Summer to Fall—Preparing for Guard

A photo of Killian Weston.

While summer is drum corps season for part of the guard world, it’s the closest thing to an off-season for the rest of us. A few simple steps in the summer months can help you return to the fall season with better habits and more skills while still enjoying a bit of a break.

Get Moving

Change up your normal exercise routine and try something new. You never know what you might pick up in a yoga class or a swing dance workshop that could help you during marching band.

Summer is also a prime time to attend clinics or camps. Exposure to different styles and techniques will help you become a more versatile performer, and these clinics can be an opportunity to work with equipment you aren’t as familiar with.

Whatever you choose, get moving to maintain your stamina, and make sure to get some outdoor activity in throughout the summer.

Stay Hydrated

Summer heat can quickly lead to dehydration. Maintain or form a habit of drinking plenty of water. It will be much easier to stay fully hydrated once rehearsals start if you’re hydrated to begin with. Playing catchup at band camp is no fun.

Practice Hair and Makeup

Use your extra time to improve your hair and makeup skills. YouTube tutorials and Pinterest are great places to look for inspiration and tips. Practicing during the summer can help shorten your prep time and eliminate some pre-show stress in the fall.

Pack Your Bag

Have your guard bag out and ready, so that you can purchase your supplies (hair ties, electrical tape, sunscreen, bug spray, first aid supplies, etc.) when they’re on sale and just toss them in as you collect them. Guard is expensive enough without paying full price.

While tempting to forget about guard during the summer, a little bit of extra effort now can provide many benefits come fall.

About author

Killian Weston

Killian Weston is a color guard instructor and designer in southeast Michigan. She began performing with her high school marching band in 2002 and continued with college marching band and collegiate winter guard. She has taught several guard units and is a prospective judge in the Michigan Color Guard Circuit.

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Crossword: Get Well Soon

A musical-themed crossword puzzle, created exclusively for Halftime Magazine. The March/April 2012 issue provides “a musician’s guide to staying healthy.”