I need help making snare line in HS

Elijah116

Junior Member
Hi, I'm an eighth grader and I'm going to try out for marching band and I am hoping to make snare line. I have been taking lessons on set for a few months but I need help on snare specifically. I have an electronic drum set (Roland TD1-kv) and a practice pad as my tools to practice. I will take any advice, websites, or other things that I can use that will help me make snare line.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Find out who the drum line instructor is at your school (or future school?) and ask him what you should be working on-- maybe he can get you some copies of the music. It would be a great idea to get some lessons with him. Otherwise, be working on your 16th note rhythms in natural sticking (look that up), flam rudiments, paradiddles, and open rolls and drags.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
My advice? Don't. You're what? 12? 13? A corps snare will do you more harm than good. It's like playing on your kitchen counter with baseball bats. Unless you do it exactly right, which you won't be, unless your drumline tech also works for a top-10 DCI corps, you will injure yourself. I taught marching percussion for years. I've seen too many young people injure themselves on corps-style snares.

If you must march, go for multi-tenors. It's better for your body. Even better, go into the pit. Play a bunch of different things. It's better for you as a musician, your drum set knowledge may very well carry over (depends on the pit setup), and you don't have to carry that heavy stuff. :) Win win win.

Good luck!

Bob
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
My advice? Don't. You're what? 12? 13? A corps snare will do you more harm than good. It's like playing on your kitchen counter with baseball bats. Unless you do it exactly right, which you won't be, unless your drumline tech also works for a top-10 DCI corps, you will injure yourself. I taught marching percussion for years. I've seen too many young people injure themselves on corps-style snares.

If you must march, go for multi-tenors. It's better for your body. Even better, go into the pit. Play a bunch of different things. It's better for you as a musician, your drum set knowledge may very well carry over (depends on the pit setup), and you don't have to carry that heavy stuff. :) Win win win.

Good luck!

Bob
Agreed. Kevlar is for vests, not drumheads, and the technique developed on it does not necessarily transfer easily to normal drums, either.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
Agreed. Kevlar is for vests, not drumheads, and the technique developed on it does not necessarily transfer easily to normal drums, either.
I don't really agree with that. It's rudiments, which translate across percussion specialties. My problem is with the kinesiology of marching snare drumming as commonly practiced.

Traditional grip on a flat-plane drum subjects the arm anatomy to movements outside the natural range of motion.* When combined with a playing surface that's as hard as a stone, and sticks that are quite heavy, and a technique which demands stillness of the forearm and action from the wrist, which sends the shock from hitting the counter-top with a baseball bat through the delicate bones and tendons in the wrist, straight up the radius and ulna into the elbow, and you get a recipe for crippling injury.

When you add small, growing bones to that equation, you double down the likelihood of developing RSI.

The solution to that is proper technique. That technique does exist, but it is complex and requires constant training and adjustment. A DCI corps can afford to teach and polish that technique. The players and their staff are together 12 hours a day for weeks at a time. The players are already largely physically developed, so injuries due to over-stressing developing musculature aren't so large an issue.

In a high-school drumline the situation is quite different. If the instructor even has a clue how to spell pedagogy, much less put it into practice, there isn't enough instruction time to do it. Hell, we couldn't do it in college, and 75% of my college marching battery were ex-DCI or DCA players. We lost a gifted marching snare player my sophomore year; he was a percussion performance major who had to take 2 years off or face being crippled the rest of his life.

Yeah, I'm kind of passionate about this issue. ;-)

* Putting the snare on a slant, like the sling-carried drums from which the modern corps snare developed, helps the kinesiology but doesn't help the massive shocks.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
My advice? Don't. You're what? 12? 13? A corps snare will do you more harm than good. It's like playing on your kitchen counter with baseball bats. Unless you do it exactly right, which you won't be, unless your drumline tech also works for a top-10 DCI corps, you will injure yourself. I taught marching percussion for years. I've seen too many young people injure themselves on corps-style snares.

If you must march, go for multi-tenors. It's better for your body. Even better, go into the pit. Play a bunch of different things. It's better for you as a musician, your drum set knowledge may very well carry over (depends on the pit setup), and you don't have to carry that heavy stuff. :) Win win win.

Good luck!

Bob
I really don't understand this. Yes the dynamics are different but if that is something he wants to do as a drummer why discourage him. I took marimba lessons while I was taking drum lessons as a kid. Did the marimba lessons help or hinder my overall ability as a drummer? In my view it helped me to understand music better even though the striking technique is radically different.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I really don't understand this. Yes the dynamics are different but if that is something he wants to do as a drummer why discourage him. I took marimba lessons while I was taking drum lessons as a kid. Did the marimba lessons help or hinder my overall ability as a drummer? In my view it helped me to understand music better even though the striking technique is radically different.
I encourage versatility, just not at the expense of crippling injury. That's what STXBob is talking about...
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
My advice? Don't. You're what? 12? 13? A corps snare will do you more harm than good. It's like playing on your kitchen counter with baseball bats. Unless you do it exactly right, which you won't be, unless your drumline tech also works for a top-10 DCI corps, you will injure yourself. I taught marching percussion for years. I've seen too many young people injure themselves on corps-style snares.

If you must march, go for multi-tenors. It's better for your body. Even better, go into the pit. Play a bunch of different things. It's better for you as a musician, your drum set knowledge may very well carry over (depends on the pit setup), and you don't have to carry that heavy stuff. :) Win win win.

Good luck!

Bob
Terrible advice. Pretty much any HS line in my area has been using kevlar for like 20+ years. I played snare throughout HS and never had problems. I'm 12 years out of high school and still don't have any issues.

You can't expect that his school will be "oh! lets not have snares!" Somebody has got to fill that gap. May as well be OP. I say go for it. It was my dream all through grade and middle school to play snare in high school.

The only people I see who have been anti-kevlar are the old corps drummers from the 70s and early 80s when mylar heads were still used. I think its just a nostalgia thing, that "things are not what they used to be" (despite DCI adopting kevlar heads like 30 years ago). I never EVER had any issues playing on the surface of a kevlar head than moving over and playing on a concert snare or drumset. These "disadvantages" you list are overblown.

Hell, I can't quite remember but there's a good chance our middle school marching snares were kevlar as well. I was on tenors in middle school so I can't really recall.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Terrible advice. Pretty much any HS line in my area has been using kevlar for like 20+ years. I played snare throughout HS and never had problems. I'm 12 years out of high school and still don't have any issues.

You can't expect that his school will be "oh! lets not have snares!" Somebody has got to fill that gap. May as well be OP. I say go for it. It was my dream all through grade and middle school to play snare in high school.

The only people I see who have been anti-kevlar are the old corps drummers from the 70s and early 80s when mylar heads were still used. I think its just a nostalgia thing, that "things are not what they used to be" (despite DCI adopting kevlar heads like 30 years ago). I never EVER had any issues playing on the surface of a kevlar head than moving over and playing on a concert snare or drumset. These "disadvantages" you list are overblown.

Hell, I can't quite remember but there's a good chance our middle school marching snares were kevlar as well. I was on tenors in middle school so I can't really recall.
Lemme tell you a story.

Back in the mid-90s I was at Dallas Youth Orchestra rehearsal while I was in college, don't remember why. The first-chair Texas All-State band snare drummer was playing timpani. Now this kid had great marching snare Kevlar chops, very fast hands. But guess what? Every note he played on timpani sounded like he dropped a turd on the drumhead from 10-30 feet up. His touch was...turdful-sounding. Splat splat splat. I'm sure his touch sounded fine on Kevlar, but who cares? LOL

That kind of thing is why guys like me disdain Kevlar. Maybe not everyone who is raised playing on Kevlar is unable to get a good sound out of a timpani, low tom, etc., but quite a few are "tone-challenged".
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Never knew anybody who was on drumline with me in high school to be incompetent on any of the concert percussion....well, any of the good ones. The bad ones just sucked at everything.

I knew a few ex-corps players who are excellent drumset players.

I think you get the one off person who leaves a sour taste in people's mouths, but they're the exception, not the norm.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
There's nothing I wouldn't love to blame on kevlar, but I suspect the guy's lousy touch is just an all around drum corps thing. When you practice downstroking every note you play for 6 or 7 years, it can be a hard habit to break...
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Never knew anybody who was on drumline with me in high school to be incompetent on any of the concert percussion....well, any of the good ones. The bad ones just sucked at everything.

I knew a few ex-corps players who are excellent drumset players.

I think you get the one off person who leaves a sour taste in people's mouths, but they're the exception, not the norm.
The one-off? Do you know how hard it is to make first chair Texas All-State? Now I'm not saying it's all of them, because I went to college with a different first chair Texas All-Stater who had a very nice touch, especially on timpani. However....my point still stands. I will NEVER forget that awful sound. I'd rather be groped by a hobo than listen to it again.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
There's nothing I wouldn't love to blame on kevlar, but I suspect the guy's lousy touch is just an all around drum corps thing. When you practice downstroking every note you play for 6 or 7 years, it can be a hard habit to break...
But it wasn't like that back in the Mylar days. And of course, before Mylar, everyone had to develop a decent touch.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Elijah if this is something you really want to do get a hold of your school band leader, corps leader or a senior on the corps and ask them what you should be doing to improve and earn a spot. Don't worry about injury, kevlar etc. If your technique is proper you should be fine. I would also check Youtube for a few corps snare lessons,.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
drummer-russ said:
I really don't understand this. Yes the dynamics are different but if that is something he wants to do as a drummer why discourage him.
Because, as I thought I made abundantly clear, marching drums have an alarming tendency to lead to crippling RSI.

I took marimba lessons while I was taking drum lessons as a kid. Did the marimba lessons help or hinder my overall ability as a drummer? In my view it helped me to understand music better even though the striking technique is radically different.
Marimba is an excellent choice. Learning scales and chords and reading melodic music and dynamics is precisely what the overwhelming majority of drumset players I meet desperately need.

But it's not really what I was talking about. I was talking about the risk of RSI, and was trying to provide an alternate POV aside from the "SNARE! WOOOO!" in the Ric Flair voice that testosterone-fueled marching percussionists tend to adopt.

Marching snare and multi-tenors will give the drumset drummer a valuable skill set in rudiments and stroke accuracy. That's the positive. And marching in a corps-style ensemble is athletic as hell, truly challenging, and leads to ecstasy when you get it right. That's another positive. But it has dangers, as well, from RSI in the playing limbs and digits, as well as risk of more pedestrian athletic injuries.

Oh, and hearing loss. Earplugs are absolutely necessary when playing a corps-style snare. I've done personal tests with an SPL meter and found a rimshot with a 3S Ralph Hardiman on a 14" corps snare is as loud if not louder than a 9mm pistol shot.

Terrible advice. Pretty much any HS line in my area has been using kevlar for like 20+ years. I played snare throughout HS and never had problems. I'm 12 years out of high school and still don't have any issues.
Good for you. That's no reason to assume that nobody else has ever had or never will have problems.

The only people I see who have been anti-kevlar are the old corps drummers from the 70s and early 80s when mylar heads were still used.
Well, here I come to break your stereotype. I used Kevlar heads my entire marching career. I have no nostalgia issues.

Hell, I'm not really anti-Kevlar. I guess I'm "anti-what-DCI-snare-fashion-dictates." I'm anti-hurting-people-for-fashion.

Part of the problem is the super-hard playing surface, which breeds excessive shock. That comes from the late 70s and early 80s, when someone in the top ten of DCI decided to reef the snares to pipe-band tension and everyone else said, "Gee, if we want to be competitive, we'd better do that, too." There's your Kevlar.

But that's not the whole of the problem.

Part of the problem is requiring super-tight control of a heavy stick with muscles which in the case of our young friend the OP are surely not developed to handle a 3S stick at all, much less with the kind of precision demanded by a marching snare line. If those muscles ever do develop to the point they're capable of controlling that stick, they will always be ill-equipped to be that precise with that amount of mass, thanks to physics. You can't get away from physics.

Part of the problem is the kinesiology of playing traditional grip on a plane where the left wrist has to do awful things to itself to play the least note. Then you're going to make it do those kinds of rudiments? With a 3S stick? Whoever decided to put the snares flat and continue using traditional grip should pay the RSI-related medical costs of all the corps and marching band players who've suffered from it.

I mean, why do that? Because a caption head of a top-ten DCI battery started doing it in the 80s, maybe won the caption or that corps won the championship, and everybody thought it looked "cool," and there's no reason, really, other than fashion.

It's much more potentially harmful than other forms of drumming (though all drumming carries the risk of RSI). People who are considering taking up modern marching snare need to be aware of those risks.

I never EVER had any issues playing on the surface of a kevlar head then moving over and playing on a concert snare or drumset. These "disadvantages" you list are overblown.
Again, good for you. Kindly refrain from projecting your own experiences as uniform across humanity.

Guys, I'm not necessarily saying "Don't do it." I'm saying "If you're going to do it, do it right, and do it for the right reasons."
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
But it wasn't like that back in the Mylar days. And of course, before Mylar, everyone had to develop a decent touch.
Heh, not really! The drums sure sounded better, but there was still that down-strokey thing. I was in the SCV orbit, which better than most, but we were still playing into the drum-- '2" below the surface of the head' was the actual instruction they gave us.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
I would argue that from watching old DCI videos, that the playing was far more stiff and heavy handed in the mylar era than anything I have ever seen. The technique used in modern drum corps is not so dissimilar from other styles of drumming.

I think that probably has far more to do with it than head choice.
 
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