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Band Dictionary PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jim Cakalic   
Friday, 11 July 2008 12:56
Band, particularly Marching Band, is an activity with a unique and distinctive vocabulary. Your appreciation, not to mention the respect of friends and family, will be enhanced by learning and using that vocabulary. Here's the short list of important terms to know and use daily.

Battery: The marching percussion usually consisting of snare drums, tenor drums, quintets, bass drums, and cymbals.

Band Geek: A band member enthusiastically involved with band activities to the near exclusion of everything else. Formerly used in a derogatory sense it is now being adopted as a term of respect.

Band Parent: The finest, most selfless, hardest working people on Earth. The only reason the band is held together.

Caption Award: A competition award given for a particular category of performance such as best music, best visual effect, best auxiliary, best percussion, best drum major, etc.

Color Guard (Auxiliary): Originally the armed guards who protected the U.S. Flag (the Colors). Since drum and bugle corps evolved from the military, they also carried colors and had a guard. As drum corps got more elaborate, the color guard began to include teams of rifle spinners, tall flag performers and dance teams. The name is still used for these squads even though the national flag is rarely used in performance. This group is a crucial part of the visual and thematic aspect of the show. The Color Guard has its own instructor.

Competition (Invitational, Festival): An event where individuals trained in evaluation of the marching arts presume to "judge" band performances. Bands compete based on school size or band size, depending on the competition rules. Specific areas of the performance are scored by several judges. Place awards are presented at the end of the competition.

Drill: Formations and movement between formations. It’s the marching part of the program. Small changes and additions are made to the drill during the season. The drill learned at band camp will be regularly enhanced until the director believes it to be perfect, i.e., never.

Drill List: Coordinate sheet that tells the marcher their position on the field for each set. Each marcher has a customized drill list. You can’t borrow someone else’s if you lose yours.

: The entire percussion section of the band including both the battery and pit. The Drumline has its own instructor.

Drum Major
: A student conductor who leads the band on the marching field and directs the band for the show. All band members are expected to follow the drum major’s leadership. Position auditions are held in the spring.

: A game played on a marching field to entertain the audience while the band is getting ready to perform.

: Sequined wrist and lower arm coverings; part of the marching uniform.

Guard Tape: Opaque black plastic tape used by the color guard for various purposes. It is identical in appearance and characteristics to pit tape (used for electrical purposes), stick tape (drumline), and glove tape (for marching uniforms). The possible interchangeability of these adhesives is currently being investigated as is the potential for replacing them with the much less expensive and more readily available common garden-variety electrical tape.

Glide Step: A gliding style of marching where the leg swings forward, (similar to a walking step) the heel contacts first, and the weight is smoothly rolled to the toe.

Horn Flash
: A visual effect in which all the horns raise their bells to point upwards toward the press box. The effect can be done while playing or quickly in an up/down motion in preparation for playing.

"Last Time": When a director says this during rehearsal it can mean any one of: one more time, a few more times, I can see the road that leads to the last time, we’ll keep doing it until you get it right, or after this time it will be so dark that I won’t be able to see you.

Parade Block
: The formation used while parade marching. The files and ranks are evenly spaced setting the band up in a large rectangle formation.

PDA (Public Display of Affection): The physical demonstration of affection for another person while in the view of others. Something that happens anywhere the rest of the band is forced to watch a couple be disgustingly cutesy together. Strongly discouraged by directors and chaperones.

Pit (Front Line): Students who play stationary instruments, often in front of the band on the sideline. The pit includes a variety of percussion and rhythm instruments including marimba, vibraphone, piano, bass drum, bass guitar, chimes, etc.

Pit Crew (Prop Pops): Volunteers that assemble the drum major stands, props, pit instruments and amplification equipment before the performance and quickly removes the same items afterwards. These volunteers also assist in the loading and unloading of equipment before, at, and after competitions and frequently at rehearsals as well. May be called upon to build or maintain props and other equipment used by the band. According to some, the opening comedy act for the band; the real reason most people come to see marching band.

Plume: The feathered portion of the marching hat.

Section Leader: Usually an upperclassman from each instrument section. In the guard the position is called ‘captain’. This person is responsible for ensuring that the section is following instructions and achieving what the drum majors and director expect. This is a position of authority and requires maturity, skilled musicianship, and leadership skills. The section leader is expected to lead sectional rehearsals, evaluate performance, and correct problems on and off the field. Students apply for the position in the spring and are selected by the Band Director.

Sectionals: Practice sessions with members of the same instrument group. Most sectionals will take place before or after school and will be led by the section leader.

Shako: A tall cylindrical hat with visor and plume worn as part of the marching uniform.

Show Shirt: An annual shirt design made to reflect the theme of the marching show and the competition schedule. All students are required to have a show shirt as part of their band uniform.

Slide Marching: A style of marching where the band member marches in one direction and twists the upper body so they can play in another.

Last Updated ( Friday, 25 July 2008 17:12 )
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