// Rad Gal, Rad Gig: NIU Sousaphone Player

Hello! My name is Brooke and I blog at You’re In Brookelynn. I am a college senior at Northern Illinois University, where I study psychology and dance performance. Oh, and I also play the sousaphone in the NIU marching band.

A sousaphone is essentially a marching tuba. If you’re wondering why an extremely short girl (I’m only 5 feet tall!) chose to play an instrument that weighs almost 50 pounds and is about as tall as I am, you wouldn’t be the only one! I started playing tuba 6 years ago, when my high school marching band needed a tuba player and I got bored of my original instrument, the flute. Although transitioning from playing the flute to playing the tuba may seem extreme, it was actually surprisingly easy. And, it was surprisingly fun!

The beginning of the marching season starts at the beginning of the fall semester with a weeklong ‘band camp.’ Yes, there really is such a thing as band camp, and it’s one of the most important parts of the season! While many people think that marching band is just for nerds, it’s actually an extremely athletic activity. We spend our 11 hour days at camp learning marching basics, show music, and our pre-game and halftime drill.

The rest of the season is spent cheering on our NIU Huskies at football games! Performing at football games is one of the best things about being in the marching band. We parade around the stadium and perform for tailgaters before kickoff, and play in the stands throughout the whole game. While we take music and marching very seriously, cheering on our team from the stands is where we get to let loose and have fun! We perform cheers, dances, and popular songs to pump up the team and entertain the (usually drunk) football fans. We also perform pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows at every game. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun!

How to get started

At most colleges, anyone can join the marching band! All you have to do is be able to play an instrument and want to join! Keep in mind that some college’s marching bands may require an audition to join, but not all. At NIU, you don’t have to audition to join, but you do have to audition for a spot on the field. But, it’s not usually as bad as you would think!

Joining the marching band was one of the best things I could have done in my college career. I met so many new people who helped me break out of my shell and enjoy college. Plus, I learned a lot about college football and have started to enjoy watching it! There’s no better way to spend a crisp fall day!


Rad Gal, Rad Gig is a new feature on The Clueless Girl's Guide where I invite really neat gals to share their really cool stories. Whether your gig is a full-time job or just a hobby, I want to hear from you! If you think you'd be perfect for Rad Gal, Rad Gig, feel free to get in touch or view the information on the Submissions page! Just submit a short description of what you do and why you think it's rad!


  1. Haha, Brooke has done something I've never managed to achieve - enjoy watching university football! ;) Seriously, she does seem like a rad girl. Here's to making band geeks cool again!


  2. This was so cool to read! The photos look fantastic as well :D never read a post like this before, was definitely really unique and interesting :)


  3. Hell yes marching band! I marched trumpet all through high school and college. Being a girl on a brass instrument is awesome. I loved this feature. It brought back great memories.

    Jamie | PetitePanoply.com


HEY! Thanks for dropping by. xo KB