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New to D-line instructing. Any Tips?

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  • New to D-line instructing. Any Tips?

    In a week from tomorrow, I will start a new job as the d-line instructor at Levelland H.S. in Texas. This will be my first time teaching an entire line and I would like some pointers from some experienced instructors on the PDF (even if you aren't experienced, that's ok. Your advice is welcome).

    Here's some info on whats going on. Most of them are pretty inexperienced and only one person has actually marched before. The others have played in the standstill drumline that the school had last year and the year before that. The bassline has not had spit parts in several years. The band just hired a new head band director and he is the one that has hired me.

    Anyway, how do I teach a bunch of inexperienced percussionists to become a much better unit than they could imagine?
    Looking to sell my 14x5.5 Ludwig "Blacrolite."

  • #2
    Rehearse with a metronome from the get-go. Pipe it through a PA so they can hear it over the drums. That way you're defining the beat instead of everyone having their own internal definition of it.

    Pad work (or sitting in a circle on the floor) will do just as well if not better than drum work for starters, learning parts, playing cleanly etc. Also saves fatigue of holding the drum (unless you have stands for the whole battery).

    Ensure that they all clearly understand how to read and count every note they play. Have them "sing" their parts. They can't play it if they don't understand it or can't articulate it with their mouth. With bass runs especially, it will help them to be fluid if they sing their notes while playing them in addition to singing the other player's notes, so you don't have a hiccup between the drums.

    Teach them to "Dut" the rests. Get them marking time as early as possible so it will quickly become second nature.

    Watch stick heights on everything, but especially the snares to make sure they stay clean.

    Have fun!

    (4 yrs HS drumline, 1yr 2nd bass, 3 yrs snare, Sr Captain)
    DW Collector's Maple Broken Glass
    60's MIJ Kit
    Formerly-owned kits
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    • #3
      Thanks! I had never thought of "singing" the parts before. I think we'll try that when we have music.
      Looking to sell my 14x5.5 Ludwig "Blacrolite."

      Comment


      • #4
        Joshvibert said it well. I was captain of my high school line for the last three years of high school. Out band director was GREAT with the winds but guard and percussion were his down fall. He did not know how to play percussion. Thus, his ability to teach it didn't extend much beyond rhythm. In that we didnt have a percussion director except his brother-in-law, who was a great percussion director, every year at drum line came, all responsibility fell to me. Something i did right and somethings i did wrong but i have learned from my mistakes.
        I did indoor percussion at another high school in my county (we were able to do this due to changes in the LGCP circuit) and they just so happened to have one of the top lines and battery in the state despite the fact that they usually marched around 50 total. In my time there i learned one of the key atributes to a great director- attitude. He was a great guy that was always happy but when he started practice by saying "today HAS to be productive- no option" we all felt it in out bones. He was great at balancing hard working with happy-go-lucky great guy.
        Aside from that the second biggest thing i could ever stress is patience. Ive been teaching personal lessons for years and patience is integral. Make sure that you do draw a line in the grey are of being persistent and just getting mentally shot on something. Sometimes, when youve been on one issue for to long you just get burnt out. Continue one and come back later and sometimes it is surprisingly easier.

        Ill leave you one two quotes from one of the best directors ive ever had-
        "Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect"
        "Its just high school marching band, were not marching corp here. Dont forget to have fun"

        And then a quote from THE John Wooton-
        "If youre not having fun, youre doing it wrong!"

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        • #5
          All of these are good tips. It is very important to instill strong fundamentals from the get go: timing, stick control, rhythmic interpretation, reading, coordination, etc. It is also even more important to not turn your head from these concepts when the show music is put in front of them. Strong fundamentals are key, and so many teachers forget about them when show music becomes the priority. If your group can't play eights in time cleanly, there is no hope in playing show beats.
          Please help me march Legacy Indoor Percussion - http://www.gofundme.com/5k2om4

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          • #6
            Being an instructor for over 40 years and have seen the changes and evolution of the activity as well as the instruments themselves I must stress to you to be successful as a drumline instructor you need to emphasis READING-RUDIMENTS- RHYTHM!

            Having a section that can read music will make your job a LOT easier. Teaching to read is not that hard,but teaching by rote can be used as well Try to ,do BOTH methods by intertwining them.

            Rudiments as we all know are the foundation of our craft. Teach the basic 26 then progress to the 40 then the sky's the limit. Rhythm us what it's all about.

            Above all make sure your line us having FUN! Don't "overwrite" your music to satisfy YOU! Your students have to PLAY it!

            Difficult music will only discourage members who may drop out .
            If you are "stuck" with a piece of music don't hesitate to ask for help from another instructor out here
            We've ALL been there!

            Good Luck in your new endeavour!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by candrummer View Post
              Being an instructor for over 40 years and have seen the changes and evolution of the activity as well as the instruments themselves I must stress to you to be successful as a drumline instructor you need to emphasis READING-RUDIMENTS- RHYTHM!

              Having a section that can read music will make your job a LOT easier. Teaching to read is not that hard,but teaching by rote can be used as well Try to ,do BOTH methods by intertwining them.

              Rudiments as we all know are the foundation of our craft. Teach the basic 26 then progress to the 40 then the sky's the limit. Rhythm us what it's all about.

              Above all make sure your line us having FUN! Don't "overwrite" your music to satisfy YOU! Your students have to PLAY it!

              Difficult music will only discourage members who may drop out .
              If you are "stuck" with a piece of music don't hesitate to ask for help from another instructor out here
              We've ALL been there!

              Good Luck in your new endeavour!
              Well said!
              Please help me march Legacy Indoor Percussion - http://www.gofundme.com/5k2om4

              Comment


              • #8
                try doing warm ups, with simple drill to get the fundamentals down pat, playing at the same time. Also you could spend time with individual sections, and if you trust the one guy who has march, try to get him to lead the group obviously, so they take him as captain as well. And a;ways use a metronome. Also practice unity within sections (A.K.A same stick height and basic fundamentals/chop outs).
                Good luck!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheDrummingKid17 View Post
                  try doing warm ups, with simple drill to get the fundamentals down pat, playing at the same time. Also you could spend time with individual sections, and if you trust the one guy who has march, try to get him to lead the group obviously, so they take him as captain as well. And a;ways use a metronome. Also practice unity within sections (A.K.A same stick height and basic fundamentals/chop outs).
                  Good luck!
                  I actually wouldn't recommend declaring section leaders. From my experience teaching and performing, the title is always really empty and mostly inflates the ego more than actually helping the kids. I have experienced this in high school, three college bands, a PIO WGI group, and a PIW WGI group.
                  Please help me march Legacy Indoor Percussion - http://www.gofundme.com/5k2om4

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I just thought it would be good for all the kids new to it to have a mentor student to talk to who might not be as intimidating, just a thought

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                    • #11
                      It's all good, all discussion is welcome. I just wanted to share my personal thoughts on the matter and see what others think.
                      Please help me march Legacy Indoor Percussion - http://www.gofundme.com/5k2om4

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