Glossary of Terms

Marching Band Terms

Your Reference Guide to All Things Band

Adjudicator:  Another term for “judge.” The adjudicator’s job is to provide evaluation and feedback for a specific performance at a specific event. In a competition setting, the adjudicator may also be tasked to rank groups and help determine awards based on scores they provide.

BAND APP: BAND is the free communication app for groups trusted by team leaders around the world. Create a free and secure space for your group to communicate better. 

Band Lot: The small parking lot adjacent to the Band Hall. On game and competition days, parents are NOT to drop off or pick up in this area.

Battery: Marching Band percussion section that carries drums and marches. Comprised of snare drums, bass drums, and quads.

Bibbers: Black overall-type pants. The overall-like garment worn under a jacket in standard marching band uniforms.

Blues and Blacks: Your royal blue shirt, black shorts, black socks and marching shoes.

Brass: Baritones, Euphoniums, Horns, Mellophones, Sousaphones, Trombones, Trumpets, and Tubas.

Cadence: The beat played by percussion during a parade to indicate the marching pace. Also played as the band marches off the field after a show, rehearsal, or competition.

Dots: Positions on the field formations.

Dot book:  A small notebook utilized by marching bands in order to aid the learning of formations on the field. 

Drill: The steps and positions that make up the marching show. It involves the development of the patterns in which the band will march while playing the show music. The drill is written with each band member represented by a specific dot. Each dot is essential to each performance!

Drill Chart: Charts out the position of the entire band in different sets of the music.

Drum Major: Student conductor who directs the marching band as it plays.

Drumline:  The entire percussion section of the Marching Band; includes both the Front Ensemble and the Battery.

Flags: Flags/silks used by the Color Guard during a Marching Band show.

Flip Book: Book of Stand Tunes music.

Floor Mat: Large vinyl tarp used during Winter Guard that is spread out across the gymnasium floor. 

Front Ensemble: Percussion section of the band that does not march. Consists of keyboard instruments and auxiliary percussion. They are staged at the front of the band during shows and competitions.

Gauntlets: Wrist and lower arm covering that is part of the Marching Band uniform.

Color Guard: Group of dancers and flag/rifle/saber spinners who are a vital visual part of any show. During marching season, the Color Guard is always included when we say “Band.”

Lyre: Clip to hold a Flip Book to an instrument.

Marching Band: Collectively the Marchers, Color Guard, and Prop Managers.

Marching Band Jacket: Jacket worn over undershirt and Bibbers.

Marching Shoes:  Special shoes each marcher wears during shows and competitions. Not to be worn during Concert season.

Metronome: Device which adulates and visually represents the tempo or steady beat. Can be purchased at music stores or added to electronic devices using an app.

Movement: Songs a Marching Band plays. Our shows usually have 3 movements designated as Movement 1, Movement 2, and Movement 3.

Overlay: Worn in place of a Marching Band Jacket. Coordinates with the theme of the field show.

Percussion:  Any striking instrument, not just drums.

Pit Crew: Volunteers who help move, load, assemble, and push the instruments onto the field for games and competitions.

Plumes: The very fragile feathers on the Marching Band uniform hats. Provided by the band.

Podium: Raised platform where the Drum Majors stand. 

Practice Lot: The lot behind the Auditorium with the large scaffolding and yard markers.

Prop Managers: Students that manage the props during halftime shows and competition performances.

Quads: Set of 4-6 connected drums played by a member of the Battery. Think of this as a drum set that you carry.

Quartermaster: Student responsible for maintaining the order of instruments, band and percussion rooms, and loading equipment onto trailers for competitions and performances.

Rifles: Imitation rifles carried by the Color Guard to visually interpret the music.

Run Through: Practicing the entire Marching Band show at once.

Saber: A long heavy cavalry sword with a curved blade and a single cutting edge used in Color Guard or Winter Guard.

Section: Students who play the same instruments, e.g., the clarinet section.

Section leader: Student who leads an individual section.

Sectional: A practice or rehearsal for only a section of instruments.

Show Shirts:  A shirt matching with the theme of the performance. Great souvenir for the year.

Stand Tunes: Music played in the stands during football games (and sometimes pep rallies).

Step Off: The precise moment when a marching band performance starts.

UIL: University Scholastic League (UIL) is an organization that creates rules for and administers almost all athletic, musical, and academic contests for public primary and secondary schools in the U.S. state of Texas. It is the largest organization of its type in the world. Activities range from American Football and cross-examination debate to mathematics and marching band competitions.

Winter Guard: Color Guard-only contest season. Starts in November and runs through March.

Woodwinds: Bassoons, Clarinets, Flutes, Oboes, and Saxophones.