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Thread: Drum Major

  1. #1
    Gundam overlord Member Bey-Heart's Avatar
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    Default Drum Major

    Is anybody here a drum major, or wants to be drum major in their marching band?


    I'm currently a sophomore, so at the end of this school year I'm going to audition for the junior drum major position. Does anybody have any advice or anything for me? Tips that could help me make sure I get the spot?

  2. #2
    Rex Ars ex Inane Member M's Avatar
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    Used to be a Field Sergent Sr Corp Tech here. I was in charge of everyone's Corp marching technique. It was epic to take perfect Backwards March of 8 to 5 across the entire marching field and then teach everyone else how to do it.

    "No longer will you be looking from outside; you will be living it.
    "Today you will become a part of the Fantasia."

  3. #3
    Gundam overlord Member Bey-Heart's Avatar
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    That does sound pretty epic.

  4. #4

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    My high school was known for it's marching band, however I didn't get anywhere near those kinds of things. However, I do have some experience with percussion. My only suggestion that could help is that you could take seriously your playing technique, and not just worry about memory and the steps.

    This is something that's always bothered me about high school marching bands is the neglect of the music that they're actually playing.

    tldr; Make sure you're a boss at rudiments and dynamics.

    Milchh's Transcription & Arrangement Request Thread!


    Repertoire
    Bach: Prelude and Fugue in Bb minor, WTK Bk. II
    Schubert: Piano Sonata in A minor, D. 845 Op. 42
    Satie: Desiccated Embryos
    Debussy: Étude No. 1, 'pour les cinq doigts' L. 136
    Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 in Bb Major, Op. 83
    Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F# minor, Op. 1


  5. #5
    Rex Ars ex Inane Member M's Avatar
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    Totally missed the advise line in your original posting...

    First, I have to explain how my High School did its marching band Staff, as I've found out that it's drastically different than what most had.

    My school have a 4 level hierarchy: Sr Drum Major, Jr Drum Major, Sr Field Sergent, Jr Field Sergent. The senior drum major is pretty much the equivalent of what a concert band director's job is: Understanding the music and style, but only that. They only march during a parade, and no longer play their instrument. The Sr Field Sergent is directly beneath the Drum Major which monitors on the field. They can take the place of the Sr Drum Major for conducting a piece but their specialty is basically working on the nitty gritty details, whereas the Sr Drum Major is more focused on the big picture. The Jr Drum Major and Jr Field Sergent positions were essentially an understudy of their Sr counterparts.

    The difference between a Jr and a Sr position is what their focus is on. In our school Sr meant that they were focused on proper style and expression while marching. The Jr position was focused on correctness of music. So generally the Jr positions would take charge of the musical aspects and the Sr positions would apply this to their marching style so that regardless of if they were marching or not, it would sound the same.



    So, with that being said:
    Going for a Jr Drum Major is a big step, especially if you haven't been a section leader before. Typically the Staff expects an almost natural quality of musical talent that required little to no assistance in the previous years, since you will essentially be a model of your band's excellence. Good understanding of Corp/HighStep/JazzWalk, Field Formation, expressive yet precise conducting, and existing leadership qualities need to be under your belt and known to the Staff. It doesn't hurt to understand not only your section's parts, but show interest in the entire band's capabilities and performance to the point of self sacrifice. You also must come to terms with the fact that you may in the future no longer play in the band and take the role of Sr Drum Major.

    Spoiler for Life Story Stuff, but you might get something out of reading this:

    I can't really place it into words on how to really become a Drum Major, since it's not really something that there's a stern criteria for. It's about how you conduct yourself and how you grow within the Band. I've placed what major events took place for me during my Marching career below. Hopefully this will provide some guideposts for you in your tryouts.


    When I originally tried out, I was selected because of my growth in capability, dedication, and charisma. The interview process actually spanned my entire career in the Marching Band and was a direct reflection of what I was desiring from the band and what I expected of the band. To fully understand how I got to my position, you need my life story.

    When I was a freshman, I almost quit the Marching Band on the first day of camp. My freshman year was hard and generally unrewarding. I was hazed, ridiculed, and challenged to my utmost by my peers. But I preserved and moved on to the next year. Then I started to make sure that I was never off or wrong from what I was directed to do. I paid heavy attention to my tutors and trainers. It was this year that I learned about what "Time and Place" and "Discipline and Deducation" really meant. This was a lecture given by my Director to me. He explained that for everything, there is a time and place for it to occur. Be in in arguments or in questions; a proper placement at the right time will result in a successful end. This also applied in a literal sense, as on the field you have a place you need to be at a certain time; failure to do so results in a breakdown of form or communication. As for Discipline, I had previously in my life only heard the word in negative light. The Director told me that for you to truly be great, you have to be Disciplined and Dedicated. Even if something is wrong, you need to have the discipline to understand that the person before you asked you for a particular reason that may not be obvious, and you need to dedicate everything you have into your discipline.

    The next year, I took those two lessons to heart. I made sure that not only I, but the entire brass section of the band was correct; taking it upon myself to help them even when it was not my part that was wrong. I lost my self image and instead made the entire brass section reflect upon how well we were doing. That year, I did about 1-2 hours of Corp practice every weekday, when the rest of the band did only 20 minutes. I allowed others to join with me during this practice. The amazing part behind all of this was the response I got from the group itself. They desired to go the extra mile. Watching me work after practice during my break, they sacrificed their own breaks to better themselves. We became disciplined. The entire Brass and Majorette group joined me in this extra practice. The Band Director at that time pulled me aside and asked me if I wanted to be a Field Sergent, and that my job would be to simply keep doing what I was doing; only that this would give me more power to do that, and to keep up my image as a role model. And that led me to the position.
    Last edited by M; February 6th, 2012 at 01:17 am.

    "No longer will you be looking from outside; you will be living it.
    "Today you will become a part of the Fantasia."

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