This article examines the educational function of the North American wind band program. Issues such as band education's methodological control, perceived lack of self-reflection or inquiry, its insecurity concerning program legitimacy, and the systemic fear that seems to permeate its history provide the framework for this exploration. With a philosophical eye toward the future of school-based instrumental music education each author brings perspective to the task of critiquing an institution that has taken on the seemingly sacrosanct and inviolable trappings of tradition and ritual.