Drill & Ceremonies - Command Voice
The way a command is given affects the way the movement is executed. A correctly delivered command is loud and distinct enough for everyone in the element to hear. It is given in a tone, cadence, and snap that demand a willing, correct, and immediate response. A voice with the right qualities of loudness, projection, distinctness, inflection, and snap enables a commander to obtain effective results as shown below.
Loudness. This is the volume used in giving a command. It should be adjusted to the distance and number of individuals in the formation. The commander takes a position in front of, and centered on, the unit and facing the unit so his or her voice reaches all individuals. Speak loudly enough for all to hear, but do not strain the vocal cords.
1. The most important muscle used in breathing is the diaphragm, the large, powerful muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm automatically controls the breath when giving commands.
2. Deep breathing exercises develop the diaphragm and refresh the entire body. The following exercise will develop improved breathing techniques for giving commands. Take a deep breath through the mouth and hold the air in the lungs. With relaxed throat muscles, say huh and ha in as short a time as possible. Make the sounds entirely by expelling short puffs of air from the lungs. Use only the diaphragm and muscles around the waist. When you do this properly, you can feel a distinct movement of the abdominal muscles. Practice this exercise often. As a result, you can increase effort and volume until they are natural. Another excellent exercise for developing and strengthening the muscular walls of the diaphragm is shown in Figure 2.1.
3. The cavities of the throat, mouth, and nose act as amplifiers and help give fullness (resonance) and projection to the voice.
4. To obtain resonance, keep your throat relaxed, loosen your lower jaw, and open your mouth. You can then prolong the vowel sounds.
Projection. This is the ability of your voice to reach whatever distance is desired without undue strain. To project the command, focus your voice on the person farthest away. Counting in a full, firm voice and giving commands at a uniform cadence while prolonging the syllables are good exercises. Erect posture, proper breathing, a relaxed throat, and an open mouth help project the voice.
Distinctness. This depends on the correct use of the tongue, lips, and teeth to form the separate sounds of a word and to group those sounds to force words. Distinct commands are effective; indistinct commands cause confusion. Emphasize clear enunciation.
Inflection. This is the change in pitch of the voice. Pronounce the preparatory command--the command that announces the movement--with a rising inflection near or at the end of its completion, usually the last syllable. When beginning a preparatory command, the most desirable pitch of voice is near the level of the natural speaking voice. A common fault is to start the preparatory command so high that, after employing a rising inflection, the passage to a higher pitch for the command of execution is impossible without undue strain. A properly delivered command of execution has no inflection. However, it should be given at a higher pitch than the preparatory command. Some commands are portrayed graphically in Figure 2.2.
Snap. This is that extra quality in a command that demands immediate response. It expresses confidence and decisiveness. It indicates complete control of yourself and the situation. To achieve this quality, you must have a knowledge of commands and the ability to voice them effectively. Give the command of execution at the precise instant the heel of the proper foot strikes the ground while marching. Achieve snap in giving commands by standing erect, breathing without effort, and speaking clearly.
1. Cadence is the measure or beat of movement. Commanders must match the rhythm of their commands with the cadence of their unit. The interval that produces the best effect in a movement is the one that allows one step between the preparatory command and the command of execution. In some instances, you should lengthen the interval enough to permit proper understanding of the movement to be executed and allow for supplementary commands when necessary. Measure the interval exactly in the beat of the drill cadence.
2. When marching, give commands for executing movements to the right when the right foot strikes the ground; give commands for executing movements to the left when the left foot strikes the ground. In commands containing two or more words, place the point of emphasis on the last word. For example, in Right Flank, give the command Flank as the right foot hits the ground.
3. For a squadron or larger unit, the interval between the squadron or group commanders preparatory command and the command of execution should be long enough to allow the marching elements to take three steps between commands.
1. The instructor counts cadence to acquaint students with cadence rhythm. When trainees get out of step, the instructor either corrects them by counting cadence or halts the element and then moves them off in step. Counting cadence helps teach coordination and rhythm. Cadence is given in sets of two as follows: HUT, TOOP, THREEP, FOURP; HUT, TOOP, THREEP, FOURP. To help keep in step, unit members should keep the head up and watch the head and shoulders of the person directly in front of them.
2. The command for the element to count cadence is Count Cadence, COUNT. Give the command of execution as the left foot strikes the ground. The next time the left foot strikes the ground, the group counts cadence for eight steps, as follows: ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR; ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR. Do not shout the counts. Give them sharply and clearly, and separate each number distinctly.
3. In counting cadence in the movement Right Step, the count of ONE is given on the right foot because the right foot is moved first.