with music city mystique:
Posture and Standby Position

As one of the most visual ensembles in the marching percussion section, how you carry yourself and position your cymbals will demonstrate your performance attitude – even before you play a single note.

Music City Mystique Cymbal Instructor Zach Blessing details the perfect posture and standby position:


Having a commanding posture will not only set the tone for how the cymbal line looks during your performance, but will also keep you from having back aches and pains that occur when you’re slouching.  Here’s the steps to having a great posture:

1. Start with your heels together and open your toes slightly (less than a 45 degree angle).

2. Stand up tall with your legs slightly bent at the knees. You never want to lock your knees!

3. Push up through your hips pulling your stomach in.

4. Push your chest out and roll your shoulders back.

5. Align your thumbs with the seam of your pant legs and move your elbows slightly up and away from your body.

Think of your arms as being in a “bow shape” or forming a “parentheses” around your body:

Thing of taking up space ( | ) ,
but do not over extend your elbows < | >.

6. Lean slightly forward on the front balls of your feet. Not too much – just enough to have a “forward, confident presence.”

7. Bring your chin up to slightly above level. Keep your eyes focused forward.


During rehearsal, you’ll need to have your attention on the director and instructors. The standby position demonstrates that you are actively engaged and listening to instructions.

With your hands in the Garfield grip, move your cymbals in front of your body, hands in front of your thighs.

Slide the right cymbal in front of the left with the edge of the right cymbal under the pad of the left.

Adjust and align the logos so that you have a uniform appearance throughout the line.

Keep a slight bend in your elbows (remembering the “parentheses” shape of your arms).

Same body postion as before: Chest up, shoulders back, chin level.

Remember to keep the correct finger position on the straps:

Thumb gripping the pad slightly, first two fingers together, middle & pinkie fingers spread and lightly touching the cymbals.

Watch your “Blade Angle”

Throughout this series, we’ll frequently refer to the angle of the “blades” – the edges of your cymbals. In the standby position, we want the blades to be straight up and down. Not too far forward (pushing down on the fingers) or too far backward (relaxing the elbows and pushing on the thumbs).

Scroll to Top