In competitions, bands are judged on criteria such as musicality, uniformity, visual impact, artistic interpretation, and the difficulty of the music and drill. Competition exists at all levels, but is most common among secondary school bands and drum and bugle corps. Performances designed for a competition setting usually include more esoteric music (including but not limited to adaptations of modern orchestral pieces).
Most high school marching band competitions occur in the fall when the majority of schools begin classes. To make competitions fair, bands normally split into different classes or divisions based on certain factors.