The key to nailing your next drill show could be honing in on your percussion section. As the rhythmic backbone of your marching band, their strength (or lack thereof) can make or break your routine. Here's how you can start working on your drummers by maximizing their rehearsal efficiency and get them to play their best:
1. Use visual cues
Your best field show starts with a better rehearsal. On your end, you should be pre-planning every minute of rehearsal time. To help your drum line understand their choreography and cues, use visual markers. As Terry Williams suggests for BandDirectors.com, you can use colorful poker chips or paint the lids of mason jars to lay visible markers on the field or ground, and help your percussion section remember their choreography better.
2. Stay organized
The problem with your percussionists could be the chaos in the band or storage room. Does it take them a long time to locate their drums, cymbals or other percussion equipment? Start implementing a system so your musicians will know where to find and replace all their equipment at the beginning and end of the day. This will shorten the time they need to get ready and add time on the field, rehearsing or preparing themselves for the show.
3. Don't waste the winter
Winter isn't known for being a popular time for marching bands, but that doesn't mean you have to let all those months go to waste. You can start an indoor percussion ensemble or keep your drummers rehearsing even in the winter. Letting them fall out of a routine could mean a slower, more difficult summer getting them back in shape for marching band season.
4. Present new challenges
Maybe your musicians are a little rowdy or don't take their role in the marching band very seriously. As a band director, you can remind them of the importance of their roles and set very clear expectations for each part they play. Your percussion section could be all the more motivated if they are aware of your goals and the responsibility they have to fulfill them.