Looking Professional for Your Indoor Drumline Performance

Lane Armey

We’re only a month or two away from early season winter percussion performances! Here are a few tips to help your group look and act more professional at your first show while bypassing missteps that some other programs will undoubtedly make.

Floor Setup

Know the size of the performance space as well as the size of your floor. Have a plan for the distance your tarp should be from the various boundaries to take advantage of the available space and to ensure that you pull out your floor quickly and accurately.

Is there a back boundary? If not, consider setting up your floor as far back as you can to create visual separation between the front ensemble and performers on the floor.

When pulling out the tarp, evenly space the members around the border. Don’t have 20 kids pull a floor across the middle of the gym. Have six pulling with the other kids balanced around the front and back of the tarp, ready to make minor adjustments.

Most of all, practice your floor setup early and often! Performers and staff alike will have much less stress going into a competition.


The easiest penalty to avoid is to make sure the bottom of every prop and instrument is taped where it touches the floor unless it is on wheels or has a rubber bottom. Protect your hosts’ floors and save yourself unnecessary penalties.

The Dreaded Click

When your show is over, the performers simply need to leave the arena. There is no need or benefit from announcing the end of your show with a rimshot or rim click. It ruins any effect you may be achieving with the end of your show and is known among judges as a sign of a more immature group.


If allowed by the venue, battery members should drop off their drums outside the arena, then come back to get the floor. This procedure ensures that they can take the floor all the way out without running back to get drums left behind in the gym.

Overall, these little steps will make a big difference in your program presentation. Good luck this season!

About author

Lane Armey

Lane Armey is the battery percussion coordinator for Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif. In the past, he has worked with various groups including Northwestern University and the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps.