DEFINED (Whiki plus NSBA definition)
Show Band, more commonly known as Traditional Style Band, refers primarily to marching bands geared towards crowd entertainment that perform on fields (for example, a football field). Typically, they perform a routine before the game, another at halftime, and sometimes after the game as well. Competitive show bands perform only one show that is continually refined throughout a season, while SHOW bands that focus on entertainment rather than competition usually perform a unique show for each game. These shows normally consists of three to five musical pieces accompanied by formations rooted in origin from Patterns in Motion, a book penned by one-time Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band assistant band director William C. "Bill" Moffit, who would later become bandmaster of Purdue University All-American Marching Band and University of Houston Spirit of Houston. Depending on the band, though the show could be practiced and completed before the football season at band camp but mostly this is only done by competition show bands.
There are several varieties of Traditional Style Bands, the most recognizable would be the type depicted in the film Drumline. This style of band is based upon an amalgamation of traditional styles from bands in the Big Ten and HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) conferences aka African American traditions, where the music selections are largely based on rhythm & blues and contemporary popular music. Band members are also known to include a smaller dance routine while standing in their forms instead of marking time. Many of these types of show bands may have both a twirler line and/or a majorette/dancer line.
Other Show Bands are semi-military and semi-corps style, such as some of the Big Ten bands. These bands perform a show that is designed to entertain the audience, but feature more traditional symphonic styles of music rather than contemporary music (marches, film scores, jazz, or older pop music).
Most show bands of either type include the traditional military band instrumentation of woodwinds, brass, and battery percussion. Some also include the front ensemble keyboard percussion, and may also incorporate the use of a color guard for flag and rifle routines.