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Whistles & other commands
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Author:  dmcoach [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:45 am ]
Post subject:  Whistles & other commands

Have you tried saving your voice by implementing whistle commands for your group? How about doing different baton signals?

Here's a few examples from one of my groups, they have whistle signals for the following commands:

-mark time
-forward march (no roll-off)
-forward march (with roll off)
-counter march
-silence the band

They also have a baton signal to have the drum line start playing their cadence, no whistles needed, and that's a simple signal with the baton straight up and the dome on top.

It's just some things that some drum majors and their bands do to make things a little easier for their band directors/ instructors while navigating through a parade route, or with running practices.

What does your band do, and what cool things have you seen from other groups? I know I've seen some DM's call their groups to attention with their whistles, and I know some of you do some pretty interesting stuff for your bands also.


Author:  jaybird3 [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistles & other commands

As Drum Major of my band, all my commands are vocal. I can never recall, in the history of my band, that the dm ever used a whistle. But, I use vocal and vocals with mace signals.

I personally enjoy hearing a dm with a crisp sounding whistle, but when it's not to pretty sounding it's easily annoying.

Other than that, can't wait to meet old and new DM friends :)

Author:  dmcoach [ Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistles & other commands

Here's a short example of Alvarado IS preparing for one of their parades. The drum major, drumline, and band were working together on a "marching roll-off", and switching between the drum cadence and the roll-off.

Check out the different whistles utilized for marking time, countermarch, and for the halt. As well as the baton signals (no whistles) to have the drumline start the cadence, and to start the roll-off.

This is to just show you some ideas, and as an example. Every band has different ways of doing things. If you could, feel free to share how your band does whistles and commands.

Alvarado IS, Assistant DM

Author:  Tobias087 [ Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistles & other commands

I'm currently in the USC band, and we do something called "relay." Relay is designed to combat loud noises produced by the crowd that can make it hard to hear the whistles. So that everyone can hear, each band member "relays" the whistles. That means each person actually says out loud "Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet!" Then we say "Up" for the instruments up, then there is one measure of a drum tap before the song begins. It may not be all that necessary for high schools playing at quiet competitions, but the effect is very dramatic if everybody does it.

You can hear it in the first few seconds of this video, and when we start new songs.

Author:  DMPwer [ Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistles & other commands

Great post.

I have a theory that whether a Band Drum Major uses whistles or voice commands is based on the style of the band, DM preference, and director choice.

We see that many bands that use vocal commands have mace Drum Majors, and are typically Scottish or British style. The whistle command bands have usually American Mace, and Military Drum Majors.

Drum Majors using the whistle might also give attention vocal commands, and dismissal vocal commands.

I think the vocal command is used to assert authority, vs a whistle. With vocal commands (if executed loudly and correctly), the band gets a sense of an authority figure from the Drum Major. Everyone else (spectators, judges) see this Drum Major as "Oh man, look at this voice!" "That DM is IN CHARGE!".

My band uses vocal attentions and dismissals. Everything else is whistle. One notable difference, is our DM"s do not blow the whistle with a "TWEEEEEEEUUUUUUUEEEEET" style, rather with a straight "TWEEEEEEEEEEEEET" - "TWEET' "TWEET" "TWEET" "TWEET" blow.

We use baton signals to signal the band that we are turning left, right, around, stopping, etc. We also accompany those with whistle commands, because lets face it. Not all DM's are towering over the band. A good sized band might have trouble seeing the baton signal from the back/mid section. Whistles with signals are a great way to alert the band.

A band should not rely on a director or instructor to direct them while marching in competition. That is the Drum Majors job!

- I encourage all Drum Majors to visit this website for more information on whistle/vocal commands! This is a great website by Rick Wilson, and helped me through many questions!


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