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Band Glossary


  • The term originally used for the flag/rifle carriers who stood at the front of marching show.  Evolved into modern Color Guard when dance and decorative flags were added.

  • Now known as Guard or Color Guard; see Guard/Color Guard for more details.


  • Marching Band percussion section that carries drums and marches; is comprised of snare drums, bass drums, and quads (see Quads).


BOA - Bands of America



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


Caption Awards
  • Various awards a marching band can win at competitions, can include: Drum Major, Drumline, Auxiliary, Music, Marching, General Effect, Percussion Class Grand Champion, Pit Crew and Audience Spirit Awards, Overall Class Champion (based on highest points across all classes.)

  • Points can total up to 100 for each adjudicated category.



  • Personnel hired to help out with various sections of the band, as in brass instructor or drumline instructor.



  • The steps and positions that make up the Marching Band show. (see Sets)


Drill Book

  • The notebook that holds each individual student’s drill for the Marching Band show.


Drill Down

  • A marching skills contest conducted along the lines of “Simon Says.” Contest is one of the highlights of the parent show at the end of band camp.


Drum Major(s)

  • Student conductor(s) who direct the marching band as it plays.



  • The entire percussion section of the Marching Band; includes both the PIT and the Battery.



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


Front Ensemble

  • Formerly known as PIT.  

  • Marching Band percussion section that does not march but rather plays on the sidelines and are staged at the front of the band during marching competitions.  It is comprised of instruments such as tympani, xylophones, gongs, etc.  



  • Wrist and lower-arm covering; part of Marching Band/Guard uniform.


Color Guard

  • A group of students who add color and style to marching band performances with flags and other props. Formerly know as Auxiliary, the term originally used for the flag/rifle carriers who stood at the front of marching show that evolved into modern-day color guard when dance and decorative flags were added.


Indoor Drumline

  • A competitive Percussion group that includes both the Battery and the Front Ensemble that compete after the Marching Band season is over

  • Welcomes non-percussionists as well.

  • For more information


Indoor Guard

  • A competitive Guard group that competes after the Marching Band season is over.  

  • Welcomes those who weren't a part of Guard during the Marching Band season.

  • For more information


Pep Band

  • Small subset of the band that plays for the away football games.



  • Percussion Instrument Team

  • Now known as Front Ensemble; see Front Ensemble for more information


PIT Crew

  • A group of parent volunteers who assist students that are in the Front Ensemble, formerly known as PIT, before and after the band preforms at a competition.  

  • Responsiblities include helping to get the instruments on and off the field within the allotted time frame, assisting students load and unload percussion instruments on and off the truck, and helping the Front Ensemble students assemble their instruments and set up for competition.

  • Also known as "Pit Parents"



  • The feathered portion of the Marching Band hats (very fragile); provided by band.



  • Raised platform upon which conductors stand.


  • Also known as Tower



  • Set of 4 connected drums carried by member of the battery.

  • Also known as Teners or Tener Drums


Red Box

  • A locked box that hangs on the door next to Mrs. Jacoby’s office in the band hallway (See the pictures below).  This box is used to send/turn in materials to the Band Parent’s Association.  It is the location where most forms and items can be dropped for pick-up by the BPA Treasurer.  NEVER PUT CASH IN THE RED BOX.  All money that is deposited in the RED BOX should be in the form of a check.  Generally, checks can be made payable to HHSBPA unless other instructions have been given.  All materials deposited into the RED BOX should be inside a sealed envelope with the Band Member’s name clearly marked on the outside.  It is recommended that a brief description of the contents also be marked on the outside of the envelope.



  • Imitation rifles the Guard use in a Marching Band show. (They’re heavy!)



  • Practicing the Marching Band show.



  • Fake swords that the Guard uses in a Marching Band show.



  • See section in BOA Adjudicators Handbook, starting on page 24 for a description of scoring for BOA. Scoring rules are not universal across judging organizations, but this is a nice insight into the whole process from a judge’s point of view.



  • Students who play the same instruments, i.e. the trumpet section.


Section leader

  • Band student who is in charge of a Marching Band instrument section; such as “alto sax section leader.”



  • A practice or rehearsal by a section of instruments.



  • Sub-set of the shows.  


Solo and Ensemble Festival

  • VBODA music competition for individuals and small music groups, for example “clarinet quartet” or “brass choir” held in the Spring.


Step Off

  • The precise moment when a Marching Band parade performance starts.


Tag Day

  • A fundraiser where students go door-to-door presenting tags with the band performance schedule printed on it to community members while soliciting donations to the band.


Tenor Drums

  • Set of 4 connected drums carried by member of the battery.

  • Also known as Quads



  • Raised platform upon which conductors stand.

  • Also known as Podium


USSBA - United States Scholastic Bands Association


VBODA - Virginia Bands and Orchestra Directors Association 



  • The non-percussion part of the band; any instrument that is played by blowing air.


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