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NMB's Band Dictionary


3/4 TIME: A way to keep the band continuously out of step.

AIR: The driving force behind brass instruments, but generally lacks in woodwinds, therefore causing squeaks.

AIR-BAND: A form of enforced hyper-ventilation (a violation of the 8th Amendment's cruel & unusual punishment law).

ALTO SAXOPHONE: A musical instrument that either plays very loud or not at all between squeaks.

ARC: A shape with between one and five corners and one open side.

ASSISTANT DRUM MAJOR: Takes over for drum major when not available, senior drum major's lakey.

ASTROTURF: Something NMB hasn't experienced. Look forward 2 it.

ATTENTION: Standing still while sticking out your butt. Can only talk in whispers so that no captains or other leaders hear you.

AUXILIARY: See color-guard.

BAND CAMP: A time of gathering between most band geeks (including color guard) for six days during August where they learn how to pass out on cue due 2 the mildly warm Miami sun.

BAND GEEK: Someone who is very enthusiastic and involved in band. Willing to give up all free time.

BAND JACKET: 1. Status symbol. 2. Proclamation of true geekdom.

BAND PARENTS: The only parents that a band geek sees between August and December. The only reason the band is held together. We have band parents??

BAND PARTY: A gathering of Band Geeks where they can wear their Band Jackets, play cards, and complain about the latest rehearsal and upcoming games.

BAND SHIRT: An article of clothing that is washed once a year. A key part off a band geeks uniform. Shows of air brushed shirt the day of football games. Melts when it burns.

BAND TAN: What a band geek receives from the sun when they wear shorts and socks to all practices outside in the blazing Miami sun.

BARI-SAXOPHONE: An instrument for woodwind saxophone players who want to play like a tuba. They tend to have big mouths too.

BARITONE: 1. A device for doubling with trombones except using the right notes. Also used for playing during silence.

BASS CLARINET: A concert instrument that, when used properly, is still not heard.

BASSOON: An unusual hybrid between a bass clarinet and oboe which remains unused in marching.

BELL-FRONT INSTRUMENT: Always brass, these are directional instruments designed to play extremely loud and characteristically, out of tune.

BRASS: Metallic looking and sounding devices designed to over-blow and blast.

BUS: 1. A good way to get to know someone ( Hehehe ), however the most painful way in the world to watch a movie. 2. The back seats are generally reserved 4 the president and VP. 3. A place 2 snuggle up with your band significant other.

CADENCE: A way to impress people at games and pep rallies .Good time for band section visuals and booty shakin'.

CARDS: 52 rectangular devices of equal size and width which each have respective numbers, symbols, and colors on them which keep band geeks continually entertained.

CARMINA BURANA: That show got us our first superior in 7 years in '95. Should now be NMB's theme song.

CD'S: Thin circular devices with a 5.25" diameter and a hole in the middle. When its a good one, they are be used 4 booty shakin'.

CHAIR: See how high you rank on the food chain in your section.

CHEAP HIGH: A form of rhythmic hyper-ventilation done for fun.

CIRCLE: A closed shape with definite corners and edges.

CLARINET: A device which, when used properly, annoys the hell out of somebody.

COLLAR: Something thy hair shalt never toucheth.

COLOR-GUARD: People who swing flags and toss rifles to distract the audience's attention away from the band. Makes the band seem better. Get extra credit if they hit (accidentally, of course) a band member, yet defied if they hit a field judge.

COMPANY FRONT: A zigzag line within a certain area of the field, such as a hash: ~~~~~~

COMPETITION: 1. A general gathering of bands so everyone can prove that they're better than NMB (why do we keep trying?) 2. A place where public displays of affection are appropriate.

CONCERT: Extremely dangerous form of torture for both students and audience. Fatal if used in duration exceeding one hour.

CONCERTO: A musical piece that is written for the express reason of singling out one single player from the band to humiliate himself alone in a performance. This technique has successfully been mastered by Mr. Davidson.

CONDUCTING: The Drum Major's method of amusing the band to points of laughter at times class of '96 (OK he wasn't part of class of '96, but he was drum major then.)

CONDUCTOR: The person in the front who waves his arms and dances wildly to the music. Constantly marks time during halts.

CONTRA: A tuba that is snapped onto and off of the player's shoulder. Designed to build up arm muscles and decrease brain activity. Name was chosen for being sexier than "Sousaphone."

CONTRA BASS CLARINET: A large, metallic, clarinet-like instrument that is designed to play in the range of a tuba, but is often mistaken for the kitchen sink.

DANCING: What NMB has been dying to do as long as I've been there. With new director, Melton Mustafa Jr., my wish will come true in my lifetime. Carol City, Central, North Miami, here comes N M B!!!!!

DCI: Drum corps championship series. Extremely rough comparison: If NMB is a green Pinto, DCI is a Lambourghini. Feels like we're the only school in North Dade County that knows what it is. We didn't even do it well..

DIRECTOR: The person who claims to be in charge when everything is going well and claims denial when things go wrong.

DIVINE COMEDY: Watching the drum major attempt to keep a correct tempo.

DOLLAR BILL: A device for cleaning saxophone pads. A form of currency among band geeks.

DOOR: What you pound on when your late to a rehearsal and Mr. Davidson would, or Mr. Mustafa will make you pound on for the next 10 minutes before coming to the door, bitching you out, then not letting you through it.

DOUBLE REED: A good way to make a band member's face look like they just ate a lemon.

DRILL: Pages that show what a form is supposed to look like. Should be burned at year's end.

DRILL-DOWN: When band geeks follow long sets of commands from the drum major, just to see who can do it, in an attempt at fun. It is only "fun" when this name is used, however, not during rehearsal.

DRILL TEAM: Besides the color gaurd, the only section in marching band that has enough rhythm to dance as one.

DRUM CAPTAIN: The leader of the percussion section who's main requirement for the job is to not be able to hold a steady tempo.

DRUM CORPS: Very similar to marching band, except for a few differences: 1) They are good. 2) No woodwinds. Coincidence?

DRUM-TAP: A snare beat loud enough for the judges to hear, and quiet enough so band doesn't hear.

DRUM-LINE: The people hitting the drums (or each other) with sticks in time with each other, but either a half beat earlier or later than the band.

DRUM MAJOR: Person with the dubious distinction of keeping the animals of NMB in line on a field and in the band room during marching season. Loses all power and the little respect they do get after the end of November. (at least here at NMB in Miami)

DRUM: Round hollow devices with covering on the top and sometimes the bottom. Loud.

DUMLINE: Another name for drumline. Used secretly among rest of the band.

DYNAMICS: Either loud or louder (volume).

EARLY: To never be. Reasoning: To be early is to be on time, while to be on time is to be late, but to be late is to never be. Following this through, early is to never be. (Thank you to Mr. Larry Davidson because he never was.)

ECHO: What a band geek should hear after a good cut-off. I'm not sure what it sounds like, though, so I can't explain it.

EXPONENTIAL GROWTH: The mathematical reasoning behind the fact that when one flute graduates, two new freshmen take her place.

FBA: Stands for Florida Bandmasters Association. Aka what the competions are called 'round here.

F.C.P.L.: A brass dynamic marking that stands for "Forget Control - Play Loud!" Don't know what F.C.P.L. means, but the explaination sounds cool.

FIELD: 100 yards in length, this is a wide expanse of dirt on which bands perform. Contained within the area of this expanse are frequent ant piles with occasional patches of grass.

FLUTE: An un-tuned device for people who want to be in the band who have weak arms and don't wish to be heard.

FOOD: "Fuel" for band geeks. Is an attacker of performance uniforms, but can still be eaten (in secrecy) in this state of being.

FOOTBALL TEAM: The main reason the band can't always use the marching field.

FORMER BAND GEEK: The name given to a person who was in band, dropped out, and still hangs out with all the band people. (Pedro, you learned from your mistake and came back)

FORTE: The lowest dynamic marking a brass instrument can play at.

FRENCH HORN: Only brass instrument that is played with left hand. Involves strings in conjunction with valves and an impossibility to play fast, loud, or in tune.

FRESHMEN: Designed to make up half the size of the band. They are new to NMB as of Class of '99. Should be interesting to see how the upperclassmen handle them. Lucky sophmores!!

FRESHMAN INITIATION: A form of entertainment to all alumni/upper-classmen.

FULL UNIFORM: A form of torture consisting of Urkel pants, a heavy wool jacket, and a choking ugly bucket hat (with that strikingly beautiful yet flammable plume). Or if your lucky enough at NMB, a pimp style cowboy hat.

FUND-RAISERS: Opportunities provided throughout the year for the adult staff to yell at band members while making a few extra bucks on the side. Results of these are used to double standard teacher's salary.

GEEKDOM: The state of a band member who is willing to give up all free time during season.

GEEKISM: Something that is related to marching band which spontaneously happens (such as walking with friends down the hall in step or whistling warm-ups or scales without thinking about it). NMB is full of them that REFUSE to admit it.

GONG: A loud, large cymbal-like device. It is the goal of all good percussionists to break or crack this instrument in any way possible.

GRADUATED BAND GEEK: Someone who no longer attends the school, is over-age for a drum corps or feels they can't cut it in drum core and and now returns to rehearsals to watch just for fun. Begs Mr. Mustafa to play. (That's ME.)

HALT: A time when everyone is theoretically stopped. (In theory...)

HARMONY: All voices except the melody and percussion.

HELL: Inferno, Saturday rehearsals in the blazing Miami sun. Actually, any rehersal on the field with the sun out. Wait, even if the sun is not out, the Miami humidity will bake you. Hell.

HIGH-MARK-TIME: What NMB wants to do all the time. We're not masochists, its just in Miami, all the cool schools do it. Hey, we're an aspiring cool school. Soon...

HUEVOS: (slang) A pair of devices which are designed to contain energy which is to be released in the form of air through a brass instrument. Trumpets, you know what I mean.

INSTRUCTOR: Person who tells you when you're screwing up.

INSTRUMENT: A device used for torture.

INTERVAL: A space between two band members that is as random as "Durango's" tempo.

IQ: A constant combined number that does not changes as the size of the band does.

LATE: The opposite of early. A new band member will learn the fine art of being late, and coming up with a ridiculous lie to cover up ones lateness.

MALLET: Something which can only be thrown at stupid band kids.

MARCHING BARITONE: A version of a baritone created based on enhancements over the successful design of a Marching French Horn aka Mellophone.

MARCHING SHOES: Ugly, uncomfy, relatively inexpensive footwear.

MARK-TIME: A time when people only move their feet (without changing location) to some tempo, usually "to the beat of a different drum."

MELLOPHONE: An instrument designed to be unable to tune, kill all freshman who attempt to keep the horn up, and make it impossible to snap. Used by drum corps and many schools. Based on a trumpet design.

MELODY: The loudest voice, usually carried by the trumpets or piccolos.

MEMORIZATION: An action that is supposed to take place in conjunction with sets and music between band camp and the commencement of the regular year, but does not generally happen, except for the drum majors and few section leaders.

MEZZO-FORTE: The highest dynamic marking of any woodwind excluding the piccolo.

MISTING: The meteorological term that the adult staff use for saying, "It's raining, but we don't give a #@$*."

MOUTHPIECE: A critical piece to a brass instrument which is meant to be dropped or thrown onto grass, dropped 30 feet through stands, loud stages, and/or sometimes mud if not forgotten.

MOVIES: The only way to keep busy the band busy if the director is not there. Usually doesn't work and the band room becomes a zoo.

MUD: A substance that the school wishes to grow and therefore waters the field every night in hopes of increasing.

MUSIC: 1. Papers which contain little black lines and dots with strange symbols that somehow show what the music is to sound like. 2. The succession of these notes that, in theory, should sound good. Unfortunately, we're not all in Theory - we're in Band.

NECESSARY MARCHING BAND SONGS: In no particular order: Backstabbers (FAMU version), To Be Real, North Dade, Swamp Dog. There are others, but you want to move on with your life.

NORTH MIAMI: Our rival. Natural enemies. Work all year in out doing them. Don't worry, we got something for them next year...

NOTES: 1. Little round dots on lines that show the approximate pitch that the instrument player tries to hit. 2. The language of music, similar to "BASIC," "Pascal," or "C" for computers.

NUMBER A, NUMBER B, ETC.: A non-linear form of counting invented by Mr. Davidson.

OBOE: A double-reed instrument used for obtaining a clarinet sound in a piccolo range. Also sounds like a duck in heat.

ON TIME: To never be. See reasoning for early and late.

ORGANISM: When used in conjunction with huevos, leads to the climax of excitement.

PARADE-REST: A form of relaxation while standing up. Little talking, but some required to keep band geeks sane. No two people do parade rest the same.

PERCUSSION: The group of instruments hit by sticks or mallets that keeps some beat or other.

PERFORMANCE: See concert.

PIANO: An item in which everyone in the band has pounded on at one point or another. They think they're Beethoven.

PICCOLO: A high-pitched instrument similar to that of the flute, only you can actually hear that it's out of tune.

PICCOLO TRUMPET: An instrument designed to do the same job as a trumpet with some minor enhancements - since it's an octave higher.

PIMP WALK: A walk that the band impresses the audience with. Consists of stepping out, bowing to the ground, and coming up, while staying in step

PLUME: The most dangerous part of the full uniform because of it's flammability: Takes 2 seconds to burn properly.

POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE: A painful form of obligation by every band geek during three (now 4) years in high school. An extremely useful and effective form of torture for underclassmen.

PRACTICE: The constant repetition of a sequence of notes in an unsuccessful attempt to become skilled. Usually drives family members either away from home or insane. Not needed if music is memorized by blankly staring at during Economics.

PSEUDO-GEEK: Somebody who isn't in band but thinks he is. Attends band parties, competitions, and rehearsals. This is not to be confused with a former band geek, or graduated band geek. See also wannabe band geek.

PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION (P.D.A.): A touchy (literally), debatable subject among band geeks. Something that happens regardless of what rules exist or peer pressure is made on people. Something that happens on the bus, in the stands, during water breaks, before and after rehearsals, during lunch and dinner breaks, at Band Parties, and just about anywhere else where the rest of the band is forced to watch a couple be disgustingly cutesy together. (Oops. That was me for years. I apologize to everyone who had to see that for all those years.)

RAIN: Nature's way of telling the band to go inside and practice music.

REED: 1. A piece of wood that makes a great excuse for not playing well (particularly for brass instruments) if broken or brand new. Usage's: "Sorry, new reed," or "I broke my reed." 2. A device used to efficiently cut one's finger. Doesn't taste good when ingested either. (It was a mistake)

REHEARSAL: Time used by band geeks to forget anything learned during practice.

RESETTING: Definitions vary by sections. Woodwind: Wander aimlessly for 3 minutes and gossip. Brass: Mess with the quiet woodwinds, acting like the asses that we..uhh..you are. Percussion: Wander and play cadences as you walk slowly back to your position. Colorguard: Prance back to your set and avoid the annoying brass remarks. Mallets: Sit there and laugh your @$$ off while you watch this 3 minutes of confusion.

RIFLE: 1. A white-colored piece of wood used by the drill team that is intended for injury of band or color guard members. 2. An impressive show of arm strength and coordination by the guard. Unfortunately, live ammunition is not granted as well.

ROLL-STEP: Method in which a geek should walk if his shoes are round on the bottom. Not bouncing. The old fashioned way of marching.

RPG's: Another name for the drumline. Only they know the true meaning. (well..I do to)

SECTION LEADER : Leader of a section who tries to keep their section out of complete chaos in order to make themselves look good.

SENIOR: A source of constant guilt trips and reminiscing of the past and The Superior of '95. (Ahhh.)

SFZ-PIANO-CRESCENDO: The act of blatting, stopping, then blasting.

SHOW COORDINATOR: Person who creates and draws all of the inanimate useless objects that the band attempts to form.

SITTING-AROUND: An action carried out when sitting on busses on in stands, in which band members rely on perpetual motion to keep from sitting in the same place for more than 30 seconds.

SLOUCHING: An action best displayed by concert bands. Even if it's bad for playing, it's great for the back!

SNAP: Instantly changing a horn's position from attention to 'horns up' or vice-versa. Havoc for someone in front of a snapped instrument.

SOMBREROS: 1. A form of status symbolism or intensity; An expression of rank.

SOUSAPHONE: An instrument that adds bass to the band. Can play any note as long as it's a low G.

SPANDEX : God's gift to mankind. A privilege, not a right!

SQUEAK: The only sign that the woodwind reeds give that they are actually playing.

STAFF: Adult leaders who arrange music, write drill, etc., but do not perform in order to avoid embarrassment from their own creations.

STANDING: What the brass-line does at band camp. Woodwinds do not accomplish this feat due to their weak legs (in most cases). There are a few exceptions to this weakness, but they don't stand anyway.

STRETCH OUT: A term geeks frequently misunderstand as "time to talk".

TELEPHONE: A communication device that must be used by every member of the band following a football game.

TEMPO: The correct beat, usually (but not always) carried by the conductor.

TENOR-SAXOPHONE: An instrument similar to the bari-saxophone, except it matches the pitch of a trombone or baritone.

TRUMPET: An instrument that is designed to make a band sound better. The idea is that if the trumpets play loud enough, you can't hear the rest of the band, so only the trumpets' mistakes are heard, not everyone else's.

TROMBONE: A device with the same pitch as a baritone, except that it uses a slide instead of valves, so it's easier to forget the position(s).

TUBA: A concert sousaphone.

TUNE: What the condition when all instruments are within half a step of each other is called.

VALVE: A key object on most brass instruments that sticks only during important performances and solos.

VALVE OIL: Exquisitely tasteful with a twist of lemon. A form of currency for brass players.

VISUAL: A way of keeping marching band members busy during a show. Extra credit received if used against an on-field judge.

WANNABE BAND GEEK: Someone who hangs out with true band geeks.

WOODWINDS: 1. A true sign that God has a sense of humor. 2. A biological mistake.

YELLING: An expressive way of trying to prove that one is more committed than the next person. This is a self-destructive way of spending any rehearsal, yet we seem to continue in this practice more and more. This is often connected with "the vibe" and being intense.

(C) Copyright 1996-1998 by Ben White (Trumpet) & David Southwick (French Horn). Release 2.1a. The Official Band Dictionary is proudly put out by BAHAMOS! Publishing.

Please visit the Leigh High School Instrumental Music Department Web Site and this site, The Marching Band Signature Code to find out more about the program that inspired the NMB version of this Dictionary!

If U R attending, or attended the NMB Charger Band, I'd love 2 hear from U. Email me and give me some more things 2 add 2 this list, or just 2 tell me what NMB was like back in the day.