June 25, 2017

The Madden Years: 1989-2016

On August 1, 1989, John T. Madden accepted the position of Associate Director of Bands and Director of the Spartan Marching Band. Madden was a 1985 graduate of the MSU College of Music and former trumpet section leader and Vice-President of the Spartan Marching Band. Madden received his Masters Degree in Music Education and Wind Conducting from Wichita State University (KS) where he served for two years as Graduate Assistant in the University Band Department. Before coming back to MSU, Madden held the post as Associate Director of Bands and Marching Band Director at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey from 1987 to 1989.

In the fall 2016, Professor John Madden begins his 28th year as Director of the Spartan Marching Band and his 30th year of collegiate teaching. In the past 27 years, Madden has continued to have a vision for the future, as well as to respect the band’s past history and traditions. As a tenured Associate Director of Bands, and Associate Professor of Music, Madden continues his leadership in the MSU College of Music as Conductor of the MSU Symphony Band, and is the teacher of record for several classes including undergraduate instrumental conducting.

Also notable in Madden’s time as Director of the SMB are the many methods and principles that reinforce a positive learning environment and culture within the band. Having served on two DCI Drum Corps staffs (Phantom Regiment and The Cadets), he maintains and employs many contemporary organizational and rehearsal techniques into Spartan Marching Band routines and practices. Madden has labeled the Spartan Marching Band an “eclectic drill style band,” incorporating the ultimate in high step precision drill and tradition, combined with the newest contemporary drill and visual techniques. John T. Madden has continued to develop programs and methods to keep the Spartan Marching Band on the cutting edge of the college marching band world.

Madden, Thornton (Associate SMB Director), and Brough (long time visual instructor) continue to teach a two-day leadership seminar for SMB squad and section leaders. Each fall, this group of elected student leaders participates in classroom sessions, as well as workshops to further understand their roll as teachers of the younger members of the Spartan Band. Leadership training was established in the fall of 1991. Additionally, programs have been designed for the SMB Membership dealing with the issues of alcohol and drug education, as well as hazing and harassment.

A world-class teaching staff is at the heart of the Spartan Marching Band. Dr. Jon Weber (20 seasons as Drum line Instructor) and Mr. Peter Eichler (Color Guard instructor) headline these 2 specialty areas. Talented graduate assistants come from all over the country to earn advanced degrees in Wind Conducting, contribute to the teaching mission of the SMB. Talented and motivated students create the formula that produces the incredible, world-renown Spartan Marching Band each and every season!

TRADITION, INNOVATION, & EXCELLENCE: These are the trademarks of the Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band. Throughout its long and proud history, the Spartan Band has adhered to these watchwords, and will continue to do so for all the years to come.