A Letter to Students – Band Camp, Part 7

Dear Band Students,

I have good news for you today.

Marching Basics

Scared?  Don’t be.  Our basics are about training your mind not just your body.  Seriously.

Marching band is about getting students to understand and internalize a series of tasks.  The average show will have about 45 drill sets in it although it ranges from 20 drill sets to 80+ drill sets.  That’s 45 sets of count structure, 45 left to rights, 45 front to backs, 45 midsets…etc.  The list goes on AND we add music!  Scared?  Don’t be. 🙂

Basics are where you learn to think in large sets of assignments paying attention to the principles of drill execution.  It is not about muscle memory.  It is about frame of mind.  An 8×5 step size is not something that needs to be drilled into your legs but rather a way of looking at the field.  That being said we must train our bodies to move with the appropriate technique.  There will be time set aside for marching basics exercises which focus on technique.  The more you all march with the right technique always (remember 3 things must be identical in every step of every move…pathway, size and technique) the more we will approach more fun and varied basics.

We know this.  Drill gets internalized first, then technique, then playing.  Logically they must follow in that order for how can you march with good technique unless you know how many counts you have to get there and where you are going?  It all goes back to the dot book.  Dot book = a representation of how good your show will be.  Basics is where we learn how to learn drill.

Midsets, Total Distances, complex count structures, horn moves, direction changes, straight line paths, consistent step size, technique, etc.


That is all, don’t you like these letters being short? 🙂

Mr. Gillespie

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