Congratulations on completing another fall marching band season! The doldrums of winter are upon us, but the season never ends for the marching percussion enthusiast.
Trying to decide what to ask for this holiday season? Ask for the gift that keeps on giving: a good metronome with subdivision built in.
I’m noticing two trends in young drummers these days; they have way more chops than ever before, and, wow, they can’t keep time. Don’t fall into this trap! Get a met!
Already got one? Then make sure you’ve got a quality drum pad that prevents you from drumming on the kitchen table.
There’s a whole lot of good drumming going on during your winter break that you may not be aware of—think college bowl games.
Just like the football teams that have been practicing for a month to prepare for the games, the marching bands that support them are at their best during bowl season. Catch them on TV; there’s a lot of good camera time given to drum lines these days.
And while traditionally there were relatively few really good college lines, these days there are talented college lines galore because of the explosion of drum corps and WGI.
Winter is where the rubber meets the road in terms of auditions for next summer’s drum corps and this winter’s WGI lines.
Attend as many camps as you can, even if you don’t think you have a good shot to make it. You will learn a ton and know what to expect for next year.
And my biggest piece of advice is to keep your ears open, be flexible and be open to new techniques. Every instructor has his or her own style, and the performers that get called back and have the most success are those that immediately adapt their technique and show a willingness to change and improve.
So use this winter to get the tools you need, check out some fun drumming lines and improve yourself along the way.
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.