with music city mystique:
Set 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 set position:


The set position is the starting place for any exercise, flips or musical situation.  It’s important that you have established a great posture, including:

Heels together and toes slightly apart.  Stand up tall, pulling up through the crown of your head. Push your chest out and roll your shoulders back, chin elevated.

With your hands in the Garfield Grip, align thumbs with the seam of your pant legs and move your elbows slightly up and away from your body. Center your body on the front balls of your feet, not on your heels (pushing forward slightly).

Pay attention to your arm position – not only in set, but with every position, transition, flips and juggle that you’ll perform. A poor arm position will reflect your attitude and performance abilities (and inexperience).

With your shoulders and arms relaxed, the elbows should pull slightly away from your body. Think of making a “parentheses” with your arms around your body ( | ).

Don’t pull the cymbals up too high, making “wings” with your elbows.

Don’t overly relax your shoulders and elongate your arms.

Watch your “Blade Angle”

We want the presentation of the blades of the cymbals to be flat towards the audience. Putting too much pressure on the thumbs or pinkies will result in showing too much of the front or insides of the cymbals.

Keep your wrists in line with your forearms. Pressing on your fingers and turning your wrists inward results in “penciling” the bottom edges of the cymbals. Too much pressure on the heel of your hands results in “skirting” the bottom edges.

Scroll to Top