Music on the Move

Enabling mobility for traditionally non-marching instruments

5 years, 4 months ago | SKILLS: CAD / Mechanical Design

How can we design a way for musicians in a marching band to simultaneously march and play music with instruments that traditionally do not march?


Inclusivity (and for fun!)


Design Skills

CAD | Iterative Prototyping | User Research


Team Size

Solo – I helped make custom music holders for any new members of the marching band with ‘alternative’ instruments!



A classical cellist that can run, dance, and play – and still see her music.

As a proud member of the Yale Precision Marching Band (YPMB) in college, I firmly supported their belief that any instrument could participate on the field with the  band. For most traditional marching instruments, one can purchase a lyre to interface with the instrument to secure multiple pages of sheet music while moving and playing. But when lifelong cellist Elizabeth joined the YPMB, she found it very difficult to play the cello during performances due to a lack of existing cello lyres. This problem was shared by many other members of the YPMB who played non-standard instruments like violins and accordions. To help, I used Solidworks, 3D-printing and iterative design to create customized sheet holders for each of their instruments. 

With the YPMB always fast-paced and moving, it was diffcult for Elizabeth to simultaneously read music, play cello, and watch the conductor with the flimsy aligator clips she originally used to hold her music. An early design attempted to straddle the neck of the cello and used screwholes to secure the alligator clips holding the music. The custom lyre was redesigned to better fit the curvature of a cello body and neck, with variation in mounting mechanisms for different types of clips to hold song sheets. All CAD models were 3D printed and tested directly on a football field.










The success of Elizabeth’s music holder led other traditionally ‘seated’ instrumentalists to reach out to ask for custom lyre designs for their instruments. By adjusting the designs for the cello accessory, I created music holders for other YPMB members who brought guitars, violins, and an accordian to live events.