“GE” (General Effect) is perhaps the most important caption in indoor percussion and the least understood. It is NOT simply an audience applause meter; it is NOT simply a gauge of “likeability”; it is NOT simply the judge’s “favorite” show.
Percussion General Effect within WGI Sport of the Arts is described this way: “Credit all of the musical/visual elements in a unit’s presentation that combine to display an effective and entertaining program. Credit the successful communication of the unit’s identity and message through the tasteful blend of creativity and performance. Credit the performers’ ability to connect with the audience. The music drives the visual in creating an effective presentation.”
GE in WGI Percussion has two sub-captions. MUSIC EFFECT considers communication, musicianship, creativity, blend, virtuosity (“excellence as it relates to effect”) and expression. OVERALL EFFECT includes drill, acting, costuming, narration and props. This sub-caption considers communication, audiovisual coordination, creativity, pacing, impact/resolution, effects and entertainment.
Here’s advice to help you achieve success in GE:
1. Do your own thing—don’t imitate last year’s winner.
2. Think “audience” when you make program choices.
3. Compare GE to a movie: When it ends, your friends ask you, “Did you like it? Will you recommend it to others?”
4. Make an impression in the first 30 to 45 seconds.
5. Be obvious. Shows that are effective have an intent that is immediately clear and appealing. Groups that win often have an intriguing sub-layer.
6. Play with quality. Groups that are effective but sloppy will not score as well as those that are clean musically.
7. Never accept a neutral reaction. Go for it! Entertain!
8. Remember “communication” is the first consideration under both sub-captions.
9. Be creative without being overdone. Do not feel compelled to write bass drum features, flam-drags at 168, split-rolls on tenors, six mallet parts or five cymbal parts. Less is more.
10. Most of all, have fun.
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. He helped architect the scoring system for WGI’s indoor percussion.