DMS-Logo-Black-and-WhiteCommand Standard – General Rules

The Drum Majors are responsible for maintaining and teaching the Command Standard for their institution. This section of the site is designed as a reference to get a more in depth look at the commands and how they are utilized on campus. As an important teaching tool for members, students, and the community at large, we encourage you to investigate the sections above to understand the way their band marches.

Over the years, local bands often transition through many different styles of march. Today most bands use a contemporary glide step, with the exception of a backward march, where members march on their toes. This Command Standard includes commands that every member executes throughout the year.

Rules and Guidelines for Commands

    • There are two parts to a command:

1. Preparatory Command:

This is the actual name of the command (i.e. Forward, Right Oblique, etc).

2. Executory Command:

This indicates the actual time of execution of the command (i.e. Mark, Harch, Hace, etc).

  • All moving commands are on a forward march unless proceeded by the word Backward in the preparatory command. FOR EXAMPLE: If the Band is backward marching and a Right Flank is called, then the Band will right flank forward, instead of continuing to backward march.
  • All motions are directed by where the upper body is facing (i.e. the direction the horn is facing).
  • Any questions regarding command standard may be clarified by consulting a Drum Major as they are responsible for its knowledge and execution.

Stationary Commands

To the Ready (Not commanded)

Parade Rest (Not commanded)

  • Parade Rest may only be followed by Attention.

Attention – “BAND, TEN HUT”

    • The Band calls back HEY!/HUT! after BAND in the command.
    • Both feet are together at this position; this means that toes are together.
    • At Attention there are 2 hand positions that are appropriate when instruments are not used:
      • Port Arms – Arms raised together in a triangle at eye level.
      • Trail Arms – Arms down at ones sides and slightly raised up.


  • Right/Left Hace – “BAND, RIGHT/LEFT HACE”
  • About Hace – “BAND, A-BOUT HACE”
  • Half Right/Left Hace – “BAND, HALF RIGHT/LEFT HACE”

The Band responds with “1 , 2” on count 1 and 2 of the following measure, except on an About Face, where the Band calls back “1, 2 , 3.”


  • Present Arms – “BAND, PRE-SENT ARMS”
    1. Without an instrument, both arms snap down at 45 degree angles on response count 1. The left fist snaps to the hip and the right hand salutes on count 2.
    2. With an instrument, members should consult their section leader for proper mechanics.
  • Order Arms – “BAND, ORDER ARMS”
    1. Without an instrument, the right arm forms a fist at a 90 degree angle with the elbow on response count 1; both hands return to trail arms on count 2.
    2. With an instrument, members should once again consult their section leader.

Dressing Commands

  • Right Dress – “DRESS RIGHT, DRESS”
  • Left Dress – “DRESS LEFT, DRESS”
  • Center Dress – “DRESS CENTER, DRESS”
  • Return Front – “READ-Y, FRONT”

All heads snap to the direction of the dress except for members on extreme ends of the direction of the dress. For Center Dress, the center member remains stationary. Instruments are raised to a “horns-up” position in conjunction with the head turn on count one of the command response. Upon each dressing command above, members adjust their lines and guide to the stationary member in the direction of the dress and the member forward. Heads snap forward and instruments return to a “horns-down” position on count one of the return command.

Moving Commands


  • The first executed moving command. The heal should raise approx. 2.5″ off the ground.

Forward March – “FOR-WARD HARCH”

  • Toes should raise and follow a contemporary glide step.

Backward March – “BACK-WARD HARCH”

  • On a backward march, one is to march on their toes. The knees should bend as little as possible, if at all.


  • Right Flank – “RIGHT FLANK HARCH”
  • Left Flank – “LEFT FLANK HARCH”

A 90 degree Hace followed by a Forward March.

To the Rear – “TO THE REAR HARCH”

  • Stepping forward with your right foot, one turns 180 degrees to their left to begin the new direction of march on the left foot.


  • Right Oblique – “RIGHT OBLIQUE HARCH”
  • Left Oblique – “LEFT OBLIQUE HARCH”

A 45 degree Hace followed by a Forward March. NOTE: All commands are based off of the new angle of march.


  • Right Slide – “SLIDE RIGHT HARCH”
  • Left Slide – “SLIDE LEFT HARCH”

The upper body maintains its original facing and horn position while the lower body marches in the direction of the slide.


  • Right Turn – “RIGHT TURN HARCH”
  • Left Left – “LEFT TURN HARCH”
  • About Turn – “ABOUT TURN HARCH”

A four count mark time where the body turns in the direction of the Turn followed by movement in the previous command.


  • Right Pivot- “RIGHT PIVOT MARK”
  • Left Pivot – “LEFT PIVOT MARK”

Pivots are an optional command. These are sharp 90 degree stationary turns from any moving command. One turns 90 degrees and marks time in place with either low or high mark time.

Halt – “BAND HALT”

  • There are 2 additional counts after the command where the band stops with their feet. The order is right foot, then left.