Can you believe it’s time for another fall marching band season? Before band camp comes upon you, catch that last drum corps show, keep getting in physical shape and squeeze in a few more hours fixing your left-hand technique. Then, keep the following thoughts in mind starting with the very first rehearsal.
The first job you have with your drum line or front ensemble this season is to make sure you and your friends have a great time. That’s why we all got started in this activity to begin with! And the more you like each other, the easier it will be to get through those hot August rehearsals and band camp. So make sure you spend time getting to know all the new students and including them in your activities.
There is definitely a strong correlation between how close you are as a group and how well you will perform later in the season. Having your friends rely on you for shared success is a powerful motivator.
Build the Basics
Now that you’re working together, make sure you’re working smart. As the season starts off, it is critical to build a foundation of skills and rudiments that can be applied to your music in October and November. That means: Focus on rep after rep after rep of exercises to build your strength and to build your ears. Whether your drum line plays paradiddles or book reports, learn to play them really well now; come late season, you are less likely to see the “water hose” come out.
Work Toward a Goal
It’s also important during the early stages of a marching season to ensure you are working to achieve shared goals. Setting objectives will help keep everyone focused and building throughout the season.
Perhaps your goal is to play a new cadence in your homecoming parade or to simply be the best you can be at a Bands of America regional. But stay away from competitive goals and focus on those things you can control.
Set yourself up for success now, and the end of the season will be that much sweeter.
About the Author
Lane Armey is the battery percussion coordinator for Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif. During the past 10 years, he has worked with various groups including Northwestern University and the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps.