Marching Fundamentals Clinic Resources

Downloads and UNH Wildcat Marching Band Content

NH All-State Clinic Handout
PDF version
NH All-State Clinic Handout
Word 2010 version
UNH Wildcat Marching Band Rehearsal System
Similar to systems used by many other marching organizations, this is how we structure our drill-cleaning rehearsals. It allows students a chance to make adjustments on their own, receive feedback from "the tower," and then receive feedback on the field. When staff and students know there will be a chance to say what they need to say, it reduces additional chatter and people talking over one another. It also reduces the amount of time they need to stand at attention (which can get tiring or lead to students no longer observing "attention" as they should).
A sample weekly rehearsal schedule is included, as well as drum major and staff responsibilities. (Our drum majors double as field staff.)
Maintaining Your Health in Marching Band
This article contains information on proper footwear, hearing protection, sun protection, hydration, nutrition, and preventing repetitive-use injuries.
Getting in Shape for Marching Band
Stretches and exercises for marching students.

External Resources

I have no affiliation with the following websites or products, but have found them interesting or useful.

Dynamic Marching
There is a wealth of information on this website, including articles and videos. Many are available for free, others are on a paid basis, but they are very informative. Great for novices and seasoned teachers alike.
Beyond the Notes
There are a number of resources here, but particularly of note is "How to Practice Marching in a Sequence." The UNH Wildcat Marching Band will be implementing this visual warmup system in the fall.
Marching Roundtable
This podcast is less than a year old, but there are over 80 episodes covering almost every aspect of the marching arts. They have interviewed some of the biggest names in the marching band, drum corps, winterguard, and indoor percussion world, but also have nuts-and-bolts episodes about things like show design and selecting colors to use for your flags. They have begun posting additional resources on their website as well.
The Student's Guide to Marching, by Chris Previc
Written for novice marchers, this book explains nearly every facet of marching band, from posture and marching technique to learning and cleaning drill, watching the drum major, meditation, and performance. It seems a little long for the target audience (although I bet I would have read it cover-to-cover as a high school freshman), but would be very informative for a director who is new to marching band. It also has good information for experienced directors, as you may discover some new ways to teach things.
A clearing house for pretty much every other marching resource out there!
The Breathing Gym
Not particularly relevant to this session, but I think everyone should incorporate it into their programs!

Games to Practice and Reinforce Fundamentals


  • Students form a block.
  • Designated staff member or drum major calls commands, remaining staff and drum majors serve as judges floating through the band.
  • Judges watch for mistakes in execution, call students "out."
  • Students who are called out stand on sideline (not allowing them to sit helps reduce people trying to get out intentionally).
  • As the remaining group gets smaller, the commands can be called in quicker succession and judges can get pickier. It becomes like a game of "Simon Says."
  • The last student remaining is the winner. We will often recognize the last rookie standing as well as the last veteran (or the last in each section, class, etc.)

Pros: The competitive aspect pushes students to work harder. Students who have gotten out cheer on their peers, especially in the same section. Good way to reward excellent marchers.
Cons: The students who need the most help tend to be those who get out first. Struggling students may get discouraged. For this reason, it's better to hold the event toward the end of the season (when it's also a good time to have something new to mix things up a bit).


  • Students are placed in groups of four (like instruments preferable, but not necessary).
  • Entire group is given a specific command or set of commands to execute. Squads perform these one at a time for four judges.
  • If a student executes the sequence (or whatever the focus is) correctly, he or she receives a "thumbs up" from the corresponding judge.
  • If all four students receive "thumbs up" at once, the squad gets to go sit down. The object is to try to get out first!
  • If any students receive "thumbs down," the judge gives the individual feedback and the entire squad goes off to practice. Ideally, the students who got "thumbs up" will help those who got "thumbs down."
  • When the squad feels ready, they try again and the cycle continues.

Pros: The goal is for all students to successfully execute the assigned sequence. Squad members positively encourage those who need help and have opportunities to teach.
Cons: It can take a long time for the game to complete, and students end up sitting around toward the end. If you have several sets of judges, it will take less time since more than one squad can perform at once. Can be frustrating if a squad makes many unsuccessful attempts.