Mustang Band Policies

General Rules

  1. When in public, the uniform is worn in its entirety and members will present a professional aspect and demeanor.
  2. You are financially responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen school equipment that is issued to you. Be especially careful on road trips.
  3. There will be a $20.00 charge for lost flip folders or lyres. Music must all be retained so it can be reused. There will be a $0.25 charge per page of music that must be copied at the end of the year.
  4. All uniforms, music, and school instruments should be turned in on the determined date. Those who fail to do so will be charged the appropriate fee and will receive an incomplete and/or a hold on their university records.
  5. Attendance at all rehearsals and scheduled performances is expected. Please take the necessary steps to ensure that you do not have any conflicts. Mustang Band is both a class and a performance organization supported by the university and carries the same rights and responsibilities appertaining.

Rehearsal Apparel

Your choice of band apparel is important to your comfort and safety. Be sure to wear light clothing and tennis shoes, but bring a sweater or jacket in case of windy or otherwise colder weather. Sandals are not permitted. Also bring the necessary sun block and sunshade materials, including sunglasses. There will be water available during breaks, but it is strongly recommended that you bring your own container of water to avoid dehydration.

Marching Band Uniform

Coat and Trousers: It is firmly recommended that the uniform be hung up immediately after being worn, placed in such a way that it has sufficient space to hang freely. This will allow it to keep its shape. If caught in the rain, the uniform should be hung up and allowed to dry at room temperature.
Uniform Undershirt: The white performance undershirt will be worn beneath the bib trousers for all events the full dress uniform is called for. In the event the directors or their designee calls for "coats off" the performance undershirt serves as the uniform top.
Shako: The vinyl portion of the plastic brim should be washed with a soft cloth and mild cleanser.
Plume: Care must be taken to maintain the life of your plume. Be sure it is returned to its tube when not in use.
Cap: The Mustang Band Cap is part of the full-dress uniform and will be brought to all football games. When Band is in "Stadium Band Mode" caps may be worn to ensure a uniform look across the Band.
Shoes: Band members must provide a pair of specified marching band shoes. Shoes should be free of dirt and mud.
Gloves: Gloves should be hand washed after each performance. Woodwind players may clip tips off of fingers.
Uniform Cleaning: All formal marching uniforms are dry-clean only. At the end of each marching season, used formal uniforms are cleaned free of charge to band members. If a member’s uniform is dirtied during the season, it is the member’s responsibility to have his or her uniform cleaned mid-season at the designated local dry cleaner. Please ask the current uniform manager for the phone number and location of the dry cleaner used by the Mustang Band. Remember that formal uniforms are loaned under contract to members each year. Please respect your uniform; we need them to last a long time.

Pep Band Uniform

Pants: These shall be blue denim jeans commonly associated with American attire. Jeans should be fully intact and may bear normal, natural signs of wear.
Pep Shirt: The uniform-issue pep shirt will be worn untucked. A black undershirt (long or short sleeve depending on temperature) is optional.
Shoes: Comfortable athletic shoes complete the uniform.
Headwear: Headwear--including hats, caps, headbands--must meet the approval of the director and should conform to the primary color scheme of the uniform.


The following grooming guidelines have been established to ensure a uniform appearance across Mustang Marching Band:

  • Hair: For those who wear the uniform shako, long hair should be secrured in the shako.
  • Jewelry: Earrings, with the exception of studs, will not be worn while in uniform.

Section Leaders


Section Leaders are exemplary members of the band and always have their music learned on time. The main ingredients of this job are dedication, musicianship, teaching ability, and leadership. Section leaders hold foremost in their minds the needs of their section. Section Leaders are appointed by the director and officers based on the qualifications described above.


Mustang Band section leaders have responsibilities that vary a bit according to section sizes and the ensemble’s shifting performance demands. Unlike officers such as the AEO or librarians, who have purview over the operations of the full band and are often less visible in their efforts, the general membership look to the influence of section leaders in these areas:

  • Familiarity with Mustang Band traditions, including field and parade marching
  • Demonstration of a positive commitment to the overall program by modeling excellence in musicianship and marching technique
  • Offer corrective solutions and encouragement to section colleagues concerning musical and marching challenges
  • Nurture a positive spirit of camaraderie and cooperation among section members
  • Foster within the section the school spirit and excitement for which the Mustang Band is recognized


Section leaders will play a large role in the success of the band. Specific expectations for section leaders in all bands include:

  • Contact and encourage prospective members to join Mustang Band and send in an audition.
  • Coordinate with the Directors on matters pertaining to the section
  • Be attentive in full band rehearsals. Mark special corrections, additions, alterations, drill instructions, etc. in your music, so that you are consistent with the director during sectionals
  • Work with the Directors, if necessary, to make sure the parts are properly assigned (see below)
  • Work with the Librarians to make sure that all members of the section have the proper music
  • Work with the Equipment Manager to make sure each person is playing the best available instrument and alert the Uniform Managers of any urgent issues as they arise
  • Set and maintain high musical standards for the section
  • Set the example by always being the first to be prepared on new music
  • Remind and encourage section members to be prepared for rehearsal with music and drill sheets
  • Be willing to help out those members of your section with performance problems
  • Listen in rehearsals for musical problems and call section rehearsals as necessary to deal with problems that can be addressed sectional work. Obtain the class schedule of each member of the section to identify possible sectional opportunities. Arrange the use of a room for section rehearsals with the Facilities Manager
  • Develop a social cohesion within the section. Have section “rehearsals” without instruments. Have fun. Avoid activities that will exclude anyone
  • Keep a contact list of each section member in the event a member is unexpectedly late or absent
  • Get to know each member of the section and be available for understanding and support
  • The moment you perceive personality friction within your section, move immediately to prevent its development. Feel free to enlist the help of the CEO, AEO or directors
  • Encourage retention within the section and assist the Conductor with recruiting new players for the following year

Part Assignments

Section leaders will be responsible for making part assignments for Mustang Band. Generally, the balance of parts should be even across the section; any deviation from this must be made in consultation with the directors.

Section leaders will make preliminary assignments for new members at Basics Camp. These assignments may be adjusted once the returning member part assignment auditions. Section leaders may make assignments through an “audition” process supplemental to that conducted by the directors. Material for the audition may be taken from the Mustang Band folders. Playing scales may test extent and control of range. The following is suggested as an example:

  1. Each player performs “Ride High!” and a portion of “All Hail” to demonstrate technique. Then each player will play a scale that will demonstrate his or her practical range
  2. Before it is posted, a director must approve the roster of assignments
  3. A returner’s preference to forego the audition and remain on the same part as last year may be honored. The assignment is still subject to the needs of the section as determined by the section leaders in consultation with the director
  4. Dr. Waldron will be happy to hear a player’s audition in any event where that is preferred

Section leaders may take into consideration non-musical factors in determining part assignments. Examples include the player’s level of interest in learning new parts (returners) and the player’s playing load for the quarter (are they also in Wind Ensemble and UJB?).

Directors may need to make adjustments to the assignments.

Drill Assignments

Section leaders will have input in making drill assignments. The drill designer’s main concern is helping make the strongest musical impact by adding visual interest. Among the elements involved are achieving a balance of sound across the 50YL.

Section leaders can help by contributing to the moment of placing each player on the field. In general, across the 50YL there should be an equal distribution of players on each part. New or weak marchers should be placed next to strong marchers so that good visual technique may be modeled and encouraged. Relatively weak players should be placed next to strong players so that good habits of technique and sound production can be shared. However, in certain instances the strongest players will be grouped together for the greatest impact.

Section leaders may make their drill recommendations by generating a list of Side One and Side Two players. These designations can also go toward creating the symmetrical parade block used for performing in the UU Plaza and Athletics Barbecue.

Rehearsal Policies

  1. Rehearsal schedules are published in the class schedule. It is expected that student display a professional attitude during rehearsals.
  2. Due to the large numbers of students in the band, please refrain from talking during rehearsals. When the Band is stopped, immediately stop playing and/or marching, and listen to instructions being given. This is the only way to efficiently use rehearsal time.
  3. All students must bring a pencil to all rehearsals.

Game Day Policies

  1. The band will rehearse the morning of a football game, unless otherwise indicated.
  2. Report time for gym games is generally one hour prior to game start time.
  3. Have music in the stands and ready to play at all times.
  4. Only members of the Mustang Band or Pep Band will sit in the stands designated for the band during games. Sit with your own section.
  5. Members are not excused from games until dismissed by a director or drum major.


Mustang Band Alumni are invited to participate on an occasional basis. Participation in the scheduled rehearsal and warm-up is expected of any alumni wishing to perform with the Mustang Band. Alumni must adhere to all policies set forth in the Band Handbook.

Back to table of contentsBack to top

Upcoming Events

Mustang Band Calendar

Student Spotlight

Noah Ravetch
Noah Ravetch
Computer Science & Software Engineering

Would you like to know more?

All prospective and current Cal Poly students interested in joining the Mustang Band should fill out our Online Interest Form.

We enjoy meeting new students and encourage you to send an email if you have any questions or plan to visit campus. Contact information for directors and all band faculty and staff can be found on our contacts page.