Rehearsal Etiquette

Many directors talk about rehearsal discipline and behavior, but we like to use the phrase  “rehearsal etiquette.”  This phrase immediately brings to mind the meanings of the word “etiquette” that everyone has strongly imprinted on their brains. The meaning is “correct or polite behavior in social or professional settings.”

All of you as band members should keep in mind in rehearsal, indoors or outdoors, good rehearsal etiquette. Here are a few thoughts about how the phrase relates to marching band rehearsals:

  • Be silent when someone is addressing you or the group.
  • Make eye contact with the speaker—you will hear more when you do!
  • In full rehearsal, when the instructor says your section’s name, everyone should raise their hands.  In that way, the instructor knows the group being addressed is listening.
  • Participate if asked a question. For example, “How many of you arrived at your set early that time?” Raise your hand. The instructor is trying to assess the situation and needs an honest response.
  • Speak only at the appropriate times.  Talking keeps you from hearing and learning, as well as those around you.  It is also rude behavior to the instructor (poor etiquette).
  • Listen to directions for the next move carefully. A student not knowing what to do wastes everyone’s time and the instructions must be repeated.
  • Move quickly and efficiently to the position for the next segment.
  • Think independently. Do what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it. Don’t wait for everyone else to do something.

“Do what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it” is what you need to do every rehearsal. It is a waste of time and energy to question and complain about what you are asked to do, whether you do that mentally or verbally. If you cheerfully follow directions you will be happier and enjoy the rehearsal.

Good rehearsal etiquette (or discipline or behavior) does not create a negative, unpleasant atmosphere. It creates a relaxed, pleasant environment that is productive and efficient.

Everyone wants to get better, have the band improve every day and have an enjoyable experience. Good rehearsal etiquette, a positive attitude and following the motto – “Be Your Best” is how we get there.


This is your band! Make it great by being an active participant.