Orchestral Ensembles

The first band at the University of Iowa appeared in 1875. Today, more than 600 students–music majors and non-music majors alike–participate in university bands. Membership in our bands is open to all interested and qualified University of Iowa students, regardless of major!

Symphony Band

The 60-member Symphony Band (MUS:3160:0001, 1 semester hour) performs two formal concerts on campus each semester and, on occasion, performs at state and national conventions. Selected members of this ensemble form the Chamber Wind Ensemble, which offers one-per-part soloistic performance opportunities in a flexible instrumentation setting. Symphony Band rehearses from 1:30-3:00 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Concert Band

The 65-member Concert Band (MUS:3160:0002, 1 semester hour) performs one concert during the fall semester and two concerts during the spring semester. This ensemble rehearses from 1:30-3:00 p.m. Monday and Wednesday during the fall semester and 1:30-3:00 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the spring semester.

Audition information

The Symphony Band and Concert Band are open to all students, regardless of major, by audition only. Please contact Kathy Ford, UI Bands Administrative Associate, for more information. The University Band is designed specifically for non-music major students, and no auditions are required for membership. No auditions are required for Iowa Pep Band. For information about auditioning for the Hawkeye Marching Band, visit the HMB website.

University Band

Students may register for the University Band (MUS:3160:0003, 0-1 hour credit) without an audition and attend the first rehearsal. Rehearsals are from 6:30-8:00 p.m. on Monday (and occasional Wednesdays during the football season) during the fall semester, and 6:30-8:00 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday in the spring semester. This ensemble is an excellent choice for those who desire to stay involved in instrumental music performance.

Hawkeye Marching Band

The 250-member Hawkeye Marching Band presents pregame and half-time shows at all Iowa home football games, and at one or two away games each season. This band is the most visible ensemble in the School of Music and is the largest student organization on campus. Comprised of students from nearly every major within the University, this time-honored organization combines quality musicianship, Hawkeye spirit, pride and dedication to create their nationally renowned gridiron excitement. In addition to our 250 musicians, performances by the HMB include our drum major, Golden Girl, and the award-winning Iowa Dance Team. The HMB performs for over 70,000 fans in historic Kinnick Stadium during each home game.


Iowa Pep Band

The Iowa Pep Band performs at men’s and women’s home basketball games, wrestling meets, and at other selected university functions and sporting events. The IPB travels to the men’s/women’s Big Ten tournaments each March and to the NCAA tournaments when the Hawkeyes are eligible. Our purpose is to support the Hawkeyes as enthusiastically as we can and to entertain our Iowa fans assembled in recently-renovated Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a wide variety of styles of music. 

The Iowa Pep Band is one of the most visible performance groups on campus. It is an integral part of one of the best athletic programs in the country. The majority of the membership comes from students enrolled in the Hawkeye Marching Band. If openings on the IPB roster remain, the positions are filled by students enrolled in one of our concert bands or other UI students on campus. The IPB is organized in early October, with the performance season beginning in early November and concluding in late March. 

Members enroll in the Iowa Pep Band for the spring semester (MUS:1166:0001; 1 semester hour). IPB members are required to perform in 21-22 events each season (November through March), but they can choose to perform at additional events for post-season travel credit. Members receive a small stipend for the performances they attend over breaks.