Here is a list of 5 items every marching drummer should have with them during a group rehearsal:
- Printed music/dot sheets and a pencil. Often directors and instructors will ask us to make small adjustments to music or routines during rehearsal. It is always best to physically mark these things down on printed music/dot sheets, so that every time we return to the sheets for a review, we are reminded of these changes. Even in this digital age, there is still no substitute for good ole pencil and paper! It can also be very annoying when a player who isn’t familiar enough with the music doesn’t even have a copy to look at in rehearsal, don’t be THAT guy!
- A drum key. Just as the band/corps tunes and adjusts their sound, so should we. Drummers often push tuning aside and disregard because it can become a large chore at times. But if you keep a drum key with you all the time and make small adjustments as you go, you can save your line the trouble of those huge tuning sessions that sometimes take hours. High tension is best for marching. Put it in your pocket or attach it to you stick bag, you’ll be happy that you did.
- Ear plugs. Anyone spending lots of time around drumlines or large and powerful music ensembles should invest in earplugs. They protect your ear drums from unnecessary wear & tear and create slimmer odds that you will need a hearing aid later in life. You can order plugs that reduce volume, but don’t cut frequency from Etymotic. Regular ear plugs are also good when you want to cut certain frequencies. The moments during rehearsal when the resonance becomes a bit too much to listen to and you just want to focus on rhythms, good old fashioned foam ear plugs will do the trick. You can purchase a pack to last you all season for around $5 at any chain drug store.
- Water. Even inside and out of the sun, we tend to run our bodies ragged at times. Being that you are made up mostly of water, it is the best thing for you. Common problems found during band rehearsals; heat exhaustion, nausea, asthma, dehydration, and general fatigue. Symptoms of all these conditions can be eased by simply drinking water. Having a bottle waiting on the sideline won’t hurt.
- A positive attitude. There is nothing more frustrating to fellow students or instructors than a kid with a consistently terrible attitude. They come in many forms; the complainer, the know-it-all, the jokester that always goes too far. All of these kids hinder the learning experience for others, which is really bad considering that you are all there to learn. When going into rehearsal, tell yourself these few simple tings, “I am here to learn and get better. Rehearsal is not the time or place to voice my personal opinions and comments. I will show others the respect I wish to have.” If everyone can remember these, your rehearsal will go much smoother.
So the next time you are getting ready for a group rehearsal, check this list and make sure you are prepared. A prepared student is a successful student! Expect nothing less than success for yourself.