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Winterguard Basics


About This Class

Winterguard Basics is an online class designed for instructors who have little or no winterguard experience. If you have only seen winterguard, or are just now implementing a winterguard at your school, this class is for you! We'll show you how to put together a complete basic winterguard program; everything from selecting the music to teaching technique, writing the show to designing costumes and flags, and running rehearsals to handling those performance days! Everything you need to know to start your kids off on the right foot (or left for that matter) with a beginning level winterguard show.

About The Instructor

Molly Hardin

Molly has performed with the best colorguards in the world. She marched four years with the Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps -- 10 time world champions. She also marched with Velvet Knights Drum & Bugle Corps from Anaheim, CA. Her performance experience also includes such Winterguard as Kingsmen, State Street Review, San Jose Raiders and Concord Blue Devils. With these groups she has earned two WGI Gold medals, two Bronze, one DCI World Championship, and one DCI High Auxiliary Award. Throughout her performing career, Molly has received many honors including Outstanding Performer Award, Sabre of the Year Award, and Outstanding Veteran of the Year. She currently is the director of Clayton Valley High School Color Guard in Concord, CA, is in the graphic design/advertising industry, and a full time mother to her one-year old daughter.

Course Materials

The following materials are suggested (purposes and specifics will be provided in class):

  • 8 1/2 by 11" spiral-bound notebook with at least 70 pages to keep as your "Bible." Ideally, sized to take everywhere with you.
  • A three-ring binder with divider tabs.
  • Calendar with large spaces for writing in.

Course Objectives

  • This course is intended to assist instructors in revamping their current Winterguard program or beginning from ground zero in putting one together.
  • Course students will meet in a virtual classroom setting once per week during the course to discuss any questions or concerns that have come up that week.
  • This course will discuss common problems that arise in any guard, and examine methods of solving them.
  • Students will keep an e-journal, with topics supplied by the course instructor, for use in problem solving, brainstorming and inventorying the current program, both philosophically and physically.

Discussion Forums

The discussion forum is a venue for us to have organized discussions as well as a place for you to post questions that are relevant to the class. Please be sure to use very specific subjects so that others may scroll through the subjects and easily find topics of interest.

Chat Conferences

The chat conference room is a venue for us to have live interactive discussions. Chat conferences will be held every Wednesday night at 8 pm (PST). Please contact your instructor if you are considering enrolling for this class and will have problems attending at these times to see if alternative arrangements can be made.

Winterguard Vocabulary

A dictionary of certain terms and phrases frequently utilized in the Winterguard world, both by judges and instructors. This will be very helpful to the beginning Winterguard instructor.

Assignment & Due Dates

All assignments will be issued on Mondays and due on Friday of the same week by 6 pm (PST).


Quizzes/journal writings = 50%
Participation in weekly virtual classroom = 25%
Final Project = 25%


below 60%=F

Make-Up Exams And Late Work

Full Students Only: It is important to turn in assignments on a timely basis, because this helps show how you'd meet deadlines on day to day real life scenarios. You will generally have a couple of days to turn in assignments. Work should be submitted by due dates unless prior arrangements are made with instructor. Assignments will be accepted up to one week late but will be penalized 10 points, and no assignments will be accepted more than one week late without prior approval from the instructor or an excused absence as explained in the SpiritU Before you Begin section.





Course Type

This is not a certification course. Students will receive an electronic report card via email upon completion of the class in PDF format which students may print to hard copy version via their browsers. To view PDF formats, you may need to download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Input From Winterguard Basics Students

Excellent class! Why? The problems were a great excercise in dealing with potential trouble spots, and the assignments made me think much more about the program I am planning.... Always willing to help, and with good helpful comments on the discussion and weekly assignments. The weekly assignments and structure of the lessons really helped me move from the beginning stages of planning a winterguard to a more advanced stage. As I go to present the winterguard for official School Committee approval, I am much more confident that they will approve it because of all the improvements I have made as a result of this class.

I thought the Testing/Evaluations/Projects were good because they required a lot of thought, and were not just asking us to regurgitate the lecture. I'm already planning to take more SpiritU classses like the Colorguard Coaching Basics class next semester, and would like to take more winter guard and color guard classes as they become available.


I feel that there was a lot of important material presented. Some things I already knew, some things I didn't, and some things I needed to be reminded of.... Molly has a lot of knowledge and experience. It is evident in the weekly lectures... I beleive that the design of the class is well thought out. The lectures, journal assignments, and chat room all compliment each other. I really needed the information that was presented and wasn't sure where else to get it. Overall quality of class was excellent. I feel that taking more SpiritU classes would be helpful.



Course Syllabus


Week 1 Selecting your Program
  • Choosing your music
  • Should you have a theme?
Week 2 Designing the Show
  • Finding "Moments" in the music
  • Costuming/Make-up
  • Equipment and prop choices
  • Staging
Week 3 Technique
  • Why technique is so important.
  • Movement
  • Flag
  • Weapon
  • How to integrate technique into your rehearsal
Week 4 Teaching the Show
  • Planning your rehearsals
  • The different methods for writing
Week 5 Running the Rehearsal
  • Tips for effective time management
  • What to do if you can't get a facility
  • Handling tardiness and missed rehearsals.
  • What if you have to miss?
Week 6 Performances
  • Instilling in the performers a sense of excitement vs. being their personal cheerleader
  • The Benefits of pre-performance rituals/traditions
  • Critiquing their show post-performance
  • Performer Etiquette/Professionalism


[Class authored by Molly Hardin and Leslie Goettsch. All SpiritU® classes are written exclusively for SpiritU®, and are the sole property of Leslie's Best, Inc.]

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