Drumline, not doing it.. Is that bad?

bamdrummer

Senior Member
Drum line and/or some other kind of school sanctioned music program along with private lessons will get you good in a hurry. I've been drumming for 4 years now and i started taking lessons immediately after I began drumming. I can't even begin to describe what an amazing thing it is to be able to go to someone and just ask questions, in person, and have someone with a wealth of knowledge on the subject of drumming give you their opinion. Not to mention the fact that without lessons, i would not have anywhere near the technique I have now, and i definitely wouldn't have been exposed to as many great drummers as I have been. I owe my drum teacher for showing me at least nine of my top ten favorite drummers.

As for school band, I've played in my school's concert and jazz bands since before I played drums (I originally played trombone, but it wasn't for me.) My school is outrageously small, about 400 people from preschool through 12th grade, and the band program is proportional. This year the high school concert band had just over 30 members in its entirety, and next year we may be looking at 18 members in the worst case scenario. The jazz band is made up entirely of people from the concert band, so its even smaller. But because of this size, each individual person gets a lot of personal attention from our amazing band director.

All im saying is that if you have an opportunity to take on a challenge and push yourself, do it. When the band director says that in order to have time to do jazz band, we're going to have to show up at 7 in the morning 3 days a week before school, no one even gives it a second thought. When my school didn't have a drum line, I helped start one thanks to the contributions of my drum teacher and my director. When we only had three percussionists in the band and we played songs with six or seven parts, a friend and I spent a few afternoons building some apparatuses out of spare hardware to allow us to play every part necessary, even if we needed to use our feet for half of them. And when our band director tells me and three friends that a few days before school started, the school board wanted a jazz quartet to play at the unveiling of the new athletic complex, guess which for friends spent the last few nights of our summer staying up at someone's house to learn twenty jazz combo pieces? And as much as I'd like to think My friends and I are special for doing this, its not in any way uncommon for kids in high school and college bands to have to do the same thing. Every musician everywhere deals with ridiculous challenges every day and the successful ones are the people who learn how to deal with them and roll with punches.

And you know what, it pays off. Our tiny school band took grand champion at a tri-state competition a few weeks ago, one of the jazz quartet members and I won 1st in state on our respective instruments (he's a jazz guitarist) and got to play in the all-state jazz band, my rock band is able to compete with professional bands in the area twice our age, and its because all of our members are in our school's concert and jazz band.

Sorry for the long post, but the point I'm trying to get across is that If you have the amazing opportunity to play snare in your school's drum line, to really challenge yourself and advance your playing to another level in one of the most efficient ways possible, I think you would be doing yourself a great injustice if you didn't at least try it. Your band director obviously sees potential in you, and if there's one thing i've learned from band, its that band directors deserve a lot of respect for what they do, so don't just shrug off his belief in you like it doesn't mean something, really think about it.

This site is an amazing resource and it truly is a great gift from whatever god there is that this site remains free of charge to use, but you can't learn everything from this forum, you've got to go out and do it.

Live long and play music my friend.
 
but you can't learn everything from this forum, you've got to go out and do it.
Again, amen. I took a gap year from uni to get my shit together and get get some experience. I've always wanted to be a teacher, so I volunteer teaching music at a studio, about 20-30 hours a week. I could easily have sat and though about teaching, or posting here about doing it in the future, but no, I put on some smart trousers and knocked on some doors and landed this sweet placement thats changed my life.

I would jump through firery hoops and walk over broken glass to have had the opportunity to be in a drumline. Why arnt you?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Many in other countries have no idea how great we Americans have it with those rather amazing band programs where all year long a quarter of a million school bands are doing things in every genre and discipline that other places can only dream of...and it's mostly or entirely free of charge.
A slight digression, given that I think the message being passed on by DW members is fairly clear in the same way as the Sahara is fairly hot ...

Matt, do you see much difference is style and approach between US and non-US drummers through drumline influence?

No doubt, there are a LOT of technically strong American drummers but I'm wondering if you feel the drumline in the US has influenced US drummers stylistically. Or do most players totally shrug it off and walk away with improved hand technique?
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Matt, do you see much difference is style and approach between US and non-US drummers through drumline influence?

No doubt, there are a LOT of technically strong American drummers but I'm wondering if you feel the drumline in the US has influenced US drummers stylistically. Or do most players totally shrug it off and walk away with improved hand technique?
No Polly I don't think in any way that drum set playing in the US (and Canada) has been influenced stylistically by marching band. I think they're apples and oranges. Most walk away from it (with the exception of the corps heads who most often become drumline instructors and/or band directors) with the improved technique that they use for whatever they desire.

The other issue are the sheer numbers. In the USA there are probably a couple of million drummers good enough to play a solid pay gig, while countless thousands have the tech skills to attempt do just about anything. There is no other country even close to that. And the local school band program is the only reason for that.

Here in Romania there aren't enough horn players in the whole country to put together the marching band I had in my little town. Then ten miles down the road there was another band just about the same size doing the same thing and on and on and on.

Yes there are fantastic first team musicians in just about every country, while in western Europe and Canada the bench is very deep. But in America there are thousands of first teams...and the whole thing is intensely competitive. That's why there are many, many more great drummers in The States than any other place. And if you went through the school program you got out with some chops...while in many cases those same guys complaining about their inability to do things on a kit or the very ones who turned their back on the opportunity.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Thanks Matt, I was just curious about it. I'm amazed at the number of quality players in the US. It must be incredibly hard for a player to stand out in a crowd like that.

Even though I'm waaay not into the whole militaristic thing it's cool to be in a country with such a strong musical culture.

In Oz, we simply don't have one, apart from Aboriginal music and that's obviously very specialised (only about 2% of the population has indigenous heritage). So here it's all sport, sport and more sport.

I think that if a player doesn't want to go through the boring and difficult stuff to be technically strong then the only valid stance is to just enjoy what you do and be an appreciative spectator of great players. No point being all torn up about it.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Polly, you talk a lot about the militaristic thing..and yeah it's certainly there. But with all that tension there must be a proportionate release.

That's why all those very social stories and stereotypes you hear about band camp...

...are 100% true.

There is no other opportunity like it in the known universe...and those opportunities apply to everyone. If I were 14 like the OP with years of this ahead of me, I would certainly be factoring all that in there too. Dude get involved with the fall line then talk to me again about stress when band camp is over. lol
 

Pimento

Senior Member
i dunno Pol, i think the issue there is the kid wants to be a great drummer by osmosis, not by hard work.

Its like the Joey posts before this, its one thing to talk on a forum, its another to get out there and put yourself out there to get better and really get into all the good opportunities drumming would offer.

I was part of a small music program in high school, all 4 years, i took away a good sense of timing, and a little bit of theory, but we didnt really have the resources to do anything special, we watched a lot of movies. When we went to band camps, i worked my ass off to learn what the experienced teachers had to offer (the teachers for music in my school were all english/science teachers that took on the class just to keep it alive).

So it is frustrating when you come on and read about someone whining about opportunity you wish you had, and expecting to wake up and be a super drummer.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Yup Matt, military-related activities are not for everyone and another path may suit better. For instance, I'm an Excel whiz. I'm not exaggerating when I say that people at work watch me use the application like we'd watch Steve Gadd on drums :)

Some managers want to palm work off on me because they don't like doing it and they know I'll get work done in 10 minutes that would take them half a day to do ... they complain that they aren't comfortable with that kind of thing.

I could kick 'em around for not trying hard enough but, if I have the time I cut them some slack because complex spreadsheeting really isn't for everyone (and they'll owe me one :). Same with the military trip ... some people don't handle it ... and I dated a navy guy for half a year so I know how much the lads like to cut loose in their downtime.

I'm speaking generally here for others who may be reading because Ex Nihilo doesn't seem uncomfortable with militarism (correct me if I'm wrong, EN), just with putting stick to pad/drum/pillow/leg/family dog/any surface as often as possible, which is what's mainly needed to improve.

Having said that, there's something to be said for being forced to do stuff. I am only allowed to drink fluids today and was in the city doing an errand when I walked past cafes with all manner of enticing food smells ... at lunchtime ... and I can say for sure that I wouldn't have been able to resist if I had any kind of choice. There is no way I could have mustered the internal discipline without an absolute imperative!
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Yup Matt, military-related activities are not for everyone and another path may suit better. one :).I'm speaking generally here for others who may be reading because Ex Nihilo doesn't seem uncomfortable with militarism (correct me if I'm wrong, EN), just with putting stick to pad/drum/pillow/leg/family dog/any surface as often as possible, which is what's mainly needed to improve.
Polly I'm not sure I made myself clear in that last post. The other side of that militarism is the band camp vibe. For those not in the know...the band camp descriptions and ongoing social activities chronicled in the American Pie movies are entirely true. Sweet innocent blonde girls wearing shorts cut off to their necks arrive at the lake looking for their first truly momentous adventure. I'm not talking about been around the block cheerleaders. I'm talking nice girls. By the time camp is over a complete transformation has taken place and that same person becomes your steady girl a year minimum...that is until the summer music camp at the university affords you the opportunity for something brand new. See, that's the cool little secret of the American school band life. The athletes call the band crowd a bunch of geeks, while the band crowd is really just laughing at the jocks, because they're actually doing what those guys are lying about. And right next to that drumline is the pit...full of mallet players who are almost entirely made up of these very girls...and you're with them around the clock regardless of how cool you are in the bigger scheme of things. Seriously, it's very hard to lose here.

Again if was 14 year old El Nihilo I would be casting aside the whining just enough to see the bigger picture ;)
 

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
Even though I'm waaay not into the whole militaristic thing it's cool to be in a country with such a strong musical culture.
Polly, you talk a lot about the militaristic thing..and yeah it's certainly there. But with all that tension there must be a proportionate release.

That's why all those very social stories and stereotypes you hear about band camp...

...are 100% true.
Yup Matt, military-related activities are not for everyone and another path may suit better...
Polly I'm not sure I made myself clear in that last post. The other side of that militarism is the band camp vibe.
Militarism is what most band members and directors call 'proffesionalism'.

Sure, marching bands started out as specialized bodies in the United States military, and draw a lot of their operating style from that history. However, it doesn't consume their existence. My band can have fun. We can enjoy ourselves plenty, during drill sessions in the middle of an August day (which in southern Maryland is just terrible) or off the field during lunch break. We joke around, we poke fun at our director, he feeds us absolutely ridiculous stuff to take the stress off of our bodies- both metaphorically and literally, seeing as I have to carry an extra fifty pounds on my shoulders.

If you want militarism, save up the money and fly to the US to see the DCI Finals this year.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
lol Matt. Okay, a fun scene for the boys, at least boys of a certain style. Encouraging that mallet-wielding woman are popular ... my next band posting here will include a track where I use mallets :)

Seriously, most of the musos guys I've played with wouldn't have thrived in a military environment as young lads. They're either too quiet and bookish, too eccentric or too lefty, and one is too gay.

Most learned to play via music classes or private teachers. Horses for courses.
 

Ex Nihilo

Senior Member
I played Marching Band as a bass drummer and I didn't hate bass drum. I hated all the practice, and Marching in general!
 
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