Drum Major Application


Role and Responsibilities of

the Drum Major:

The drum major is the leader of the marching band during rehearsals and in performance. His/her job is to carry-out the instructions of the band director and other instructional staff regarding what needs to be done with the band.

Some examples of what the drum major does include:

•Getting the band out to the rehearsal area, into the proper formation and ready to begin rehearsal.

•Taking the band through warm-up exercises

•Leading the band through practice runs

•Helping rehearsals run smoothly and productively

•Leading the band in performance

•Adding to the overall showmanship of the band during performance with their own performance as the drum major

•Setting the standard for discipline, bearing, and conduct for the members of the band to follow

•Assisting in teaching marching to other members of the band

•Acting as the band’s representative at award ceremonies and special functions

Role and Responsibilities of the Assistant Drum Major:

The assistant drum major is the next-in-command behind the drum major. He/she assumes the drum major role whenever the drum major is not present or is unable to perform. He/she must be able to march as a regular member of the band, as well as step into the drum major's job at a moment's notice. He/she may also be asked to help during rehearsals.

Characteristics of a Successful Drum Major

Effective drum majors have a number of things in common:

•They have a good understanding of music

•They are skilled as a field conductor

•They have developed a high level of skill with a drum major baton or mace

•They have exceptional marching technique

•Their vocal commands are loud and easily understood

•They are highly responsible and reliable

•They are dedicated to having the band succeed

•They work well with both the band director and the membership of the band

•They know how to teach and assist other members of the band

•They have the ability to inspire the band in performance


If the director feels that any drum major is not performing their job at the level required for the best interests of the band, they may be pulled from the job and replaced by the assistant drum major. A new assistant is then selected.