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Old 12-27-2017, 02:08 PM
Farahin65 Farahin65 is offline
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Default I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to do

Next semester, my section instructor/director offered me to switch from marching snare to playing drumset in the pit around a month ago. I said yes because I was a "backup" snare drummer in a way and wanted to play something at least.

I've been playing "drums" for almost 5 years - most of that spending doing shitty and sloppy practice on the practice pad.I then joined my university's marching band earlier this year and basically had my band instructor and section leader correct all of my shit forcing me back to square one, kind of.

I did get a used Yamaha DTX540k 5 months ago though so at least I have something to practice on if I have to, and I've been trying to squeeze in playing time whether I could even before.

But since I said yes, I have been freaking out on whether am I worthy to take that position or not. I watched some DCI and WGI drum cams and it seems to be more complex than I thought it would be, which is why I'm scared shitless right now.

I plan to practice as much as possible after my finals end next month... around 6++/day or something like that.

And I asked my instructor on what things should I learn and he said -
  • Time signatures : 4/4 , 3/4, 2/4 , 6/8
  • Polyrhythms (like 4 against 2, 3 against 2,etc.)
  • Rudiments [The 40 standards and more hybrid rudiments]
  • Timing (It needs to be flawless)

I have a few books that I already use - Stick Control by George Stone, Ted Reed's Syncopation, Gary Chester's The New Breed and David Garibaldi's Future Sounds. I'm thinking of buying all the marching-snare related books from The Grid Book Series for learning gridding concepts but other than that I don't what other books to buy.



If anyone can help me on what other books I should buy or how much should I practice or what additional aspects I should improve, that'll be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:40 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

Drumset in marching band is different from normal drumming in that you actually have to play an exact part note-for-note, to fit in with what the rest of the section is doing. It should all be pre-written for you. In a way that takes some of the pressure off. Try to get the music as soon as you can, and start working on it, and memorizing it.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

Do what your instructor told you to do.

Actually, if I were you, I would tell him to find someone with more experience.
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Old 12-28-2017, 12:38 PM
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Bonzo_CR Bonzo_CR is offline
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

I bow to Todd's superior knowledge, but a few thoughts from me:

The books you have are good, and will develop your abilities; however if I was in your position I would also set the goal of preparing myself to play with the band, meaning:

Develop vocabulary for playing in the style(s) you'll be playing in - be able to easily pull out beats as written on demand, including some in each of the "Time signatures" mentioned.

"Rudiments" will help with smoothness and facility, especially if you practice moving them around the kit. Rudiments are a means to an end, so once you have a rudiment down, IMO it's better to practice using it in context to play musical phrases, rather than thinking of rudiments as an end in themselves.

"Timing" is a special one. Practicing to a metronome is the obvious way to practice timing but IMO it's really about developing the ability to LISTEN (to the click, or to the other players in the band) WHILE you're PLAYING too, so you stay in time with it and still play what you want. It sounds odd, but it's a kind of mental exercise in a way, and the practice helps you develop the extra headspace you need to do both together.

I would also practice sight-reading skills so you can find your way through the song using charts, if provided.

Just my 5c. Good luck!

Last edited by Bonzo_CR; 12-28-2017 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 12-28-2017, 04:25 PM
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RLRR-LRLL RLRR-LRLL is offline
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

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Originally Posted by specgrade View Post
Do what your instructor told you to do.

Actually, if I were you, I would tell him to find someone with more experience.
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Old 12-28-2017, 04:33 PM
Groov-E Groov-E is offline
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

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Originally Posted by specgrade View Post
Do what your instructor told you to do.

Actually, if I were you, I would tell him to find someone with more experience.
I will go against the previous post and recommend you accept the challenge and embrace the opportunity. You have got time to prepare what your instructor asked for and you got this. A lot of us here wish we were in your shoes, so work hard and enjoy the ride.

Dom Fomularo's book on odd times : https://www.alfred.com/odd-feelings/p/00-40943/

Also this other thread with more of Todd's advice :http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...d.php?t=101229

Rudiments can be learned and improved almost anywhere at almost any time, it is just a matter of actually picking up the sticks and drill baby drill !
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:55 PM
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Richard.Awesome Richard.Awesome is offline
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

Maybe find a local teacher for some lessons. Being able to ask questions and work out problems with someone is extremely helpful.
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Old 12-29-2017, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

Obviously, your instructor / director thinks you could do the job.
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Old 12-29-2017, 07:15 AM
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

Wait a minute - you said "yes", and after five years of playing around you still don't know what you're supposed to do behind a drum set with a band?

Here's the deal - if you are the only percussionist in the group (which may be likely), your job is what it's always been for every drummer on the planet: you lay down the time and groove.

Here is the US we have what they call "mini Corps" which is a smallish horn line augmented by limited percussion. I did this with the Sacramento Freelancers a few years ago and that set up was 20 horns, and a drum set. We added a mallet percussionist later. But in this instance, my job was to keep time and kick the horns in the butt to make them groove. Take everything you've been into with drumming and apply it here - just know that you are the time keeper and you're holding it all together for them. This doesn't take a lot of chops, just a strong personality and a willingness to provide the groove.

Don't be thrown by the fact that there's no bass or guitar. It's still a rock band situation. Provide the big beat and they'll be happy. Know your styles and feels, start and stop with the conductor and you'll be gold. I did this exact thing for the Los Angeles Lakers and had a great time.
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Old 12-29-2017, 02:36 PM
sessionstu sessionstu is offline
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

If I were in your shoes, I would get my hands on the drum/percussion parts as quickly as possible. If the music for the upcoming year isn't available, I would get the parts from the previous year. That way you can see what you're going to be dealing with. Most drum set charts aren't written note for note like snare drum charts are. Regardless of what's on the page, your main responsibilities are going to be keeping time and laying down the rhythm pattern for the style of music. Though I've never played in a drum corp, I watched DCI religiously in the 90s. I don't recall the drum set player in the pit doing anything too technical. I may be wrong. It did look like a lot of fun though.

Good luck with your journey.

IN MY HONEST OPINION, I wouldn't worry about odd time signatures and polyrhythms at this point in your playing. Learn the essentials first. I doubt very much you're going to be played 5 over 4 patterns in a marching band.
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Old 12-30-2017, 02:00 AM
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

Have faith in the system, the instructor put you where he put you for a reason.

Whatever you do, don't quit!!! (and tell him to get some one with more experience?) You grow by jumping into the fire, the people who got the experience did so by jumping in just like you're about to. Again, the instructor is playing all the cards he has in the way he feels is best for the group.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:51 AM
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Terry Branam Terry Branam is offline
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Default Re: I'll be playing drumset for my university's marching band next semester and I dont know what to

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Originally Posted by BillBachman View Post
Have faith in the system, the instructor put you where he put you for a reason.

Whatever you do, don't quit!!! (and tell him to get some one with more experience?) You grow by jumping into the fire, the people who got the experience did so by jumping in just like you're about to. Again, the instructor is playing all the cards he has in the way he feels is best for the group.
Yessss! Good advice here by Bill! Go for it, man. Work hard. Do it!
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