Music serving as key player for sports


Shriya Vanparia

Music and sports influence each other and entertainment culture in many ways. The Sidekick staff writer Angela Yuan discusses their intersection.

Angela Yuan, Staff Writer

The player scores a touchdown, and a tune blasts across the bleachers and field, sending adrenaline rippling through the roaring crowd.

Music is not associated foremost with sports, but the two intersect in ways that leave lasting influences on each other and entertainment culture as a whole. 

There has been a presence of music in sporting events since the ancient Greek Olympics and has cemented itself in sports entertainment in more recent years. 

One of the most notable uses of music is in football halftime shows. In high school football, halftime shows usually consist of marching band, cheerleading and/or drill team performances, all of which involve music. Performances keep audiences engaged during halftime and are an integral part of the football game experience. Halftime shows are so important, in fact, that the Super Bowl LIV halftime show incited a large political and social controversy all over the media. 

“If we didn’t have music incorporated into sports, it wouldn’t be as much of a moneymaker as it is,” Coppell Lariette director Hayley Mitchell said via email. “Our society lives off of entertainment and sports, and a big piece of that is the art of music.”

Bands do more than marching at football games; they play stand tunes throughout the game, supporting their team. The volume of the band adds to the game’s excitement for viewers; singing along to stand tunes can serve as an outlet for audience involvement, fostering school spirit.

“The band can be very beneficial in the game,” Coppell assistant football coach Karl Pointer said. “When our opponent’s on offense and our band starts playing and getting the crowd behind it and generating noise on the field, that’s huge.”

Certain songs have even come to be associated with football or football teams. Tunes such as “Seven Nation Army” and “The Hey Song” are known for their presence at football games, and teams have come to be associated with their fight songs and vice versa. 

Many artistic sports, including those in halftime performances, are backed by music. Artistic sports outside of halftime performances include figure skating, gymnastics and synchronized swimming. 

In April 2019, University of California, Los Angeles gymnast Katelyn Ohashi removed Michael Jackson’s music from her floor routine to support victims of sexual abuse, demonstrating the impact of music in artistic sports. 

Music influences routines beyond just tempo; the style, artistry and cultural context of a song all play a role in shaping visuals.

“Choosing music for me comes down to the style of the dance and the environment,” Mitchell said. “For halftime shows, I choose tunes the audience may be familiar with, old and new. I need the music to entertain the dancers and the audience.”

Choreography is often used in artistic sports to bring out certain moments in the music. Take, for example, the horn snap in drum corps Santa Clara Vanguard’s 2018 show “Babylon”; the visual synchrony creates an effect that has cemented it as an iconic moment in drum corps history.

Additionally, music has a role in sports training. A person jogging with headphones is a common example of this. Research has found music can improve endurance by 15%.

“We play music throughout our entire football practice,” Pointer said. “The kids really like it because it really helps to make practicing faster, so you’re not just going through the same routine.”

Because music and sports both make up such large portions of entertainment culture today, it is inevitable that they are intertwined in so many ways. As their roles in entertainment continue to develop, it is intriguing to see how they contribute to our culture as a whole.

Follow Angela (@anglealey) and @SidekickSports on Twitter.