How to march in marching band

How to march in marching band

Meant as a day to build awareness around the ‘marching arts’, Marching Band Day is all about those upbeat, often cheerful bands which also happen to be moving around while playing.

Taking place on March 4th (‘march forth’ – get it?) this day is for all band geeks out there to celebrate one of the most musical of past-times.

Learn about Marching Band Day

I did the marching band all throughout junior high and high school. Music was one of my favorite things in school.

Tommy Lee

Marching Band Day is a day that has been designed to build awareness around the marching arts. It is all about those cheerful and upbeat bands, which happen to move around while they are playing music. You will often find that marching bands play an important role in a lot of festivals, parades, and outdoor events. Not only this, but they are traditional, having first appeared in the 1800s. Therefore, it is only right that we celebrate this incredible form of music and entertainment with Marching Band Day.

From the Broadway stage to football stadiums, the battlefield, and the training field, you will find marching bands in many different establishments. They delight spectators and performers with their amazing music, as well as keeping military units moving. They perform in grand arenas too, as well as auditoriums and smaller venues. This is one of the most versatile forms of music and entertainment.

Marching bands also play a critical role in terms of keeping the military upbeat. They have long been involved in the roots of the military, and they have evolved as time has gone on. Marching music can thrill the military during times of celebration or moments of upliftment. Marching music also helps to move people during somber memorials as well. They engage with people of all experience levels, abilities, ages, and personalities.

History of Marching Band Day

For a good few years now, there’s been a petition active in the USA to make March the 4th the official National Marching Band Day – but marching bands themselves have been around for donkey’s years. A marching band is always easy to spot even if you don’t hear them first, as they usually have a matching uniform – most commonly of a military-style – and often have members who don’t carry instruments but use flags and other props to add action to the music. These are called a colorguard and accompany most marching bands which you will see.

The first marching bands appeared in the 1800s by all accounts. They originated from groups of traveling musicians who would perform at festivals centuries ago, and as time went on they would become the foundation for military bands. And military bands are where marching bands directly evolved from. Marching bands in the USA are known mostly for performing at sports events – namely, American football matches. The oldest recorded marching band was the Notre Dame Marching Band, which was started up in 1845.

One of the most spectacular things about marching bands is the formation – back when they started up, the band might form the initials of the teams that were to play that day. But in modern times, the huge crowds that events like the Superbowl pulls together, call for something special – video games, film scenes, complex patterns – marching bands make their performance even more special by stepping out in a formation that makes up recognizable shapes when viewed from above.

How to celebrate Marching Band Day

Even if you don’t have a musical bone in your body, you can still enjoy Marching Band Day!

Get back to the roots of the marching band by going along to a sports match, or listening to some of the great, upbeat marching band music out there. There are also plenty of pretty amazing videos on Youtube to see of marching bands doing their thing, including some jaw-dropping formations at some of the big American football matches in the States.

You can be sure that a lot of marching bands will be putting on special performances for this day. It is worth doing a search online to see if any marching bands are performing in your area. There could even be a parade going on in honor of this day. If there is a Facebook group for your local community, you should be able to find information about any events happening here.

Another way to celebrate Marching Band Day is to learn more about marching bands. There are plenty of great information sources online and in libraries too. You will be able to learn more about the history of the marching band and how this musical trend started. You can also find out more about some of the most famous marching bands.

The Ohio State University Marching Band is a good place to start. They perform at events during the semester, including the Ohio State football games. This is one of only a few all-brass and percussion collegiate bands in the United States. There are plenty of other exciting bands as well. This includes Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, the USC Trojan Marching Band, Mucca Pazza, Environmental Encroachment, and the TriBattery Pops Tom Goodkind Conductor.

You should be able to find lots of information about these bands online, as well as videos of their performances on YouTube. You may even decide to celebrate Marching Band Day by learning one of the songs yourself!

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National Marching Band Day,

please consider donating to the

Your donation will be used to help fund musical instruments and replacing worn uniforms of the band and is tax deductible! As our students, alumni,

and parents know, the Hart Regiment strives to create a challenging musical environment that encourages excellence through high expectations, hard work, compassion, support and friendship.

A History of Success

William S. Hart High School was designated a California Distinguished Arts School by the State of California in 2013. The instrumental music department at Hart HS consists of the Marching Band, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Winter Drum Line, Concert Percussion Ensemble, Music Technology, A.P. Music Theory and Colorguard. After being restructured in 2000, the department has continued to consistently provide a well-rounded music education for its students with emphasis on Concert and Solo & Ensemble performances.

The Hart Regiment has been named the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association Marching Band Champion in their division for fourteen years. This is an accomplishment unequaled by any other group since the inception of the championships in 2002. The Regiment has also competed at the finals level consistently at Bands of America Regional Championships since 2002. In 2007, the Regiment was a semi-finalist in its first appearance at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, IN. At the 2009 Bands of America Southern California Regional, the Regiment was named the division 3A class champion and was the High Music Award recipient. The Regiment has medaled at numerous Marching Band Open Series Championships since its inception in 2008. The Regiment has recorded the music for the NBC television series “Friday Night Lights” and featured in a commercial for Bounty Paper Towels.

It’s time for those hoping to be a part of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh marching band to march forth.

March 4 marks the opening of applications to join the Titan Thunder Marching Band, which is planned to debut in the fall. UW Oshkosh students can apply at

Open positions include piccolo, clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone, trumpet, mellophone, trombone, baritone, sousaphone, marching percussion, color guard and baton.

Those who take part in the Titan Thunder’s inaugural year will have the chance not only to make new friends, play great music and cheer on the Titans, but they’ll also be laying the foundation for the program—including developing new traditions, cheers and social events that will make the Titan Thunder exceptional for years to come.

All Titan Thunder members will receive scholarship funds for the inaugural year and every year they remain in the program. There are additional financial opportunities, including the Titan National Scholar Program for out-of-state students and the Ed Karrels Scholarship for musicians who are not music majors. High school Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) students also can apply for the new Titan Thunder CAPP Scholarship.

The formation of the University’s new marching band was announced last spring and is under the direction of Joe Scheivert. The ambitious undertaking includes the formation of a 100-piece marching band that will be an integral part of UWO Titan game days and other campus and community events.

The maximum number of section member positions are as follows:

  • 16 piccolos
  • 16 clarinets
  • 16 alto saxophones
  • 8 tenor saxophones
  • 36 trumpets
  • 12 mellophones
  • 18 trombones
  • 12 baritones
  • 12 sousaphones
  • 20 baritones
  • 34 drumline: 11SD, 5TD, 7BD, 11CY
  • 24 color guard
  • 12 twirlers
  • 1 drum major

Early applicants also will be invited to participate in the drum major selection process later this month. The application period for the band’s leadership roles of drum major and section leaders was open through February.

Students of any major and on any of the three UWO campuses are invited to apply. For those worried about the time commitment, Scheivert said he understands a student’s first priority is academics, and the marching band schedule is designed to be achievable for all UWO students.

Enrollment also is open to any student enrolled at a post-secondary institution, meaning current students at Ripon College, Lawrence University, Fox Valley Technical College and beyond can join the band through a special admission process.

Interested students are encouraged to contact Scheivert—either by email at , by phone at (920) 424-2276 or just by stopping at his office in Room N118 of the Arts and Communications Center on the Oshkosh campus—with any questions.

Titan Thunder virtual information sessions are held every other Thursday in spring and summer. These Zoom meetings include audition and membership information, a chance to meet the staff and student leadership, the sharing of ideas for fall and more. Sessions are at 8 p.m. March 17 and 31, April 14 and 28, May 12 and 26, June 9 and 23, July 7 and 21, and Aug. 4 and 18.

In the coming weeks, more positions to support the Titan Thunder will be opened. These may include librarian, equipment and managers and rehearsal techs. Some of these will be open to students not performing with the band. More information will be available soon.

Our team at Reviews by Merriam-Webster has selected the best musical instruments for kids.

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“Marching band.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2022.



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The Northwestern University ‘Wildcat’ Marching Band is a group of friends who work through sun and rain heavy dew to produce unparalleled performances across campus and the country. With students representing nearly every major, the Wildcat Band offers its members a welcoming family. Bonds are formed that last a lifetime. (That’s why crowds of alumni come back to march at homecoming every year!)

Jump into the best band in the country: The Northwestern University Marching Band.

Pat Fitzgerald ’97
Head Coach
Wildcat Football

Like every great family, the Wildcat Band provides a circle of support and growth througout the college career. Students take on important leadership roles in the organization to support our unified success, acting as marching instructors, music section leaders, music arrangers and drill writers. Every new member is connected with a “NUMB Buddy” to be a mentor and friend.

Our organization assures marching band activities do not interfere with academic responsibilities. Members of “The Finest Band in the Land” take their schooling seriously. Rehearsals are scheduled to avoid class conflicts.

Northwestern provides students with many ways to become involved, though few groups offer the unique adventures and friendships of the Wildcat Marching Band. It has been said that joining NUMB is the second best decision of one’s life. The first, of course, is to choose to study at Northwestern.

The Faulkner University Marching Eagles Band had its debut in the Fall of 2010. The band is experiencing tremendous growth and is currently recruiting members for both marching and concert band for the 2018-2019 season.

See the Scholarship and Audition Guidelines to learn about available scholarships for band and color guard members. Larger scholarships are available for music majors.

Band Director Stephen Foster
Dr. Stephen Foster is the director of bands and Associate Professor of Music at Faulkner University. With over thirty years experience in music education, Stephen has directed bands in Alabama and Tennessee. He played trumpet with the Middle Tennessee State University Band of Blue and performed with the Belmont University Jazz Band. He continues to perform when time permits.

For more information contact Stephen Foster, Director of Bands.

March with the Eagles Day

Spend the day with the Faulkner University Marching Eagles and enjoy a fun and exciting college game day experience! Participants will perform with the Marching Eagles in the stands and as part of their pregame and halftime shows.

Tentative schedule of events:

8:30 a.m. Check-in at the Fine Arts Center
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Marching and music rehearsal
11:15 a.m. Eagle Walk
11:30 p.m. Lunch provided (Tail-gaiting))
1:30 p.m. Faulkner University vs. Cincinnati Christian University
Half-time Performance with the Marching Eagle Band around 2:30

The Faulkner University “March with the Eagles” High School Day is open by application to high school band students in grades 9-12. Apply today!

How to march in marching band

While we utilize many different styles within our shows, the Wildcat Marching Band is considered a "corps-style" marching band. Some features of this style include the use of a roll-step or glide-step, keeping the performers' upper bodies pointed at the audience most of the time, and the use of backward marching and "shifts" or "slides" in addition to forward marching. Your band may have been a "big-ten" or "show style" marching band, or perhaps you marched only in parades (or not at all!). Whatever your background, you have nothing to worry about. We start with basic marching technique on day one for everyone. This allows our veterans to brush up on their technique and for new members to learn our style, terminology, and commands. It may seem overwhelming right now, but we will guide you through every step of the way. If you have trouble with anything we're doing, our veteran band members won't hesitate to help you out. We understand that our new members come from a variety of marching backgrounds, from those who have never marched a step to people who have marched in highly-competitive marching bands and drum corps.

Whatever your background, there are some things you can do before the season starts to help make things easier. Marching band is an aerobic activity, and we start off right away with the most physically-demanding part of the season: band camp! During band camp, we'll spend all day each day marching and playing/spinning. It shouldn't be more than you can handle, but you'll probably get tired during the day. The nice thing is, once you make it through band camp, the rest of the season is much less physically demanding! To help ease the transition into the season, here are some training suggestions. You don't need to belong to a gym or have any fitness equipment to do any of these exercises (sometimes hand weights are suggested to increase difficulty, but they aren't necessary).

How to march in marching band

The Harrison Marching Band, which includes the Color Guard, begins rehearsing in the summer and continues through the football season. Performances include all home and away football games, pep rallies, select local parades, local competitions and exhibitions, and several BOA competitions. This ensemble is unquestionably the most visible performance group in high school.

The marching band is an extracurricular activity open to any current ninth through twelfth grade band student. Because the activity is a direct product of the skills that are developed in the band curriculum, only students currently enrolled in a band class are eligible to march, with the exception of Color Guard.

Since the marching band enters into competitive events, all students must meet the Georgia High School Association and Cobb County academic and residency eligibility requirements. The details of these requirements are outlined in the Harrison High School Student Handbook issued to all students by their advisement teacher.

The marching activity is a demanding activity, both musically and physically. All participants must commit themselves to maintaining high musical performance standards and good physical condition.

Harrison Marching Band is one of the top competitive marching bands in the nation!

Another was the excitement of any parade we were brought to see as we grew up in Boston. There were parades with marching bands for St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, the 4 th of July, the North End’s summer street feasts/parades honoring different saints, and even the local Little League Opening Day parade for a few years when my kid brother was a participant. And we never, ever missed watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on TV every Thanksgiving morning. Regardless of the different reasons for the parades, one thing was for sure – we’d see marching bands and hear them playing marches.

We grew up with marches. All of us know that a musical march is a lively piece of music to which you can, well, march, as in a parade. Right?

It turns out that in music, “march” is defined broadly as music having a strong regular beat, written for marching and performed by a military band. It’s understood to have originated as a way to keep up the morale of soldiers, perhaps beginning with only the steady beat of a drum.

In time, that original reason for marches evolved. Through the centuries came marches for the funerals of royalty and marionettes (Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette”), marches for royal coronations, marches to strike fear or stir-up patriotism as a country heads into war. Jazzy marches, graduation marches, bridal marches, and marches done by ballet dancers.

And don’t forget about “screamers.” That’s the name of the category of marches used by circuses in the first half of the 20 th century. And there are piano marches and march movements in larger classical compositions that don’t require anyone to march at all.

Here are a few marches that show the wide variety of the music that qualifies under the category.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote about a dozen marches starting from age 11. His collected marches, K. 408, are scored for different groups of instruments, with and without strings. Most were commissions from noble patrons for outdoor enjoyment. Here is a grouping of 3 of them from three different orchestras and conductors.

One more famous march from Mozart: While many people call it the “Rondo alla Turca” (the Turkish Rondo), which was part of his Piano Sonata No. 11, K. 331/300i, throughout its history it has also been known as the “Turkish March.” That is because this movement imitates the sound of the Ottoman Janissary (elite infantry) Bands gaining popularity in Europe at the time. These are believed to be the oldest military bands in history. Mozart was not one to leave a popular form of music behind, especially if it meant a chance to make money from it. Here’s pianist Lars Roos.

Even before Mozart’s marches was English composer and organist Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary, also known as The Prince of Denmark’s March. It is believed he wrote it around 1700 for Denmark’s Prince George, who was husband to England’s Queen Anne. Here is jazz and classical trumpeter Wynton Marsalis with Anthony Newman conducting the English Chamber Orchestra.

This piece has gained great popularity over the last 50 years as a wedding march. It was also heard during the wedding ceremony of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles in 1981. By the way, about 4 minutes into the Beatles song “It’s All Too Much” (from the Yellow Submarine album) you’ll hear the March quoted!

Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg was asked to write the incidental music to Henryk Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt. In Act 2, the title character Peer is brought into the Hall of the Mountain (Troll) King. Later in the scene, we hear the “March of the Trolls.” Here’s Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic.

The main theme of this next piece will be familiar to you if you’ve ever seen Loony Tunes cartoons or movies such as Beetlejuice . Frederic Chopin’s March funèbre (Funeral March) is often played as a stand-alone piece by pianists, but it was written originally as a movement in his Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 35. Here is one of the great Chopin interpreters, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.

The March funèbre was played at Chopin’s own funeral as well as later at the state funerals for President John F. Kennedy, Sir Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher.

John Phillip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever was written In December of 1896. While some of us grew up with the parody lyrics (“Be kind to your web-footed friends, for a duck may be somebody’s mother…”), the actual lyrics celebrate liberty, freedom, and the Union. I wanted you to have a version with the real lyrics! Here’s the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldier’s Chorus.

In 1987 this march became the National March of the United States by an act of Congress.

Just from the title, St. Louis Blues, you’d never guess the piece is a march, but it is. W.C. Handy’s piece was published in September of 1914. One of my favorite memories of this piece was hearing the Boston Pops play it in Symphony Hall, with drummer Fred Buda having the time of his life in the back row. I found you this recording of the St. Louis Symphony playing it, with the conductor Gemma New having the time of her life conducting it!

There have been countless marches written and you’ve probably heard countless versions of them, from Tchaikovsky’s “March of the Toy Soldiers” (from The Nutcracker ballet) to Victor Herbert’s “March of the Toys”, (from Babes in Arms); from Schubert’s Military March No. 1, to the famous “graduation march,” “Pomp and Circumstance,” March No.1, by Edward Elgar; from the “Triumphal March” from Verdi’s opera Aida to movie marches as heard in The Bridge on the River Kwai and the “March of the Winkies,” who guarded the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. Here’s hoping these reminders help you march into March.

Coda: Let’s hear one more march. This time, from John Williams’s score to Star Wars Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back. Your heart starts racing when you recognize it’s Darth Vader’s theme.

How to march in marching band

The Marching Virginians, like many large university bands, use a variety of marching styles depending upon the demands of the music and drill.

The maneuvers listed on this page represent the fundamentals commonly used by The Marching Virginians. It is critical to remember that uniformity is the goal. You can view all of the tutorial videos with the YouTube playlist linked here, or click the individual links next to the descriptions below.

Parade Rest (Video)

Parade Rest gives the band a way to relax and still look uniform. One long whistle blow from the drum major is the signal to fall in at Parade Rest.

Holding instruments at Parade Rest is unique for each section. Please be sure to view the video for your instrument in the Instrument Carriage section below or see your Rank Captain for more information.


How to march in marching band

This command is given in conjunction with a whistle while at Parade Rest. On the second short whistle at the end of the signal, raise your instrument, head, and left leg as in a high mark time. On the first beat after the whistle, bring your left foot to the position of attention and return your instrument and head to their normal position. The entire band shouts the response “HO!” as the left foot hits the ground.

Holding instruments at Attention is unique for each section. Please be sure to view the video for your instrument in the Instrument Carriage section below or see your Rank Captain for more information.


This command is given with a verbal and visual cue. While the band is at Attention, the drum major will cross their arms and then raise them over their head while shouting “INSTRUMENTS!”. The entire band shouts “HUH!” in response as instruments snap up into playing position.

Mark Time Low (VIDEO)

Beginning with the left foot and alternating feet, keep your toes on the ground and lift your heels to your ankle. Body motion should be kept below the waist.


Beginning with the left foot and alternating feet, raise your foot so your ankle lands just below the knee on the opposite leg. Your foot/toes should be pointed straight toward the ground while in the raised position. Movement above the waist should be at a minimum.

HALT (Video)

This command is given to uniformly bring the band to a standstill. It can be called at any time, and the vocal response is “ONE, TWO” as your right and left feet stop moving respectively.


This command is given to change the direction of motion. It can be called at any time except during a Slide, and whatever direction you were marching before the command will be continued after the command. The vocal response is “AND ONE” as your left foot begins to move and “LOCK” on count four as your right foot goes into its final position. For turns to the left, your heels should stay connected. For turns to the right, your toes should stay connected.


This step is also known as a “roll step” and is used for smooth, fluid motion in drill. With every step, your foot should roll from heel-to-toe and your weight should shift from the stationary foot to your extended foot. All body motion should be kept below the waist. The vocal response is “and one” when stepping out with your left foot to begin and “hit” whenever you cross over a yard line. If you are transitioning from a forward march to a Mark Time or Halt, point your right toe to the ground and close with your left foot on counts seven and eight respectively.

The term “8-to-5” refers to a standard step size with 8 steps taken for every 5 yards on the field, but step size is often adjusted to fit the number of counts in a particular movement for a field show. Movements of this nature are called floats because the form “floats” to the next picture or set. In a float, it is imperative that you guide to your left and right, remaining equidistant from the band member on either side of you.


Commands and responses are similar to those for the Forward March, but to minimize movement above the waist, rise up on your toes to march backwards.


Raise your left leg as in a high mark time and move forward, bringing your feet down in a toe-to-heel manner. As you move, your ankle should pass your knee on the “and” of the beat. Your ankle should remain relaxed, and your toes should be pointed. Power Step is always preceded by and followed by a High Mark Time, and is generally used in an 8-to-5 or 16-to-5 step when a strong musical and visual impact is appropriate.


This command is called to fix alignment while marching in blocks. In a Dress Right command, everyone executes this command except for the rightmost person in each row, who stays at attention. Similarly, in a Dress Left command, everyone executes this command except for the leftmost person in each row. To come back to the center, the command is Ready Front. The vocal response for the Dress Right/Left command is “One, Two,” and the vocal response for the band Ready Front command is “and down.”


This command is called to change the direction in which a Forward March is executed by 90 degrees. On count eight, you pivot on your right toe to the right or left, depending on which direction is given in the command. A Flank command can only be called from Forward or Backward March.


This command is called to change the direction in which a Forward March is executed by 180 degrees. On count eight, you pivot on your right toe 180 degrees over your left shoulder to face the back. To the Rear can only be called from Forward March.


This command is called to change the direction of motion below the waist while your instrument still faces the front. This type of marching is used most frequently in halftime shows, so it’s a great one to practice. On count eight, pivot on your right toe to move toward either the left or the right. Your shoulders should stay parallel to the front, while your feet should be turned 90 degrees to the left or right, depending on which direction is given in the command.


The videos below illustrate proper instrument carriages for each section. Flag Corps and Percussion members should check with leadership, as uniform carriage may change from season to season.