Welcome to the fifth edition of DMIdeas—A blog series for student leaders from the Bands of America Drum Major Institute Staff. The BOA Drum Major Institute is committed to helping leaders dig deep into their own personality and discover the natural leadership abilities that already exist while simultaneously providing new skills for greater effectiveness. Leadership is at the CORE of every great endeavor. And at the CORE of every great leader resides honorable Character, comprehensive Content, effective Communication, and an active role in an organization’s Chemistry. Each blog will take a look at one of these facets. It is our sincere hope that we can both inform and inspire! CORE!
Biggest Band in the Land... Communication in the Allen Band
With over 800 students on the marching field the Allen Eagle Escadrille has to be one of the largest High School Marching Bands in the country. Students cover 110 yards of green turf and it is not always easy to communicate to each student the instructions and improvements between every repetition. The student leadership team (SLT) is absolutely vital to the success of such a large program. The SLT consists of 75-‐85 students that work as Drum Majors, Section Leaders, Drill Instructors, and Quartermasters.
These students help the band communicate with each other and the directors while on the field. When it comes to an outdoor rehearsal, the directors depend on the SLT to more directly connect with the more than 700 students on the marching field. During a rehearsal the Drum Majors address the band through whistle commands and verbal instructions. The band is learns to respond to various whistle commands with a verbal response in unison. Some examples include:
-‐ Attention: Band-‐Ten-‐Hut
-‐ Parade Rest: Band-‐Parade-‐Rest
-‐ Ready Position: Band to the ready
These commands allow the Drum Majors to get the attention of the students so the directors can communicate instructions to the students via the PA system. While the band is rehearsing the director will give the directions and the Dum Major on the center podium will repeat the instructions for the band to hear before the next rep starts. In this way, the students are able to hear the director’s comments twice before continuing with rehearsal to increase effectiveness and understanding.
Throughout the school year the Allen Band spends time learning drill and rehearsing music to reach their expectation of excellence. However, in order to achieve that goal the Section Leaders and Drill Masters are there to encourage and educate the band. The communication role of the Section Leader is very similar to any other band program in that they are responsible for communicating to their section members the expectations and information given out by the directors. The directors rely on Section Leaders to teach and remind other students of the marching and musical skills in order to effectively communicate the information to all students. The Drill Instructors’ role is to assist the Section Leaders and help fix any visual inconsistencies during the performance.
The key concept for the Allen Student Leadership Team is to be effective and communicative. These expectations allow for them to act as ambassadors to the other 700 band students. Without their assistance communication between director and student on and off the field would suffer drastically.
Through the efforts of student leadership and organization by the directors, the Allen Band is able to rehearse and perform high-‐caliber marching band shows throughout the season.