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A Marching Sycamores Glossary
A basic glossary of terms you might find on a drill chart or coordinate sheet, or that you will hear used by the Director, faculty, the Drum Majors, or other Leadership.
ATTENTION (carriage style, vocal command: band, ten, hut!)
Attention is used to bring the group to absolute silence and stillness, regardless of the preceding actions. Upon hearing this command, members are to assume the attention position (either with or without instruments) and respond with “STATE!”, remaining silent until further instructions are given. Each section/instrument has a set way of performing the attention position; your section leaders will show you the proper technique. It is our intention to use this command as little as possible, instead opting to use the “fall in” command see below), which is short for “fall in to the attention position.” Attention position entails:
- Heels together, toes slightly apart (2-3 inches);
- Stand tall, pushing from the feet and straightening the spine;
- Chin slightly above parallel, eyes fixed straight ahead;
- Instruments held in attention position, dependent on your particular instrument;
- Elbows relaxed, generally at a 45-degree angle;
- No talking or moving.
BACKWARD MARCH (movement style)
Moving with hips backward, the leg moving behind the body, with the toe hitting first and rolling onto the ball of the foot, NOT the heel (it’s a surefire recipe for falling down). Proper upper body carriage is maintained.
BRING IT IN (vocal command)
A command that typically signifies the end of rehearsal, but may also be used to impart important information when necessary.
CHECK AND ADJUST (vocal command, used in learning and cleaning drill)
The first portion of the command, check, is given immediately at the conclusion of a drill set or maneuver that has concluded. It is intended to allow the performer to look around, moving only the head (without moving the body) to see how far/close he or she made it to the next set, how far out of alignment they might be, etc. It is intended to allow the member to visualize what he or she may be doing incorrectly, in order to better execute the maneuver the next time.
The second portion of the command, adjust, allows the member to fix their positioning (if necessary) after ascertaining what needs fixing (e.g., covering down, lining up side to side, taking any extra steps needed, or otherwise finding the correct spot). Adjust is the only portion of this command in which it is permissible to move the body.
COVER (used in learning and cleaning drill)
Refers to the ability to check your position in relation to the people in front of you (e.g., "make sure you are covered down!")
DRESS (used in learning and cleaning drill)
Refers to the ability to check your position in relation to the people on your left and/or right (e.g., "everyone dress to the left.")
FALL IN (vocal command)
A more relaxed method of having the band come to attention, short for "fall into the attention position." When asked to fall in, please do so quickly and quietly, but there is no need for a vocal response as in the proper attention command.
Our "marching surface." I suppose it also can be used to host football games, if you're into that sort of thing. Our field is a standard NCAA field, with hash marks 60 feet from the sidelines (and 40 feet in between hashes). This means that there are 32 standard (8-to-5) steps from the sideline to the hash marks, and 20 steps in between the hashes - but these are not "standard" (see "Fudge Factor" below).
FOLLOW THE LEADER (movement style)
Sometimes abbreviated to FTL on charts, this is a type of movement wherein you trace the exact path of the person you are following (whether moving forward or backward).
FORWARD MARCH (movement style)
Moving with hips forward, the leg moving in front of the body, with the heel striking the ground first and then rolling onto the rest of the foot in a smooth motion. Proper upper body carriage is maintained.
A standard 8-to-5 step is 22.5 Inches – This works perfectly in the horizontal sense on a football field ( 300 ft, 3600’’, 160 steps!) This also works perfectly outside the hashes – still 22.5 step! (60ft, 32 steps) But inside the hashes – (40ft, 480”, 20 steps) = 24” Step! That means that step size when you are in between the hashes in the middle of the field is actually a tiny bit larger than your average step – hence the use of different interval sticks (sometimes) for inside the hashes. This is nothing to worry too much about...many members go an entire collegiate marching career without even realizing that there is a difference. Just something for you to be aware of.
HALT (vocal command)
Right foot plants in position, left foot slides next to the right foot without bending the knee.
HASH MARKS (field markings)
These are the horizontal marks that divide a football field in thirds. The ones nearer the top of the drill page are the back hashes, while the ones nearer the bottom of the drill page are the front hashes. The hashes you may be accustomed to on high school football fields are a little further apart from each other, while collegiate/NCAA hashes are closer together (and NFL stadium hashes are closer still!)
HOLD (used on drill charts and in rehearsal)
There is no movement from the member, and the feet do not mark time. Holds can be done with horns up or horns down. The body is essentially still during a hold.
HORNS DOWN (vocal command: band, horns, down!)
After playing, this command may be given to bring the ensemble back to the attention position. Instruments are to be snapped down to the attention position (dependent on your instrument’s configuration) on count 4 of the command, and remain there until further instructions or commands are given.
HORNS TO THE BOX (used on drill charts and in rehearsal)
An elevated form of horns up, where the horns are pointed to the press box of the stadium (or, roughly a 45-degree angle).
HORNS UP (vocal command: band, horns, up!)
In preparation to play, this command may be given only from the attention position. Instruments are to be snapped up to playing position (dependent on your instrument’s configuration) on count 4 of the command, and remain there until further instructions or commands are given.
A somewhat tongue-in-cheek concept that means "hands up, horns up." Essentially, if you see a Drum Major's or the Director's hands in an up-and-ready to conduct position, your horns should be in an up-and-ready to play position.
INSIDE (used on drill charts and in rehearsal)
Toward the 50 yard line/center field. Therefore, if your instructions read “2 steps inside the 40 yard line,” that would be mean you are two steps toward the 50 yard line, and not two steps toward the 35 yard line.
The space between two members. Intervals must stay consistent from set to set, not just at the endpoints – the details are in the transitions! The most common intervals we use with the Marching Sycamores are 2- and 3-step (brass and woodwinds), 4-step (percussion), and 6-step (guard), but intervals can be smaller or larger depending on the drill situation.
MARK TIME (vocal command: mark, time, mark...(up!)! or mark, time, hut...(up!)!)
Left foot moves first, with heel coming up slightly (2-3 inches at most) on the fourth count of the command – i.e., mark time mark (UP). As the left heel comes up, the left knee bends slightly. On count 1, the left heel touches the ground, while the right foot and knee move in the same fashion as the left. The feet continue to alternate until a command to move or stop is given. This is a smooth motion, with no movement in the upper body, head, or instrument. There is no actual forward or backward movement, mark times occur in place.
MINUS ONE (used in learning and cleaning drill)
Put your lower and upper body in the position corresponding to the last step of the previous one. This is the default instruction when running a single set or a range of sets, so that the following transition from the previous set to the current one is more readily learned. For example, if we ran a 16-count set from page 5 to page 6, you would start by putting your body in the position it was in at the conclusion of page 4.
MOVE (used on drill charts and in rehearsal)
Essentially, exactly what it says. What type of movement can be elaborated upon by the Director or Visual Techs, but most often it will mean to march directly toward your spot in a straight line path, taking ALL the counts to get there.
O2OIB (used on drill charts and in rehearsal)
Short for "on, two off, or in between." This refers to a line or other form at a two-step interval where the performers, if lined up correctly, would be on a yard line, two off from a yard line, and in between yard lines (i.e., a two step interval).
OUTSIDE (used on drill charts and in rehearsal)
Toward the end zones. Therefore, if your instructions read “3 steps outside the 30 yard line,” that would be mean you are three steps toward the end zone, and not three steps toward the 50 yard line.
PARADE REST (carriage style, vocal command: band, parade, rest!)
Parade rest is a more relaxed form of attention (though not a full “relax” command). Upon hearing this command, instruments are to be lowered from the attention position, the left foot extends outward to the left, opening up the foot position to shoulder width. This position will be held until further instructions or commands are given. You can also be asked to fall in to Parade Rest. Parade Rest position entails:
- Left foot moves out to shoulder width;
- Hands and instrument move to arms length, in front of or alongside the body, dependent on the instrument. Section leaders will demonstrate proper parade rest for your section;
- The rest of the body stays at the attention position.
PLUS ONE (used in learning and cleaning drill)
Put your lower and upper body in the position corresponding to the first step of the next set (plus one). This is the default instruction when running a single set or a range of sets, so that the following transition is more readily learned. For example, if we ran a 16-count set from page 5 to page 6, you would take 16 steps, and then you would take one extra step toward page 7 and stop.
RESET (used in learning and cleaning drill)
Run to the previous set and fall in at attention, ready for the next instruction (which is likely to be running the set again).
REWIND (used in learning and cleaning drill)
Taking a drill transition in reverse. For example, marching from Page 8 backwards to Page 7. This is useful in learning paths and step sizes. Most often, we will not play during a REWIND, and you can turn and face the direction of travel (in order to better learn paths)
ROLL STEP (movement style)
The Marching Sycamores uses a roll step style (sometimes called glide step) of marching, as opposed to high step, bicycle step, or straight leg. This style emphasizes smooth foot action and no movement of the upper body or embouchure. The most important consideration in roll step is posture; the head remains up, the shoulders back, and the feet constantly push the marcher high into the air with the spine lifted and straightened.
SET (vocal command)
The vocal command is followed by a short whistle from a Drum Major. It is used immediately prior to running a drill set, a sequence, or a musical phrase. It essentially asks the performers to get in the ready position, whether that is a horns up, an attention position with horns down, or any other position. As soon as you hear the command, you should cease talking and prepare for whatever is coming next, be it instruction, a musical phrase, or a drill move.
SIDELINES (field markings)
The boundaries of the football field. The back sideline (top of the page) is often referred to as the "away sideline," even though here at ISU, that sideline is occupied by the home team. The front sideline (bottom of the page) is often referred to as the "home sideline," even though here at ISU, that sideline is occupied by the visiting team. The center drum major podium is at the front sideline.
SIDE ONE/SIDE TWO (used on drill charts and in rehearsal)
From the Director’s/Podium’s perspective, Side 1 is the side of the field to the left of the 50 yard line, and Side 2 is the side of the field to the right of the 50 yard line. From the performer’s perspective looking directly ahead, Side 1 is on the right and Side 2 is on the left.
STEPS (used on drill charts and in rehearsal)
The basic unit of measurement in the marching activity. Steps are measured in traditional marching band step size, which is 8-to-5 (see term), essentially a 22.5-inch stride. This means that 8 steps are taken for every 5 yards. With enough practice, an 8-to-5 step can be “memorized” by the body. While this is the most common stride, it is not the only one: 4-to-5 (very large stride) all the way down to 16-to-5 (very small stride) exist as well.
TRAIL (carriage style)
A less formal manner of instrument carriage, typically used when marching parades (though this style can also be used in halftime performances from time to time). Each section will have a different method of holding instruments at trail, your section leader will demonstrate the proper technique.
YARD LINES (field markings)
NCAA football fields have yard lines every five yards, extending from the front sideline to the back sideline.
YARD NUMBERS (field markings)
NCAA football fields have large yard line numbers painted on the field every ten yards. Since the measurements of these yard line numbers are standardized, they can be used to help in setting drill.