly.

  8. The OSUMB memorizes all of our music(about 5-6 full sheets) for every halftime show. We usually only have about 1 week to memorize the music and learn the marching drill. The iPads are great because they can reduce the amount of time spent on memorizing outside of normal band rehearsal hours.

  9. Thanks! I was a TA with the Faculty Brass Quintet during my masters at Mizzou and helped with the marching band some. They had similar schedules. Anyone bad at memorizing i'm sure would be helped by the ipad. Good luck, and great idea!!!!!
    But i'm only assuming you can put divots on the ipod for your spot, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. What is the drill app that they are using (around 2:08)?

  11. my University marching band Marshall University uses something like that

  12. Amazing!

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