How to do a Column Turn Command Sequence

A column turn is a very precise, marching turn that directs the entire marching “column” of band members either left or right. The command sequence for the drum major has three parts. They are:

The Turn Signal- This tells the band what direction to turn.

The Half Step – This keeps the band traveling at a smaller step to keep the unit together.

The Resume March – This puts the band back to its normal stride size.

Here’s how to do a column turn sequence.

1. Put your whistle in your mouth as you march.

2. Do a roundhouse to the overhead position.

3. To signal a left column, let the baton point to your left. For a right column, do a one finger conversion during your bring-up to reverse the tip of the baton so it points to the right. Blow a long whistle (three counts).

4. Wait one count. Then bend your elbow so that the ball of the baton touches your elbow and blow a short whistle. This is the signal to the band to begin the column turn.

5. Drop the baton down so that it is at your shoulder level. It should be flat to the ground. Do a left flank and a to-the-rear so that you now face the band (for a right-column, you will do a right flank and a to-the-rear).

For this next movement you will want the ball of the baton to be on your right hand side. If it isn’t on your right, do a hand-roll and stop the baton on your right side. Then simply switch your hand position so both hands are palm down on the baton.

6. Begin backwards marching with a high knee lift. Take small steps since this is the half-step section of the command. On every left foot, turn your baton so it is at a 45° angle. On each right foot, return the baton to it’s flat position. Blow a short whistle on every left foot. Do four sets of this motion (total of eight counts).

7. On count eight, twist your baton so that the ball hand is at the middle of your stomach and the tip hand is right in front of your nose.

8. On the next count, let go of the baton with your left hand and thrust both hands out to the 45° position. Blow a long whistle (three counts long). This is the signal that tells the band to get ready to go back to it’s normal stride.

9. On the next count, drop both hands to your sides. Let your baton rest in the attention position. Do a to-the-rear.

10. Bring your baton up to your beating of time position and blow a short execution whistle. Begin marching in your normal, glide-step. Take the whistle out of your mouth and continue beating time with your baton.