DCI

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
Anyone know of a DCI or Cavalier member? I was a Drum & Bugle Corp member in my military school & considered auditioning for one of these when I got to high school.
I've heard the audition process is pretty tough (to be expected), but I've never met a member to just talk about it.

Thoughts?
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
One of my former drum students went on to make the DCI snare line for the Madison Scouts! Then after the DCI season was over he turned around and got a spot on the Rhythm X snare line. I taught him the fundamentals and mentored him a lot in the beginning, and he ran with it. He was a hard worker. That was a very proud moment for sure, haha.

The audition process is very rigorous and competitive. Generally, there are dozens of drummers auditioning for a few spots on the line. They're given a multitude of "simple" exercises to build uniformity of technique. That's a big part of having a cohesive drumline, everyone has to have identical technique which is a challenge in and of itself.

They're also given a ton of exercises that are designed to improve timing, speed, endurance, dynamics, stick heights, diddle cleanliness, you name it.

Here's a typical triplet exercise that all the corps use. It's more of a building block for more difficult exercises that come after.

9EBcTlt.png


A much more difficult one that's par for the course in most DCI lines

JNNzn96.png


There are parts for the bass line and tenors as well, but you get the idea.

As if the many exercises, and entire show music they have to learn wasn't enough, they also learn drum cadences and drum pieces that aren't used in the show. They're basically used as warmups and a way to keep the line sharp. A few famous ones are The Ditty (this was one of the first pieces I taught my drum student), and Electric Wheelchair and Double Beat.

One interesting tidbit is that many exercises are designed to be difficult to play on "autopilot"...meaning they aren't just 4/4 and following an easy pattern. This is to force the drumline to stay focused and not daydream. It takes a lot of mental energy to play in these drumlines.

And don't get me started on the book music. The book being the actual "show music". It's convoluted with details that can take weeks to learn. All the sticking has to be perfect, along with identical stick heights and dynamics. Lots of crazy rhythms you won't find anywhere else too, because DCI is always looking for a way to raise the difficulty to stay competitive.

Here's an example of the crazy music they gotta learn...


EDIT: So I just googled my former student, and he seems to have added even more to his resume since then. Very proud of him.

qatZJxu.png
 
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Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I can’t roll my eyes hard enough at what DCI has become. Well, specifically, the snare lines. Everything else has gotten better. The snare lines are just cartoonish. Everything good about them is gone, gone, gone.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
have also had or currently have students in Madison Scouts, Cavaliers, Phantom Regiment, The Bluecoats, The Glassmen, Rhythm X, Matrix, Cap City...i live vicariously though them since I never gott he chance to do it back in the day

most everyone on this site is not of age to do DCI...you have to be between 14-21 to do DCI, which is called junior corps. Most of us could do DCA - Senior Corps, which is sometimes like DCI with less intense parts, and more intense "lounging". I still train, and play like

I love DCI/WGI in an all of era's, and think that the current iteration is awesome; DCI has brought more kids into the realm of concert/orchestral in the past 20 years than any other drumming activity...and definitely brought more kids to drumming in general....I have seen rthis in my past 30 years of being a Percussion Specialist in our school system

the only thing I don't like is how they don't wear legit uniforms anymore...that is a whole other topic of discussion for me to rant about

but yeah...it is not the audition process that is rigorous, it is the preparation leading up to it!!! And any more, if you are not a trained gymnast/dancer, you won't be considered....most of my kids have said that the marching/visual side is actually way more demanding/stressful/intimidating
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
One of my former drum students went on to make the DCI snare line for the Madison Scouts! Then after the DCI season was over he turned around and got a spot on the Rhythm X snare line. I taught him the fundamentals and mentored him a lot in the beginning, and he ran with it. He was a hard worker. That was a very proud moment for sure, haha.

The audition process is very rigorous and competitive. Generally, there are dozens of drummers auditioning for a few spots on the line. They're given a multitude of "simple" exercises to build uniformity of technique. That's a big part of having a cohesive drumline, everyone has to have identical technique which is a challenge in and of itself.

They're also given a ton of exercises that are designed to improve timing, speed, endurance, dynamics, stick heights, diddle cleanliness, you name it.

Here's a typical triplet exercise that all the corps use. It's more of a building block for more difficult exercises that come after.

9EBcTlt.png


A much more difficult one that's par for the course in most DCI lines

JNNzn96.png


There are parts for the bass line and tenors as well, but you get the idea.

As if the many exercises, and entire show music they have to learn wasn't enough, they also learn drum cadences and drum pieces that aren't used in the show. They're basically used as warmups and a way to keep the line sharp. A few famous ones are The Ditty (this was one of the first pieces I taught my drum student), and Electric Wheelchair and Double Beat.

One interesting tidbit is that many exercises are designed to be difficult to play on "autopilot"...meaning they aren't just 4/4 and following an easy pattern. This is to force the drumline to stay focused and not daydream. It takes a lot of mental energy to play in these drumlines.

And don't get me started on the book music. The book being the actual "show music". It's convoluted with details that can take weeks to learn. All the sticking has to be perfect, along with identical stick heights and dynamics. Lots of crazy rhythms you won't find anywhere else too, because DCI is always looking for a way to raise the difficulty to stay competitive.

Here's an example of the crazy music they gotta learn...


EDIT: So I just googled my former student, and he seems to have added even more to his resume since then. ?

qatZJxu.png

I LOVE the Blue Devils Book of Drumming - the one that came ou in '95 that has the above exercises and more...soooo many great warm ups in there, and the original, undoctored version of Ditty...that line in the early -mid 90's had cornered the market on the mix of phat grooves and marching percussion!!!
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
have also had or currently have students in Madison Scouts, Cavaliers, Phantom Regiment, The Bluecoats, The Glassmen, Rhythm X, Matrix, Cap City...i live vicariously though them since I never gott he chance to do it back in the day

most everyone on this site is not of age to do DCI...you have to be between 14-21 to do DCI, which is called junior corps. Most of us could do DCA - Senior Corps, which is sometimes like DCI with less intense parts, and more intense "lounging". I still train, and play like

I love DCI/WGI in an all of era's, and think that the current iteration is awesome; DCI has brought more kids into the realm of concert/orchestral in the past 20 years than any other drumming activity...and definitely brought more kids to drumming in general....I have seen rthis in my past 30 years of being a Percussion Specialist in our school system

the only thing I don't like is how they don't wear legit uniforms anymore...that is a whole other topic of discussion for me to rant about

but yeah...it is not the audition process that is rigorous, it is the preparation leading up to it!!! And any more, if you are not a trained gymnast/dancer, you won't be considered....most of my kids have said that the marching/visual side is actually way more demanding/stressful/intimidating
Some research turned up this about the audition prep:
"You have to want it. And not just "oh that would be cool" but totally throw yourself in. Practice your ass off, you'll have to make sacrifices. You may be good at your high school but you will get to camp and see that you're just average. So be the one at the camp that stands out. Think "how would a cavalier act".

Being in a drum corps is about pushing past your limits as a player and individual, learning how to become one with your team and settling for nothing less than perfection. In your high school band, become a role model through people watching you. Being a leader isn't being bossy, it's always doing the right thing. Practice during breaks, after or before rehearsal. Ask your instructor what you can do to improve and actually work on what they say. Being great isn't just being great on the field. Be helpful after and before rehearsal, help your front ensemble members who need help. LIVE the life and you will reach the level you want. Be honest with yourself, aim high and bring everyone else up with you in the process."


My early drum teacher was really big into the Blue Devils in high school. Had their videos & studied their rhythms like a hawk. Never tried out, but he did use their audition structure as a way to teach and it worked well for him.

I'm sure that this attitude works well for most things in life too.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I’m pretty sure I could have gotten into Carolina Crown, but I wanted to play in the Phantom Regiment. Those folks looked like they were headed to war when they hit the field.

But just like life does, I had to work a real job every summer. I’ve worked every summer since I was 14 years old, and my high school and college years were no different.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Some research turned up this about the audition prep:
"You have to want it. And not just "oh that would be cool" but totally throw yourself in. Practice your ass off, you'll have to make sacrifices. You may be good at your high school but you will get to camp and see that you're just average. So be the one at the camp that stands out. Think "how would a cavalier act".

Being in a drum corps is about pushing past your limits as a player and individual, learning how to become one with your team and settling for nothing less than perfection. In your high school band, become a role model through people watching you. Being a leader isn't being bossy, it's always doing the right thing. Practice during breaks, after or before rehearsal. Ask your instructor what you can do to improve and actually work on what they say. Being great isn't just being great on the field. Be helpful after and before rehearsal, help your front ensemble members who need help. LIVE the life and you will reach the level you want. Be honest with yourself, aim high and bring everyone else up with you in the process."


My early drum teacher was really big into the Blue Devils in high school. Had their videos & studied their rhythms like a hawk. Never tried out, but he did use their audition structure as a way to teach and it worked well for him.

I'm sure that this attitude works well for most things in life too.
I’m pretty sure I could have gotten into Carolina Crown, but I wanted to play in the Phantom Regiment. Those folks looked like they were headed to war when they hit the field.

But just like life does, I had to work a real job every summer. I’ve worked every summer since I was 14 years old, and my high school and college years were no different.

Phantom Regiment is my most favorite corps....they are Knee Deep In Bad Ass...and especially were back in the 70's 80's and 90's...

I tried out for Phantom for the summer of 1989 on quads...got 2 camps in and then got cut., which was 2 more camps than I ever thought I would. I got to get yelled at by Marty Hurley, who was/is one of my teaching idols. I have modeled many aspects of my program after him, and Dr. John Wooten's approach to running a line. As mentioned before in other posts, have also modeled my teaching career after Thom Hannum, Dennis DeLucia, Tom Aungst and Mike McIntosh.

And it was true even back then...you had to LIVE the world of drum corps in order to make it all the way. I always tell my kids it is like the NHL of marching band...you don't just casualy decide to do drum corps...epecially not anymore. There are waaayyyy less corps and waaaayyyy more bodies trying out.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
Blue Devils were my favorite due to the mostly Latin jazz material- my HS band director modeled our program after them- but PR looked like the most no-nonsense corps. I haven't kept up with it in a long time, but I do still enjoy it.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
One of my former drum students went on to make the DCI snare line for the Madison Scouts! Then after the DCI season was over he turned around and got a spot on the Rhythm X snare line. I taught him the fundamentals and mentored him a lot in the beginning, and he ran with it. He was a hard worker. That was a very proud moment for sure, haha.

The audition process is very rigorous and competitive. Generally, there are dozens of drummers auditioning for a few spots on the line. They're given a multitude of "simple" exercises to build uniformity of technique. That's a big part of having a cohesive drumline, everyone has to have identical technique which is a challenge in and of itself.

They're also given a ton of exercises that are designed to improve timing, speed, endurance, dynamics, stick heights, diddle cleanliness, you name it.

Here's a typical triplet exercise that all the corps use. It's more of a building block for more difficult exercises that come after.

9EBcTlt.png


A much more difficult one that's par for the course in most DCI lines

JNNzn96.png


There are parts for the bass line and tenors as well, but you get the idea.

As if the many exercises, and entire show music they have to learn wasn't enough, they also learn drum cadences and drum pieces that aren't used in the show. They're basically used as warmups and a way to keep the line sharp. A few famous ones are The Ditty (this was one of the first pieces I taught my drum student), and Electric Wheelchair and Double Beat.

One interesting tidbit is that many exercises are designed to be difficult to play on "autopilot"...meaning they aren't just 4/4 and following an easy pattern. This is to force the drumline to stay focused and not daydream. It takes a lot of mental energy to play in these drumlines.

And don't get me started on the book music. The book being the actual "show music". It's convoluted with details that can take weeks to learn. All the sticking has to be perfect, along with identical stick heights and dynamics. Lots of crazy rhythms you won't find anywhere else too, because DCI is always looking for a way to raise the difficulty to stay competitive.

Here's an example of the crazy music they gotta learn...


EDIT: So I just googled my former student, and he seems to have added even more to his resume since then. ?

qatZJxu.png
Thanks for posting these, but what's going on with Measure 11 in the BD Triplet Diddle? There are way too many notes for 12/8. Looks more like 15/8.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Thanks for posting these, but what's going on with Measure 11 in the BD Triplet Diddle? There are way too many notes for 12/8. Looks more like 15/8.

yeah...that might be a typo...esp given the ca[abilities music input software of the time...thsat eraly version of Finale sometimes did not catch things like this automatically...

it also might be a 6 tuplet over the last dotted quarter beat in the measure
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I can’t roll my eyes hard enough at what DCI has become. Well, specifically, the snare lines. Everything else has gotten better. The snare lines are just cartoonish. Everything good about them is gone, gone, gone.

Why do you say this? I've not watched any sort of DCI in 20 years or so.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
I never marched DCI, mainly because at the age where I would have qualified I just wasn't interested (and still don't regret my choice), but have been getting renewed interest in possibly DCA or something similar.

And contrary to popular belief, I really like modern Corps. Yeah, its less steeped in military tradition (the uniforms, less rigid marching) but imo there's nothing wrong with that, and I kinda like the more choreographed shows and visuals these days.

Santa Clara was always the one I liked the best. My brother marched horn in Oregon Crusaders from 03-05, they won Div III championships in 04, which was really cool.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Biggest difference between modern DCI and old school is the cost to march.
When I was with Finleyville ,expenses were covered by bake sales,raffles and various other entrepreneurial endeavors.
Now it's like $5k to march up front.
Also the gun for hire concept of members no longer being in the same geographic region as the corps.
I remember a story about Star of Indiana basically recruiting the percussion pit of WVU and using them to march with one summer.
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
Phantom Regiment is my most favorite corps....they are Knee Deep In Bad Ass...and especially were back in the 70's 80's and 90's...

I tried out for Phantom for the summer of 1989 on quads...got 2 camps in and then got cut., which was 2 more camps than I ever thought I would. I got to get yelled at by Marty Hurley, who was/is one of my teaching idols. I have modeled many aspects of my program after him, and Dr. John Wooten's approach to running a line. As mentioned before in other posts, have also modeled my teaching career after Thom Hannum, Dennis DeLucia, Tom Aungst and Mike McIntosh.

And it was true even back then...you had to LIVE the world of drum corps in order to make it all the way. I always tell my kids it is like the NHL of marching band...you don't just casualy decide to do drum corps...epecially not anymore. There are waaayyyy less corps and waaaayyyy more bodies trying out.
HellYeah, man!!
I found it a great life accomplishment for my 2 years in military school Drum Corps. I was only 13 at the time of my first year & scared to death. But I'd be at every rehearsal learning the songs they played. Then when audition time came, I was prepared. Made tenor on year one, then lead snare the second.
It's just one of those memories you're proud to recall.

I've used this method for drumming today too. Be prepared for the show & even more if you're doing studio time. Live the instrument & make it the thing that keeps you happy & busy.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
The
Why do you say this? I've not watched any sort of DCI in 20 years or so.

Kevlar just isn’t very good for your hands, unless you’re paying close attention. I’ve not seen many former Kevlar kids who can get a good sound out of a timpani when playing loud, and the risk of RSI is many times higher on these super-cranked heads.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
The


Kevlar just isn’t very good for your hands, unless you’re paying close attention. I’ve not seen many former Kevlar kids who can get a good sound out of a timpani when playing loud, and the risk of RSI is many times higher on these super-cranked heads.

but Kevlar is not the main form of drumhead anymore...at least not the Kevlarr weave of the early 90's...most everyone is using an Aramid fiber, (Aramid is mostly used in sail boat sails) in a different weave, which gives it more flex. You can still buy the Falams K Kevlar head, but at least from what I have seen, only true fife and drum corps drums still use this head, and it's equivalents.

The Remo Black Max and Evans Hybrids are the most widely used. Both heads are pretty flexible - not like mylar - but way more that actual Kevlar...

and as Pushpull mentioned, the old heads were ruining peoples hands because people were still applying old school technique - that of really muscling through the mylar heads to get them to project. Now, after 30 years of experience with the newer materials, new technique definitions are fixing that problem...

you don't have to play through the head in the same way, and we interact with the rebound much differently now...
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Yeah even nearly 20 years ago we were using Black Maxes, which aren't kevlar but we were under the impression at the time that they were. I think this whole kevlar 'myth' was overblown for some reason, but from my research it was really only a thing in the late 80s and early 90s, but there are many DCI-detractors (such as in this thread) who still think that kevlar is the de facto standard, when it really hasn't been for decade(s).
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
but Kevlar is not the main form of drumhead anymore...at least not the Kevlarr weave of the early 90's...most everyone is using an Aramid fiber, (Aramid is mostly used in sail boat sails) in a different weave, which gives it more flex. You can still buy the Falams K Kevlar head, but at least from what I have seen, only true fife and drum corps drums still use this head, and it's equivalents.

The Remo Black Max and Evans Hybrids are the most widely used. Both heads are pretty flexible - not like mylar - but way more that actual Kevlar...

and as Pushpull mentioned, the old heads were ruining peoples hands because people were still applying old school technique - that of really muscling through the mylar heads to get them to project. Now, after 30 years of experience with the newer materials, new technique definitions are fixing that problem...

you don't have to play through the head in the same way, and we interact with the rebound much differently now...

But do non-percussionist band directors know how to teach technique so kids aren’t getting hurt on these heads? And it’s not just about damage—it’s very easy to lose the ability to get a good sound out of a large timpani, low marimba bar, etc. when playing loudly. These super-tight heads can really screw up your technique. And don’t even get me started on playing pianissimo snare drum rolls on a concert snare. The super-tight heads absolutely ruin your hands for that....unless you’re hyper-careful about not letting it happen.
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
I've known a few rock drummers who used kevlar heads on their main snares (Tim Alexander of Primus comes to mind).
Granted, it's not drum corps tight, but tight enough to make a sound you just don't get from mylar.

I agree though...it's not good at the tension drumline's use.
 
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