Techniques of Drum Majoring

Drum majors must maintain control and direct the entire marching band.

Drum majors are instrumental in guiding and directing performers of a marching band. The drum major is responsible for keeping the tempo, conducting the marching band and giving orders for how to march, when to stand at attention and bring horns up to playing position. Drum majors do not play an instrument in the ensemble, but they must memorize all conducting patterns for the entire show.


Drum majors must learn the style of conducting that is specific to the marching band they are a part of. In general, the motions of a drum major must be very precise and angular. This is different from the smoother motions of normal conducting. The first beat always comes straight down through the center of the body. The second beat in common time goes in and to the left, the third beat goes across the body and to the right and the final beat comes back to the starting position. Learn all the ways to conduct the most common time signatures including 3/4 and 2/4.


Learn the marching style that is specific to your marching band. One thing that all marching bands have in common is the manner in which the left and right feet alternate. The left foot always hits the ground on the downbeat while the right foot hits on the off-beats of the music. This sequence alternates every other measure when the music is in triple time.


The drum major must be competent in her ability to call marching commands. The call to attention in most bands is "band ten hut." The command is then usually followed by an additional command such as "mark time, hut" which indicates to march in place. "Forward, march" indicates that the performers should start marching and "left" or "right face" indicates a quick turn to the left or the right. The drum major also gives commands such as "band, horns up," "band, horns down" and "at ease" to tell the performs to bring their horns up to play, down or to relax their posture.

Marking Time

Marking time can be done by bringing the feet up in the air in line with the line of the leg, or by taking the heel of the foot off the ground. Drum majors must have clearly defined movements so that the performers can visually see the beat and keep in line with the drum major. Marking time involves marching in place without moving forward or backward. This is often used when the marching band has to wait to move forward or before marching.


Popular posts from this blog

List of Musical Techniques and Their Meanings

How to Switch From Mono to Stereo in GarageBand

Musical Instruments That Make Animal Sounds