Thoughts About Marching Percussion

As the indoor percussion season comes to an end, here are seven thoughts that can help you continue to improve as students, instructors and ensembles.

1. There are two facts that you must accept as true:

     a. The “perfect” scoring system does not exist.

     b. The “perfect” judge does not exist.

2. In any ensemble, the role of percussion is twofold:

     a. To drive the vehicle.

     b. To color the musical portrait.

3. The percussion arranger must serve two masters:

     a. The needs of the particular music at hand. Is the music better or worse once the percussion is added? Less is often more!

     b. The abilities of the particular students in his or her ensemble. Don’t write beyond their capabilities.

4. Teachers, instructors and technicians must serve two masters:

     a. The integrity, intent and accuracy of the written music.

     b. The individual and collective interests of each and every student in terms of musical growth and psychological well-being. Always teach the student—the person— first and foremost. The material will follow.

5. Three “R’s” are essential to a thorough education: Reading, ‘Riting, Rudiments. The Percussive Arts Society (PAS) has documented a list of 40 rudiments, which can be found at www.pas.org/Resources/rudiments/rudiments.html.

6. Instructors have the following obligations during critiques:

     a. To be prepared and professional at all times.

     b. To maintain his/her dignity and integrity.

     c. To know the rules and their applications.

     d. To interact with everyone—including judges, administrators, students and competitors—honestly, forthrightly and professionally.

7. Each production is a journey. The entire show is a longer journey:

     a. Is the trip smooth and clear or is it bumpy and confusing, with too many detours?

     b. Is the destination clear?

     c. Is the result worth the trip?

Enjoy the upcoming corps and band seasons!

About the Author

Dennis DeLucia is one of the most highly respected percussion teachers, arrangers, clinicians and judges in the United States. A former member of the West Point Band, he is best known for his successes with championship drum corps and bands.

Hail to the Chief

President Barack Obama’s Inauguration Parade on Jan. 20 featured a large assortment of marching bands and other groups celebrating the new leader’s swearing-in. From Halftime ...