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Cadet Terminology

There are many things about Marching Band that are unknown to those who have never experienced them before. Marching language is be a bit puzzling until you become familiar with it. Below you’ll find some of the regularly used terms that you will likely become aware of very soon.

Straight lines in ranks, files and diagonals.

The tempo, or number of beats per minute. Also a drum beat used while marching.

Color Guard
Originally the armed guards who protected the U.S. Flag (the Colors). Since drum and bugle corps evolved from the military, they also carried colors and had a guard. As drum corps got more elaborate, the color guard began to include teams of rifle spinners, tall flag performers and dance teams. The name is still used for these teams by drum corps and corps styled bands, even though the national flag is rarely used in performance.

A short name for Drum and Bugle Corps, a type of marching group that performs using various pitched bugles, percussion equipment, flags, rifles, etc. Also means simply, a group of people.

Corps Style Drum Major
A drum major who leads and conducts a band or corps without using a baton or mace.

Drum Corps International is an organization where competing top ranked Marching Bands from across the US and Canada compete through the US and differing venues. DCI is attended each years at the U of M, TCF Stadium by the 728 Cadets. Click for more info.

The shoes that a marchers wears.

Straight line in a rank, aligned on either the left, center or right person.

“Dress Left/Center/Right…Dress”
Oral command that tells the group: Straighten the rank to the center person. Usually the instruments are raised to the playing position, and each person’s head snaps towards the alignment point. This may be done in either one or two counts. Members then dress the rank. The command is called, “Dress – Center – Dress.” To return to their original position, “Ready – Front” is called.

Drum & Bugle Corps
A type of marching group that performs using various pitched bugles, percussion equipment, flags, rifles, etc. They are lead in performance by a drum major. There are Drum Corps competitions through out the Summer that finish with an International Championship. The organization that governs the activity is Drum Corps International (DCI)

Drum Line
The field drums collected together in a single marching unit. This unit often includes; snare drums, tenors, bass drums, cymbals and/or timpani. The drum line is most often used by drum and bugle corps and corps-styled marching bands.

Drum Major
A person who leads a marching band or drum & bugle corps.

Marching Band
A band that moves and plays at the same time. The band usually consists of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. They are often accompanied by flag carriers, identification units, drill or dance teams, or rifle teams. They are lead in performance by a drum major. Marching band performances usually occur either on a street in a parade or on a football field.

Position of Ready
A slight pause before the preparatory beat in conducting. This allows the players to get set and watch the drum major or conductor.

How a person stands or holds their body.