Faugh A Ballagh
Clear the Way
Issue 2: Deportment/Drill
Rehearse like you perform and perform like you rehearse: Adopting this method will reinforce proper drill and deportment. There are some members that, during rehearsal, suggest that they "get it" and can adequately display drill and deportment on parade but it is not necessary at the rehearsal hall. Aside from this being a cavalier attitude that may or may not work for this individual, it sends the wrong message to the rest of the band during rehearsal. We all default to what comes naturally when in stressful situations such as a parade. If one is trained and comfortable on how to conduct themselves during parade, the chances of the deportment being retained while the band is marching behind you is increased.
Deportment: It should be instilled into all members that while on performance the appropriate deportment shall be displayed. The actual performance begins when the Drum Major calls the band to "Fall In" up to the point the band is given the "Dismissed" command. During this time the band should not carry on with casual conversation, break bearing while on parade to discuss the latest musical or drill blunder, the weather, the length of the parade, or other distractions. With the prevalence of YouTube, there are many examples easily found of bands with poor deportment. Typical will be of a band that looks quite smart while performing the tune. All are in step, focused, and appear as a cohesive unit. However, once the tune is done, drill and deportment disappears, band members talk and joke amongst themselves. This is not the sign of a professional unit. The key is to set aside time to drill the band on a regular basis. Provide them examples of professional looking bands versus those that disintegrate when not playing.
Static Drill: If the band plays in a circle or in a block while halted, all members must be at attention. More to the point, heels need to be together and feet at a 45 or 60 degree angle depending on your type of band. Nothing looks worse than a band playing at the halt with most of the band at a proper attention position and three or four members with their feet apart. This again goes to "rehearse like you perform and perform like you rehearse."
Issue 1: Dress/Headgear
Feather bonnets: Check to ensure the outer-most draw string of the inner lining is drawn and tied so the bonnet fits on top of the head. If ears are touching or tucked under the sweatband, then the bonnet is resting too low. The frames are generally made from wire so adjust the shape of the bonnet to your head. If there are gaps between the head and the sweatband further adjustment is necessary. The Bonnet sits on the top of the head and does not lean back. The chin strap goes to the point of the chin and not under the jaw. The badge should not be loose. Iron the ribbons. Feather bonnets are only worn with military doublets. They are never worn in shirtsleeves or other styles of jackets.
Glengarrys or balmorals: Also should be worn on top of the head and not on the back of the head like a beanie. If there are gaps around the sweatband then the cap is too large. If worn canted rather than level, the left (badge) side is higher. The front crease of the glengarry is aligned with the center of the face and in line with the nose. Iron the ribbons.
Busbys, Shakos, Helmets, Peaked Caps, berets and most other forms of headgear worn by field music groups are based on military dress. They should be worn accordingly. They are not worn as a fashion accessory. One of your tasks as Drum Major is to ensure the band is uniform in appearance. You may need to make adjustments as needed to your members prior to performance.
Regimental Drum Major Association © 2009