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Joe's Work Log
First-time Drum Tech
Hello marching community friends!
This summer and fall I am going to be the instructor for a local high school's drum line. It's a decent sized school, and our line is going to consist of about 20-25 people as a whole. I'll be running the battery side of things (16 with cymbals, 11 without; our cymbals will only be marching parades).
I'm very excited and looking forward to it all, however I wanted to ask for some advice/ideas/tips on ways to make sure I'm as effective from the start as I can be.
I'm open to any and all suggestions! Since I myself have been in one line or another for 6 years now, I have some ideas, but again I'm very interested in thoughts from other people with more/different experiences.
What exercises do I need, what should I not waste my time on?
Are there certain PT things that are better for percussionists to do since they're carrying lots of weight so early on in their growth?
What are some ways to make sure rehearsals run effectively and efficiently?
How often do breaks need to be had during a full day of work (such as for preseason camps)?
And other such things! Thanks in advance for any and all advice! It is much appreciated!
-Keep things positive. If they make a mistake, tell them what to do to fix it (count rhythm, watch stick height, etc.) and keep it simple. If they look confused, then elaborate.
-Breaks will mainly depend on the director during band camp and full-band time. Keep a similar schedule. I like to give a fish-and-go and then a longer break. At least two breaks every 45-60 minutes of not sooner depending on heat. Check the school policy on how hot is too hot to be outside.
-Push ups, stone walls, calf raises, sit ups, mountain climbers are all good. Anything to strengthen the core. And do the exercises with them. Let them give suggestions for exercises as well.
-Be honest but not too open. You're there to help them get better, not be their friend.
- The last point Jennifer mentioned is the biggest trap I fell into my first time teching (didn't help it was at the high school I graduated from so I knew a lot of the kids). Be friendly but keep the line of you being an instructor pretty clear. You're not there to be their friend. You're there to help them improve as musicians. But don't be mean, short and informative statements on what they did but how they can do it better.
- In terms of exercises, 8 on a hand, some kind of accent exercise, some kind of 16th/triplet based roll exercise, something for timing, and a paradiddle exercise of some sort would be good to start with. You wanna cover all the fundamental bases but if you have show much, try tying in some of what they'll actually be playing as well. Don't use too much though, make sure they're to the point and thorough. Here's a GREAT resource if you don't have a packet together yet.
- I echo what Jennifer says about exercises.
- I'd say a short break every half our and a longer one at every hour, that's what I do. Depends too on if it's sectional/music rehearsals or if you're outside with the drums on. What is necessary but not too often.
- Make sure going outside isn't the first time they put the drum on, but don't wear them out either.
Just have fun, teaching can be incredibly rewarding and exciting for you and the kids.
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