March in the position 60 inches to the right of the first rank of the band. In street parades, there may not be
enough room to march with the first rank. When this happens, march in front of the second file from the
When conducting the band, stand in the drum major's marching position. If the band has an odd number of
files, stand off-center. This will permit the band members behind the first rank of the center file to see your
baton movements. If all band members still cannot see your baton movements, you may modify your
position by moving slightly further from the band.
Band Sergeant Major/First Sergeant
When you are not the drum major or performing as an instrumentalist, march 60 inches to the left of the first
rank of the band. In street parades, there may not be enough room to march with the first rank. When this
happens, march in front of the second file from the left.
There is no prescribed pattern for positioning instruments within the band. However, band commanders can
increase the effectiveness of the marching band by following basic principles.
Avoid dividing instrumental sections. As an exception, you may place piccolos on opposite flanks
of the band.
Group instrumental sections with similar tonal registers and timbres together.
Fill the front rank. Fill the flank and guide files. When necessary, leave open spaces in the last rank.
Open positions in the middle of the formation interfere with alignment, and can also complicate
turns and other marching movements.
Place sousaphones (tubas) so that their bells are not obstructing other band members' view of the
drum major's or band commander's signals.
Place French horns so that their sound projects into the center of the band, not away from the band.
The center file is the guide file if there is an odd number of files in the band. If there is an even number of
files, the file to the right of center is the guide file. The right file is the guide file on right turns and the left
file is the guide file on left turns.
The guide file has the responsibility of maintaining the correct distance between the ranks within the band
and between the first rank and the drum major. The guide file must maintain the two step (60 inch) interval
between ranks. The rest of the files can then maintain the correct interval simply by dressing on the guide
PART B - ALIGNMENT
Accurate alignment is fundamental to the appearance of the marching band. The drum major aligns the band.
The band is aligned first by file, then by rank.
To align the band at normal interval (Figure 2-1) use the following procedure.
Move directly to a point four steps in front of the left flank file.
Face the first person in the file.