FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to some of the most common questions we get asked about our products and services.
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Do your shows range according to difficulty?
Yes! Our music and drill is graded on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5, with Grade 1 being the easiest and Grade 5 being the most challenging.
Can I get harder/easier drill with the same music?
In many cases we have created different drill designs to the same music for different marching ability levels.
Can I pick and choose from different shows?
Drill designs of any song in our catalog or in our shows may be purchased separately to create your own package or to use for any occasion throughout the year. You may purchase music or drill separately and create your own package with arrangements that best fit your program. Can I reserve a show now to regionally protect it? Absolutely! You may call us or fill out the form on line to register a show for regional protection. You DO NOT need to know your band size to place your order.
How much do samples cost?
All samples are free for band directors! Please go to the show of your choice and find under Music the "listen" link for a sample of the music and the drill "Sample" icon to view the first few pages of drill.
What do the grade levels mean in your catalog?
Each drill design is written to be doable by any band program, no matter what ability level. Our music and drill is graded on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5, with grade 1 being the easiest and non-competitive in nature and Grade 5 and Hybrid Series being the most challenging and competitive for those bands who wish to compete.
Do I need to give my wind size when ordering a show?
If you are not sure of your drill size when ordering your show, we suggest you arrange for 2 shipments. One shipment for music and any options that are currently ready to ship (such as flag choreography) and the second shipment with your drill and other drill related options. That way you can wait until after your enrollment is complete, or you have had your summer band camp, to get the drill size closest to your needs. We do request that you give us at least one week advance notice so we have time to process your order. Overnight shipping is available but it can be very costly.
Can I add props and backdrops to my MSC shows?
We highly encourage you to be as creative as you would like with your visual presentation. It is suggested that you look at all your drill pages to see how much field coverage your particular drill entails. Remember to keep in mind that props can serve as backdrops only (scenery) and props that are involved in the telling of your story (moving walls, ramps, and field tarps are just a few examples). The props should not become the centerpiece of the show, nor should they in any way limit the performers' ability to play and march the show. Your priority should always be the music and marching. Props and voice-overs are icing on the cake - but you must have a delicious cake to frost!
How do I present a cohesive show?
Although a "message" is not always necessary for a presentation, it is important to have a theme in mind and stick with that theme from beginning to end. Will your auxiliary be costumed as characters? If so, how will you maintain that character from beginning to end? For example, you would not want to start the auxiliary out as angry pirates and then suddenly shift characters to perform a graceful dance in the middle of the show. Ballerina Pirates? Transitions between songs are also great ways to maintain a theme. Rather than just bringing the horns down and standing at attention, think of creative ways to keep the mood going between songs. Remember to visualize your presentation from beginning to end making sure you adhere to the chosen theme or message. You want to maintain clarity for your audience and judges.
Can I consult with someone if I have more questions?
We are ready to help you find the best possible show for your band. We can be reached by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us at 1-800-356-4381.
Can I buy music without drill?
Absolutely!. ALL Music arrangements in our shows may be purchased separately to create your own package or to use individually for any occasion throughout the year.
Can I view samples of music and scores?
Absolutely! Samples of each show are available in the music description under each show title. You will be able to view one page of the trumpet or trombone score, a descriptive page on coordinating t-shirt graphics and other available options, plus a few pages of drill are available for viewing.
Can I mix and match music from different MSC field shows?
Yes! You may purchase music or drill separately and create your own package with the arrangements of your choice.
Can we order music that is not in the catalog?
Absolutely! We have the resources to obtain any music you may need for your band, whether it be for your Concert Band, Jazz Band, Pep Band, Orchestra, etc with sizable discounts available depending on the order.
When will the music be available for purchase?
All published music arrangements are available immediately, provided the music has been written and is in stock. Custom arrangements are available when completed.
Why can I not hear some of the recordings on line?
You should be able to listen 95% of the music recordings on-line. If you are having problems, please email us or call 1-800-356-4381 so we can help you!
Can I consult with someone if I have more questions?
Yes! We are ready to help you find the best possible music for your band. You may reach us by email at email@example.com or by phone at 1-800-356-4381.
Who writes your drill?
We only contract with the most seasoned and accomplished drill writers in the industry to create the highest quality designs possible of you and our shows. A list the drill writers for each individual show in our catalog along under our ?Team of Experts? web page.
Can drill be modified based on my instrumentation?
Absolutely! All of our drill designs are created in a variety of sizes to enable you to pick a show that will be very close to what you will need. Each of our shows have 6 to 10 different sizes of drill written for the same design in increments of 8 wind players and accompanying percussion and flags. By doing this, you can choose a drill within 4 players of your wind section.
Can I make changes to your drill design?
Absolutely! This can be done by either ordering an Additional Wind Size if your numbers change drastically or by using the computer disk and making whatever changes you would like with the Pyware software program
Can I buy drill without buying the music?
Absolutely! Drill designs of any song in our catalog or in our shows may be purchased separately to create your own package or to use for any occasion throughout the year. You may purchase music or drill separately and create your own package with arrangements that best fit your program.
When will the drill be ready?
We create our drill based on demand per show. If your show has been ordered, drill creation will be moved to high priority status. Please feel free to email or call us at any time if you are looking for a completion date.
Is drill written for my size band?
All of our drill designs are created in a variety of sizes to enable you to pick a show that will be very close to what you will need. Each of our Shows have 8 to 10 different sizes of drill written for the same design in increments of 8 wind players and accompanying percussion and flags. By doing this, you can choose a drill within 4 players of your wind section. You also have the option of having the Drill Design adapted to your exact instrumentation. Call us for more details or visit the Custom page on our website
What sizes are available?
Check the column under "Size" while viewing the details for a particular show. If you have any questions about sizing, please don't hesitate to give us a call (800-356-4381) and we'll help you through the process.
What is the difference between director's viewpoint and student viewpoint?
The director's viewpoint of a drill looks as if you are standing at the front of the field looking out onto the field (imagine being in the drum major's podium on the 50 yard line). If you hold your drill page flat, the front of the field will be closest to you and the back of the field will be at the top of the page. The student view is exactly the opposite. Imagine you are standing on the field looking up at the drum major on the 50 yard line. If you hold your drill page flat, the back of the field will be closest to you and the front of the field will be farthest away from you. When students use the student perspective, they do not have to rotate their drill paper and they do not have to turn their backs to the drum major. They can look down on the paper and move to their next drill spot while they remain facing front.
What is the difference between custom adaptation and custom drill?
A custom adaptation means our adapter will take the existing concept drill in the size closest to your numbers and use that drill as the blue print for your drill. You will have a drill design written to your exact specifications of number of performers but the number of sets and the formations will remain the same (or as close as possible) as the original drill. Custom drill means you will have an original, on-of-a-kind custom designed drill written to your bands specifications. Our drill writer will write to the number of performers you have as well as the number of sets you request and any special requirements you may request (before the drill writing process starts). There are deadlines each season for adaptations and custom drill. Please contact us regarding the production schedule. See The custom Drill section on out Website for more information or call 1-800-356-4381.
What options do you have?
We offer a wide variety of options and resources to enhance your show. Our Animated Drill DVD, Individual Coordinates, Pyware Software file and additional Winds Sizes and NOW all included wiht your show order. We also have created Flag Choreography DVD, the General Effect Handbooks, and other technique and fitness options.
What is the Flag Choreography Video?
The Flag Choreography video is a complete routine for the entire show for your color guard. It includes a count-by-count breakdown of the show and count sheets in booklet form to be given to each student. It includes a complete front view and back view demonstration of the choreography with the music so your members can do the routine along with the video. You may duplicate the video for your students to practice with.
What is the General Effect Package?
The General Effect Handbook includes Visual and ?GE? ideas to enhance your show production along with choreography for your horn line that will help to enhance visual presentation. Use it from the beginning of your season or add the moves in later to continually challenge and inspire your students.
Can I buy Options without purchasing a show?
Many of our options are available even if you use your own drill or music. Our goal is to provide you with the support and time saving solutions you need for every aspect of your program.
What software do I need to use the computer disk?
The computer disk is the Pyware file of your specific show. All of our shows are written either Pyware 3D Interactive from Pygraphics. By having the computer disk, you can:
- Alter, add to, or decrease the drill
- Make size adjustments
- Animate the drill
- Print the charts and coordinates
- All at your convenience
You must have Pyware software in order to run the data file provided. The File does not run on its own.
What are your Technique Videos?
We offer a series of 4 technique videos for rifle, flag, sabre and dance. The benefit of these videos is their ability to greatly reduce your teaching time with new students in the guard. You can quickly teach the basics of several implements quickly and effectively even if you don?t have experience with these items yourself. Each video is $39.95, or save with a set of 4 for only $100.
What is your Band Excellence Video?
The Band Excellence video is an informative and valuable how-to manual for teaching the basics of marching and maneuvering.
When will the animation videos be ready?
We create our animation videos based on demand per show. If your show has been ordered, the video will be created soon after the drill design has been completed.
What is the General Effect Idea Video?
This video is full of ideas to spark excitement and bring a new look to your show. With more creative ideas than any one show could possibly use, this video will be used over and over again as a catalyst for fresh ideas.
What is the Animated Drill Video?
The Animated Drill DVD?s is the computer generated drill design synchronized with the music that can be viewed by the entire band. It is very helpful with cleaning the drill to be able to refer back to it throughout the season for those places where you may have problems with routing and pass through?s, etc. Animation DVd?s are available for most any drill size listed in our catalog.
What are Individual Coordinates?
Individual coordinates are a listing of each individual student?s drill points in each set, listed together in one place. The holders are designed to protect the coordinates from weather and damage.
What software do I need to adapt my show?
All of our drill designs are written on Pyware software, utilizing either Pyware 3D. Please call us for details of what software you need for your particular show.
What does additional wind size mean and do I need one?
Once you have purchased your drill from Marching Show Concepts, it is sometimes necessary to obtain a larger or smaller drill. An additional wind size is a drill for the same show but in a different size. Say you bought the 32 wind size and had a growth in your program. You may order the 48 wind size for the same show.
What types of flags are available?
Nearly every type of flag imaginable is available through MSC. Check our Flags link above for specific flag suggestions for your MSC show or visit our Accessory Section for an even wider variety.
Do I use plastic or rubber tips on my poles?
Most poles come with a plastic tip that works great. One thing to consider is if you want to add weight to the poles (see related FAQ). Sometimes rubber crutch tips can catch fabric such as chiffon, but with proper technique and carving motions, this can usually be avoided. It is not necessary to put tips on pvc swing poles. But make sure you smooth out the edges (or tape them) so they do not tear fabric.
Does my guard need to wear gloves?
There is no definite answer to this question. There are many things to consider. What type of weather do you perform in? Will the guard also be spinning rifles or sabers (then gloves are recommended)? Could I wear nude color gloves to minimize the appearance? Would black or white gloves add or detract from the uniform look? How responsible are the guard members for remembering gloves for all practices and performances. If you wear gloves for performing, then you need to wear them to practice! If you do not want to wear gloves for performances, then please do not practice in them. The guard needs to practice in performance conditions.
May I use my show flags as practice flags?
We do not recommend that you use any show flag as a practice flag. Show flags are much more costly and usually have more seams (stress points) than practice flags. Use the practice flag throughout the week and then use the show flags during the run-throughs before a performance. If you have enough poles, you can keep the show flags on the poles and wrapped neatly during the week. If you do not have enough poles, leave enough time for the guard to switch flags on performance day. Extra caution should be used if practicing on black top or on surfaces with small pebbles and rough edges. Chiffon flags do not hold up well under constant rough conditions.
How do I know what size flag to order?
A good rule of thumb is for the sleeve (the part that goes down the pole) to be one-half the length of the pole. A 6-foot pole would need 36 inches, a 5 1/2-foot pole would need 33 inches and so on. For swing flags, having 6 - 12 inches of pole showing from the end of the sleeve creates a nice look. So, if the flag is 36 inches, you could put your pole (PVC works great) anywhere from 42-48 inches long.
Can I contact you directly with questions about Flags or Choreography?
YES! Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for all of your questions and needs regarding marching band flags or choreography.
What is a swing flag?
A swing flag has taken on two different meanings. In the traditional sense, a swing flag is a shorter flag on a short pole. The effect of the flag usually consists of one-arm motions such as up and over or large circles. A swing flag can also be a large flag on a slender pole (1/2-inch cpvc works great). The flag is used with large sweeping motions and passed from hand to hand and around the body. These are sometimes used as double swing flags, one flag in each hand, to fill the field with color.
How do I store my flags?
When storing flags for the season, first take a picture of one flag. Fold flags individually and place in a clear pastic box. Make sure the lid fits tightly to keep out dust, moisture and bugs. Tape the picture of the flag on the side of the box that is visible when in storage. You can write the quantity of flags and for what show/year they were used. If storing small amounts, you can place more than one set in a box, with a picture of each for inventory purposes. This is also a great storage method foaccessoriesr accessories and props.
Can I use a custom design of my own choice?
Yes! Send us your artwork or have our in-house graphic artist turn your idea into reality.
Can I get long sleeve, or special color t-shirts?
Yes! We have access to virtually any color or size/style of shirt you want. Call us and we can answer any questions you may have about available styles.
Can I put something on the sleeves?
Yes! We can print on any flat surface of apparel, including fronts, back, sleeves, sweat pants, shorts, etc. We cannot screen print any designs on ball caps or any curved surface.
Can I get every student?s name individually printed on their own shirt?
Unfortunately, this is not possible. We are set up to print quantities of the same custom design on your shirt. We cannot personalize each student?s shirt.
Can I get shirts with designs other than your Show designs!
Yes! We also have designs available for class trips, pep band, musicals, plays, or any other occasion, plus many musically themed generic designs. Have an idea of your own or an artist in the group? No problem. We can print your designs or create one for you.
Can I consult with someone if I have more questions?
We are ready to help you find the best possible shirt for your occasion and will custom make your order with your approval on the specifications. We can be reached by email at email@example.com or you can call us at 1-800-356-4381.
What accessories do you have available?
MSC is committed to bringing you the latest in band accessories, software, resource materials, and teaching tools with an emphasis on personal service and outstanding value. We offer a large variety of products, including items for Marching Band and Color Guard, from the director to the student in our Online Accessory Catalog. If you don't see what you are looking for, give us a call and we will find it for you, if it is available.
Can I order just one item from your catalog?
Yes! You are free to purchase as many items as you like from our catalog. For instance, if you need marching band shoes for the entire band, go ahead and order each size you need, including the quantities, and we'll get them shipped to you ASAP!
Can I purchase accessory items if I am not affiliated with a school?
Absolutely. We only require enough information to get your products shipped to you.
Can I consult with someone if I have more questions?
Yes! We are ready to help you find the best possible resources for your band. Please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-800-356-4381.
What payment methods do you accept?
Purchase order, Booster Checks and or Credit card purchases. If you require special payment options, please contact us.