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Marching Band 101: How to Step with Confidence

Each marching band has a method of walking and stepping. Whether you are on the field or in a parade - there is a marching band culture in each marching band that takes pride in the way they step. Left-Right, Left-Right step is obvious, but then there is High-Step or Glide Step....each have their own techniques and in this article, the discussion will focus around the difference between a Glide Step vs a High Step and how to eliminate bouncing so it is easier to play. In the discussion below, we will go over the difference between a Glide Step and High Step as well as how to eliminate bouncing when increasing your marching step size.


The Glide Step - Used by most marching bands, has been called the West Coast Style of Marching Band steps. This one is the easiest to learn. To execute the step, walk in a comfortable pace and concentrate on rolling the outside of your foot from the heel to the toe. This is going to feel awkward at first, but it is an effective marching band step. You want to make sure you keep your knees low and minimize the bouncing heads. To minimize the "bouncing head" you must focus on rolling your foot from the heal to the toe and REALLY think about rolling the outside of the foot, do not walk on the arches of your feet. Walking on the arches of your feet will create a bouncing head. The most important thing to this style step is to point your toes to the sky and staying in step with your line.

If everyone in the marching band rolls their foot, the band as a whole will appear like it is floating as it marches by.


The High Step - A unique style of marching step used and has been called the East Coast Style of Marching steps. This one is a little more difficult to learn and does require the knowledge of the Glide Step to advance to the High Step style of marching. To execute the high step, walk in a comfortable pace and take such a high step that your thigh becomes parallel to the ground. As you step down to the ground, focus on rolling your foot from the toe back to the heal. As you gently place your foot on the ground, focus on staying balanced in your hips to prevent bouncing of your head. If everyone in the marching band does the high step together, it comes off as crisp and can look very impressive in competitions.


It is worth noting that you can incorporate the High Step technique and the Glide Step

technique in the same show or parade. These two styles are not an either/ or situation, some marching bands will incorporate a High Step during the final closing cadence, or during a specific section of the music. It can bring a different dynamic to the show when the whole band is doing a Glide Step and then during one slow section of the song, they pivot to a High Step, then back to the Glide Step to finish the show.


With both techniques, as you expand the yardage between steps from 1-yard to 3-yards, (depending on your next position in the sequence) you will have to adjust your stature to stay smooth. Adjusting your stature means standing tall or crouching a bit. As you expand your steps to match the time it takes for you to get to your next sequence, you will need to get lower if your yardage increases and stand tall when your yardage decreases. If you are stepping to a 1-yard mark or less, you will have to stand tall. If you are marching to a 3-4 yard clip, you will need to get lower.


What style step does your marching band use?

Leave your remarks in the comment section below and let us know what you think!



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