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Line down a field and scaffolding


Clinics for All

Smith Walbridge Clinics has been the home of many marching band related clinics and camps since 1949. We focus on all aspects of the marching arts from drill design, down to a single marching step. We offer clinics for High School Students, College Students, and Directors with various levels of instruction. Smith Walbridge has a commitment to excellence when it comes to our clinics and the experiences we offer to all that would call SWC home.

Drum Major with whistle


The individual is at the core of our curriculum. Our goal is to equip all students and directors with the tools to help their programs grow. 

Every high school and college has different goals and challenges it faces. Our objective is to provide you with tools and resources for you to achieve those great things in your own unique way. 

We use a variety of techniques on campus to educate our participants on teaching, communication, and design strategies. The techniques we use is our system, but it is not the prescribed method. Use what we teach you and adapt it to your philosophical and practical approaches at home to create success for yourself.

Educator working with student conductor

System + Spirit = Sucess

Gary Smith

"The two most important attributes of a successful marching band are spirit and system. A system is a way of doing things. It represents the total structure of the band such as organization, procedures, activities, philosophies, teaching methods, marching and playing style, and policies. Spirit represents how individual band members respond to the system. It includes practice habits, good attitudes, mental discipline, commitment, responsibility, dependability, and hard work. Success is the result of a good system and spirit. Success generates its own byproducts, such as pride, enthusiasm, loyalty, discipline, and dedication."

Gary E. Smith

Former President & Director, Smith Walbridge Clinics
Director Emeritus, University of Illinois Marching Illini

The System: Marching Band Methods book cover

"The System"

The System written by Gary S. Smith and contributing authors is a staple in the marching arts education. Used as a resource in our clinics and across the country throughout high school and collegiate programs, it contains endless information from training and selecting student leadership to drill design to battery and front ensemble teaching strategies. Containing both philosophical and practical information, this guide is a tool we believe in, and is a great resource for any size and type of program you lead and want to build.


of SWC

Merl Smith

Merl Smith

During World War II, Merl Smith was a national baton twirling champion with the Seabees.