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March ‘Em Off to Class: Back to School Season and Marching Band Instrument Sales

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Survey
• Created: August 8, 2017

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With nearly 40 percent of participants in this survey claiming that “Back to School” business accounts for between 50 to 100 percent of their total annual sales of marching band related gear, it’s safe to say this season is a crucial one for those retailers heavily invested in this segment.

While there wasn’t any one, single theme that seemed to unite our poll’s respondents – it was a predictable mix of “the usual” (internet competition, school district budget challenges, hit-or-miss instrument quality levels) – one interesting factoid emerged: over half (50.5 percent) participating in this month’s survey indicated that accessories account for the greatest amount of marching band-related sales during the Back to School months. Let’s hope everyone’s stocked up on clip-on tuners, cleaning materials, drum sticks, and the like.

Read on to learn more about what’s driving Back to School, marching band gear sales…

Are there any larger trends you’ve been noticing with respect to marching band-related gear sales?

“Blast local social media with welcome back and band camp specials.”

Paul Lewis

Lewis Music Store

Kissimmee, Florida


“Facebook and Google.”

Dana Treidel

Bethel Music Center

Bethel, Connecticut


“Booths at marching band shows”

Scott Mandeville

Tim’s Music

Carmichael, California


“On-site sales at schools.”

Avi Rostov

Click Music, LLC

Oak Harbor, Washington


“Unfortunately the school marching band and percussion instructors do not keep us informed of their needs for the season, so it is difficult to carry the products they sent their students to purchase.”

Jim Lase

Universal Music Ct.

Thornton, Colorado


“In our case, we sell very few marching instruments to students. Most are sold direct to schools, and not during marching season.”

Kerry Gheesling

Atlanta Band Center

Stone Mountain, Georgia


“June ‘17 sales of marching brass and percussion were our best in three years. Additionally, we have a rosy sales outlook for July.”

Robert Christie

A&G Central Music, Inc.

Madison Heights, Michigan


“Schools [are] providing more instruments to students for free of charge usage, not ownership.”

Paul Durand

Family Piano Company

Waukegan, Illinois


“Acrylic reeds are coming on bigger this year.”

Paul Lewis

Lewis Music Store

Kissimmee, Florida


“Following DCI’s lead, they are incorporating more electronics into the shows. Synths, keyboards, mics, basses, guitars, et cetera.”

Beth Houlihan

Kidder Music Store

Peoria, Illinois


“Seeing more repairs of old instruments.”

Dan Yadesky

Yadco Music

North Versailles, Pennsylvania


“Instrument prices going up, quality going down.”

Midwest Music, LLC

Enid, Oklahoma


“We’re seeing local band directors requiring Open hole – B Foot flutes for first time students.”

Glenn Jones

Woody’s Music

Rock Hill, South Carolina

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