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What class am I?

An easy guide to choosing the correct indoor classification for 2014!

USBands, like many other indoor circuits offers a variety of classifications based on skill level and program design in an effort to best serve our member units and the performers.  Each year we receive countless questions about directors wanting to know how they should classify their students. How do these translate into other circuits? How do I determine what is right for my students?  

Brick Twp Drum

USBands DOES allow independent units to compete! While most of are groups stem from scholastic programs we work with in the fall, units are classified as “scholastic” or “independent” at every show. This is simply determined by where your members come from - scholastic units must consist of ONLY high school age students from one school or school district.

Within the percussion groups in USBands, classification of each group is broken into three categories. When registering you can choose between:

  • Marching Percussion – Do you play and move? This is you. 
  • Standstill Percussion  - This is for groups that utilize both pit percussion and a battery, but the battery does not march.
  • Concert Percussion – Pit Percussion only


Each group is divided up by class – Elementary, Middle School, Novice, 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A. Just because you compete in the A Class in Marching band does not necessarily mean that all of your indoor units are also A Class as well!

  • If you are lucky enough to have multiple programs to take into consideration, the youngest of students would be classified in the Elementary group.
  • Again, determined mostly by age, the Middle school class offers a great place for your 6-8th or 9th graders to perform. The Middle School class is for units who are just beginning to explore the most basic skills and performance abilities.  Brand-new programs and groups where a majority of the students are in middle school/ just starting high school or relatively inexperienced performers would fit this classification.
  • A Novice Class unit should be reserved for high school units whose skills are at the basic level.  This class is where brand new, or very young HS level programs would begin, and should be reserved for groups within their first two years of existence. Simple design allows for the performers to build their technique and focus on improving basic skills during the season. These groups will be judged on the same sheets as the 1A class, but will compete separately.
  • 1A Class - USBands has a strong 1A Class membership base, and we see the most growth within these groups over the course of the season. While still focusing on the basic show design, skill sets and techniques, the performers in our A Class programs are beginning to understand performance expectations.    
  • Our intermediate 2A Class is where students should begin to experiment with an array and skill levels and designers begin to explore moderately complex show concepts and writing ability. Students focus on an intermediate skill set, and have begun to take their performance to the next level by having a solid grasp of what is being asked of them.   
  • 3A Experienced units or seasoned performers fall into this category. Typically in this class you would begin see a more advanced show design and a high level of performance ability from the students.  These groups may also find success on a greater level outside of USBands.  Groups here also may have more access to high-level instructors, funding, and rehearsal time- but don’t forget that all the resources in the world can still be beat by training and talent!
  • New for 2014!  The highest classification offered in USBands competition is will now be the 4A Class. While there are not an abundance of programs that will compete at this level within USBands, it is important that they have a place to go. The complex skill sets, show design and performance expectations set a 4A group apart from others, and shows a unique identity. These programs set the standard within the indoor circuit and on a national level. 


Bunnell Guard Indoor 2013 Choosing classification is not solely based on the skill set of the performers – the level of writing should be taken into consideration as well. Simple vs complex concepts, and the experience of the writers can elevate a program into a higher class. Prior achievements, the classification of the marching program in the fall, and the amount of resources available to each program could also affect what classification you chose. Hopefully this guide will help you decide prior to the start of the season where your students will have the best experience!


With all this – there is still a chance groups end up in the wrong classification – its ok, it happens! Promotions will be at the discretion of the Director of USBands, and while many things will be taken into consideration with classification, USBands reserves the right to reclassify groups for the betterment of the circuit and all programs involved.  


If you have any questions, we have a large network of adjudicators and educators in the office who have complied years of performing and writing for multiple indoor circuits. Please feel free to contact any member of USBands to figure out the best classification for you. 


Click here to register your indoor gaurd or percussion unit for the 2014 season!  


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