Should PIT (Front Ensemble) be included in a Field Marching Band?
Debate Rounds (2)
There are relatively few ways to get a penalty in marching band. Live animals, pyrotechnics, directors wandering onto the field during performance, playing outside of designated times/areas, and taking too long in transit to warm up or getting on and off the field are all ways to get penalized. With a pit, the last few become substantially easier to accomplish. If they drop a cymbal while unloading their equipment, that"s a penalty. If the wind chimes aren"t properly dampened, penalty. If a keyboard"s frame collapses in transit, that"s a penalty. Also, pit takes a substantial amount of time to move. All the electronics have to be unplugged and wound back up, all wheels must be unlocked, vibraphone pedals up, hanging cymbals removed, wind chimes dampened, and after all of this, they can begin to move at a slower pace than the rest of the band. Timing penalties can be almost exclusively attributed to the pit.
Light travels faster than sound. The band marching behind the pit bases it"s time and tempo off of a conductor in front of the pit. This causes timing problems. If the pit and the band play perfectly in time with the drum major"s hands, the pit"s sound will reach the audience before the band"s, causing a "dirty" sound. Additionally, if the band listens to the pit, they will be even farther behind. The marchers have to march, play, watch a conductor, and mentally block out the pit.
The pit is expensive. Sticks, strings, mallets, bars, cymbals, drumheads, and electronics cables are among the things that regularly break during a marching season. A cheap restringing can cost 6$. You can count on ~15 broken strings in a season. Mallet cost 20$ each. Depending on your brand, you can expect ~10 - 40 broken mallets in a season. Bars are not only very expensive, but difficult to find a replacement for. Cymbals don"t break often, but when they do it is a major rush to find a replacement with the same tone as before. High quality sound cables are expensive, and one small kink will ruin one. On top of all this, the school needs to get new pit equipment every decade. A marimba can cost 20,000$. Viraphones and xylos are almost the same. Good timpani can be 35,000$. Even after this, the pit requires extra specialized pit staff, and at least one trailer to move their equipment to contests. The pit is easily the most expensive section.
As a pit member, I can say that marching band is often boring. Percussion is easier to play than other instruments, but they make up for this with difficult music that would be impossible on wind instruments. However, in due to the way bands are graded in marching band, the pit often gets the easier accompaniment music. This makes marching band dull. The pit would better spend their time preparing for winter percussion, where their skill actually affects the score.
The pit costs a massive amount of money, cases timing discrepancies with the band, and has a minimal effect on the score, aside from penalties. The members of the pit would also prefer to spend their time in other, more beneficial activities. The pit should not be included in the standard marching band.
Penalties are a great blockade to the Pit section. However, most of the time before going on before competition, there is often plenty of time to get prepared and plan out how to get out there. You can easily assign different people to different instruments and maybe even get some other band members to help as well. It is the PIT's responsibility if there are any penalties since they should have planned things out. For example, as a PIT section leader, while we are getting ready, I assign as many people to multiple instruments that they must take care of. During competitions, we have more instruments than players in our band, yet we still have an extra minute to spare most of the time because we are very well planned out. A well planned out PIT easily fixes this issue.
It is true that Light travels faster than sound. This is one of my section's biggest problems. Although, there are ways to fix this. After many years of experience in the PIT, the solution is to constantly have private rehearsals with the PIT + Drum-line constantly (Which usually is automatically the case for most bands.) Getting the PIT to learn the Drum-line's part is very helpful. Out on the field, the PIT can listen to the drum-line, which is usually in the back. This way, if the PIT follows the drum-line, and not the conductor, the sounds coming from the PIT will match the drum-line, therefore, making no sound delay.
Yes, PIT equipment is extremely expensive, and no doubt, it is the most expensive section. The only solution is that the PIT section must take great care of the instruments. The Marimba our school uses is older than us, and still works perfectly! The notes are sounding amazing like it was brand new! The Marimba was very expensive, but hasn't even been sent in for any repairs. In fact, the school bass my friend uses in PIT is expensive. However, recently, an old band picture just dropped from the wall yesterday. This morning, we looked at the Bass player from 1985, and he was holding the exact same bass! To summarize my point, yes PIT is very expensive, but can last years. Also a Pit staff really isn't needed usually. Like what I said in my argument earlier, a well planned out PIT can get things out easily and quickly. Our school's Pit Staff really isn't a pit staff. I just tell them where to put some things and they're done.
Today was the last football game, and as a senior, today's performance was one of my last. I've constantly looked back today at the PIT section and how greatly it benefits the band. A well planned-out PIT can introduce a whole new variety of instruments, drastically changing the style of the band in a good way.
You have proved many good points, yet, the are so many ways to fix them. I greatly enjoyed this debate. Thank you for your time!
Vote for Pro!
I would like to start by thanking Pro for creating this debate. However, the BOP is on Pro to prove why the Pit is necessary, and the only argument he made was ‘A well planned-out PIT can introduce a whole new variety of instruments, drastically changing the style of the band in a good way.’ I will concede to this point, but this does not outweigh the time, effort, and monetary costs of maintaining a Pit.
Penalties and Time Delay:
Yes, there are ways to overcome this, but they require even more time and effort. And, if an adequate amount of each is not expended, the score of the band will suffer dramatically. There is a massive amount of points to be lost due to penalties and tempo tears, but even if it done correctly there isn't any sort of points reward.
Regardless of how well equipment is taken care of, it will naturally deteriorate over time. You also failed to respond to the (relatively) small breaks that occur. Strings fray as bars are struck, when they break, the instrument is unplayable until it is restrung. Mallets break when new players use bad technique, or when veterans simply apply too much force with good technique. Electronic cables degrade over time, even the rolling and unrolling of them for storage will eventually wreck them. These are inevitable occurrences, and expensive ones. Con also seems to misinterpret what Pit Staff is. They are the instructors that ensure the quality of the pit, not simple movers. He also drops the point about an extra trailer for transportation.
This section goes unaddressed.
The pit adds a new dynamic to the band, but it isn’t worth the resources that must be used to keep its equipment and players at a quality level.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Walrus101 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct was all around good. Con had more mistakes in spelling and grammar, but I felt as if Con managed to put out some valid points that Pro really didn't refute.
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