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Are marching tubas dangerous?
My band director wants to sell our sousaphones, and by marching tubas. I admit I might be a bit biased, my dad learned on a sousaphone, but I'm slightly scarred of marching tubas. I've heard they can cause back injuries, and everyone I talk to says run for the hills if my band director buys them. I was hoping someone could give me a link to injuries caused by marching tubas or something I could bring to him to convince him to keep the sousaphones?
Well, they're not dangerous. I played sousaphone in collage and contrabass bugle (like a marching tuba) in a drum and bugle corps. The contra was definitely harder to control and didn't sound any better than the sousaphone. With the contra, a portion of the weight is supported by the arms and I noticed that after playing a long time, I would pinch the nerve in my left arm because of the position being above my shoulder, but depending on the type of instrument, this may not be a problem. For determined drum corps members, they work just fine. For school marching bands, I think it's a lousy choice. Ask him why he wants to switch? I'll bet it's because he thinks it's because he wants the band to look like a drum corps. Well, a school band will never be a drum corps, they can't put the hours in. Marching tubas won't impress the judges any more either, and because the instrument is more difficult to control, he stands a real chance of loosing tuba players. If the sousaphones are old and need replacing, it's better to buy new sousaphones than marching tubas. Nothing beats the Conn 20K. He should take whatever money he has and buy those instead.
Also, if he does insist on buying marching tubas, he needs to get the biggest one sold, the scaled down ones sound like crap. Of course, the bigger ones are that much harder to control, which is why he should stick with sousaphones.
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