How Do You Become a Baton Twirler?


Photo credit: 2C2K Photography under Creative Commons License

Ever wonder what it takes to become a Being a baton twirler like the ones who perform with the top college marching bands? If you are thinking about getting into baton twirling or if you are a parent considering baton twirling for your child, this article will guide you through the process.

To get a scholarship and be part of one of the best collegiate marching bands in the country, you must prepare for a Baton twirling audition and provide an audition video and supporting documents/materials detailing your twirling background.

To audition for a baton twirler scholarship for the top collegiate marching bands in the country, like the Georgia Tech Marching Band, you need to learn some skills and prepare the following: 

  1. A 4-8 minute long video demonstrating your twirling abilities that includes 2 to 3 baton skills
  2. Supporting documents detailing your twirling background

In the typical audition video, you will be required to demonstrate the following skills…

  • Cartwheel Toss or walkover
  • 3 spins, horizontal and vertical
  • Toss double illusion
  • Dance routine and Bodywork (leaps, kicks, laybacks, turn combinations, etc.)
  • double element trick (two different elements put together and can include bodywork and gymnastics – kick illusion, leap walkover, etc.)
  • 2 and 3-baton tricks, including horizontal/vertical combinations, juggle series, high low tricks

Supporting documents for your audition typically include…

  • A cover letter
  • Full-length photo in twirling costume
  • Twirling resume highlighting experience and accomplishments 
  • Letter of recommendation from your twirling coach or mentor
  • Document acknowledging your acceptance to the University or College you are auditioning for

At what age should you start baton twirling?

Most twirlers start twirling in grade school. Some will start practicing the skills as early as they are 2 years old and some as late as when they are in high school.

If you are driven it isn’t too late to get into baton twirling when you are in high school but realize that you will be up against competitors who have been doing it at some capacity for 10+ years already.

Where can you learn baton twirling and how much does it cost?

This is a breakdown of your options for learning baton twirling in order from from least to most expensive.

OptionCost
Self study using online videos and blogsFree
Online baton twirling courses~$50-$70 per course
Scholastic programs for baton twirling~$8 per class
Dance studio baton twirling classes~$80 per class
Coaches and mentors~$50 per hour

Learning baton twirling online for free

Self study can take you very far these days with all the great content that is available for free. You can find lots of instructional videos on YouTube from experiences twirlers that have basically the same information any coach would have.

But it is the least effective option of all. If you want to go beyond the level of a hobbyist and compete to get into a good program, it would be wise to find some kind of instruction.

Learning baton twirling from online courses

Using online courses to learn baton twirling is a step up from using free content online because often the courses will give their students access to someone to answer questions via email and/or video.

These courses can cost as little as $50-$70 each. They often show you their curriculum up front which can be quite helpful when shopping around.

If you are driven and patient, this is the most cost effective option to get one-on-one help.

Scholastic baton twirling programs

Some schools and colleges may offer Baton twirling classes. These special programs are typically cheap because of the very high student-to-teacher ratio and will cost about $8 per class with a registration fee that generally costs $7 to $20 a student.

The downside is that typically you won’t get as much individual attention as you might need because of the high student-to-teacher ratio.

Some examples of these programs include…

  • Martin School of dance and Baton Twirling in Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Julie’s touch of silver baton twirling classes  in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
  • Forte Twirl and Dance Studio in Atlanta, Georgia

Learning baton twirling in dance studios

Furthermore, for those who want to learn baton twirling traditionally, students can enroll in dance studios that offer baton twirling courses and attend classes in dance schools and studios near them. 

These lessons are more effective because you will have a baton twirling coach present to teach you the proper way to perform baton twirling that you can use in competitions. However, these lessons are more expensive and will cost you around $80 per class.

Learning baton twirling from a private coach or mentor

The best way, hands down, to learn baton twirling is to hire a private coach or mentor to teach you baton twirling. And as expected, it is also the most expensive and can cost upwards of $50 per hour.

These classes can be taught at the convenience of your house or the instructor’s house. You can find coaches online on craigslist or by searching on google or Facebook, Looking at community billboards, or asking around your community or school.

See if you are near any colleges who have marching bands and they may have a twirler or two who would be happy to make some extra cash teaching some younger students.

How to get into baton twirling competitions

Though winning competitions is not required to get into collegiate marching band programs as a baton twirler, they are one of the best ways to stay focused and motivated to improve year after year while you are training.

That being said, it also does not hurt your chances at all to have some competitive wins on your resume. Universities love to give scholarships to competition winners. Almost as much as they love bragging about having award winning baton twirlers in their program.

The AAU Junior Olympic Games Baton Twirling competition

The AAU Baton Twirling program is the main competition to aim to compete in. It is one of the best-known competitions for baton twirling.

Requirements to join include…

  1. Must be an AAU member
  2. Must qualify at an AAU District or Regional Championships

To become an AAU member, all you need to do is to register on their site and wait for the approval of the organization. The acceptance process usually takes from 1 to 10 business days to complete but may take longer in some cases.

You can get full information about how to participate in AAU Baton Twirling competitions by following this link.

It is not a cheap endeavor. From travel and hotels, to competition entry fees, to costumes, competitions can get expensive. But, if you want to be one of the few twirlers who perform at a collegiate level on the field with the marching band, competitions are where you need to be.

Conclusion

Becoming a baton twirler take a lot of patience, dedication, and the determination. Especially if you want to be one of the best. But even for those who don’t make it to the top and perform with a top collegiate program, it is a great hobby to carry with you through life.

John Filippone

Hi, I'm John. I've been in the band world since I joined band as a french horn player in 6th grade. I played french horn through middle school, high school, and my first year of college before switching out of being a music major. I was all about band when I was in high school. I even made All-State as a french horn player my senior year. I also played jazz guitar but never quite made the all state jazz band. Growing up in South Texas, my high school had a competitive marching band program. And I loved it so much, I spent 6 years marching with Genesis Drum & Bugle Corps. Which was my local drum corps at the time. I played mellophone for 3 years in the corps and was drum major for 3 years. To this day marching band and drum corps is a big part of my life and I seriously regret selling my french horn and hollow body guitar!

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