Advice on Drumline auditions?

So, fellow Drummerworld members, I'm in a bit of a conundrum that I would like to hear opinions on. I'm a recently graduated Drumline Captain from my High School. I loved my time on the line, but I will be the first to admit that my role there was more based on leadership ability than by a significant amount of drumming skill. I was one of the better players, but not head and shoulders above the rest of the group - which was at a newly established high school (therefore years away from competing at the level of other well-established schools). And now I'm heading off to college, which I love. But the drumline at the college I will be attending is very competitive, and frankly I don't think my chops are at a high enough level. I only recently got the audition music, and I know I will not be comfortable enough (at least by my own standards) for the audition. I took a lesson with the percussion director on Monday, and he kept emphasizing the need to go back to the basics, etc. I'm not opposed to such advice, and earnestly threw myself headfirst into practicing on his suggestions. The point his, that's not the kind of advice one looks for 2 weeks before the actual audition. In addition to all of this, I've been noticing CTS-like symptoms.

So in light of all of this, I'm not sure whether I should attempt the drumline audition. I always loved drumline, but that doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do in the future. No matter what, I will always keep drumming. The college I'm going to offers so much in various involvement opportunities, so I'm not sure whether I should lock myself into something that A) can take up an inordinate amount of time B) leaves me playing an instrument I'd rather not play if I do audition poorly C) potentially severely affects my health, and D) stresses me out so much that I write such a novel begging for help!


Platinum Member
Your instructor's advice seems sound. No, there isn't any magic bullet that's going to help you breeze through the audition other than hard work. Focus on the basics and woodshed the rudiments backward and forwards until you can play them at any tempo.

Two weeks is a short time to develop the level of facility you wish you had already, but the only way to get better is to practice.

Right now you're doubting your ability level, and after not finding an easy fix are now looking for an out to avoid the audition.

Don't give in to that mentality. If you want to be a part of the drumline, then work harder to be ready for the audition. Don't look at it as "only two weeks," think of it as 14 whole days to improve your drumming and work ethic.

The only way you'll be comfortable is by really knowing the material better, and the only way to reach that goal is by working harder and smarter. Focus on the parts of the audition you're least comfortable with. Talk to someone already on the drumline and ask for help. Your instructor gave you advice and feedback, now it's your turn to actually do something with it.

Good luck!

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Of course, the final decision is completely up to you (I think everyone will say this).

That said, when I stopped doing 'drumline' stuff, I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I began to put my focus back on what I needed to do to get gigs and more drumset playing, which is what I wanted to do in the first place. I think I allowed the drumline activity to slip into my mind that it was something I could make a career out of. And it wasn't.

College is where I began to intently study jazz and play piano and get all that music stuff started. I learned how to interact with musicians and also learned that in a bar band, your amount of employment is directly proportional to how much beer the bar is selling.

There's alot of music to do out there, and being in a drumline is only a very small part of it. I say it's great to leave it behind and find out what you're really great at. Try it all before you bang your head against only one wall!


Platinum Member
Keep a STRONG and POSITIVE attitude. Also when you mess up, don't look like you mess up. Just keep truckin.


Silver Member
Right now you're doubting your ability level, and after not finding an easy fix are now looking for an out to avoid the audition. Don't give in to that mentality. If you want to be a part of the drumline, then work harder to be ready for the audition. Don't look at it as "only two weeks," think of it as 14 whole days to improve your drumming and work ethic.
Very good advice, imo. Just work as hard as you can for these two weeks and do your best at the audition. No matter what happens, you'll have improved as a drummer, and there will not only be one opportunity in the future.


I won't have any advice about whether you should or shouldn't join the drumline, simply because I have no clue what it is (I'm not from America).
However, if you want to do a good audition, then you should plan ahead and make up a plan for your audition. I don't know what they want you to play, but remember that they won't see how well your (for example) dynamics are if you don't show it. So focus on what you want to show.
Also, I would advice you to not try and attempt stuff you will learn in the following weeks, simply because you probably won't have mastered it. You'll probably be playing at 60% (or less) of your skills during the audition.
Good luck man!


You've been given very good advice here. As Winston said, think of those two weeks as a "whole 14 days". Last year I was pulled into my high school's marching band in October that's two months into the season. I was given a snare and floor tom part, a part playing trash cans, and a bass drum part. (I am in a very creative band lol) But I got each part down in about ten days, and as close to perfection as possible in four weeks. But I probably practiced my snare part thousands of times in order to get that kind of progress. The best thing is to know your music inside out. If you really want to make it onto the drumline, than practice the heck out of your music, and even if you don't get the part you wanted on the drumline, it was an oppotunity to improve your chops.

As Bo touched on, at a college, there's multiple things you can do with music. You could join jazz band, concert band, a percussion ensemble, a symphonic band, etc., broadening your musical horizons won't hurt either, just more people to learn from. No matter what the outcome, you'll have improved your chops, and found your way into something you like. Good luck.


Oh yeah, btw, auditioning is ALWAYS useful. I've learned the most this year during my auditioning period.


Senior Member
Hey man, this is what I say! : Audition for it with efficient preparation and taking into consideration the advice you recieved from the director and try your hardest. If you happen not to make it for snare but for something else, consider whether you would like the experience. If not then don't participate, but you won't be on the line without auditioning, so go for it! It's good experience for the future too...