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Side / Snare Pipe Bands or Solo - if it relates to Drumming...

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:37 PM   #1
Shugdrum
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Default Any advice for a new Drum Sargeant

Hi,
I've recently been asked to be the D/S at my local pipe band, although I have no previous experience as a D/S I accepted the role. Since the festive break I've had problems getting the drum corp back into regular practice. Out of 7 sides, 3 tenors and bass, there's usually only half the sides and 1 or 2 tenors turning up. So my main question is - how do I get them to want to practice and learn new scores?
Thanks in advance for any advice anyone can offer.
Shug
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:57 PM   #2
Tartaniac
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Default Re: Any advice for a new Drum Sargeant

That's a tough one and they might be showing up for any number of reasons. did they show up before you were made DS?

Maybe they are losing interest; nothing personal.
Maybe the want to play what they know and not grow.
Maybe they are intimidated by the new settings.
It could be a million things.

Just keep doing what you are doing, show strong leadership, and offer interesting settings for them. It also never hurts to ask them individually why they have been unable to come.

In the first band I was in, we either showed up or we had to call in to say we would not be there (and the DS always asked why). If we failed to call in, it was noted and after that point, we were not able to play performances unless we showed.

In Wilmington PDPB, they had to show up by order of the Captain. If they did not show up the week before a scheduled gig, they did not play. (We had lots of unscheduled gigs such a funerals, etc.) Sometimes we would play a gig and skip a practice.

For every circumstance, it is different. Now I'm DS at a new place for me and one of the band members missed practice this week. My job is to call him and see what's up.

When I teach, i offer many modes including having the tune learned on YouTube so we can practice with the tune and not off in isolation. It makes an interesting connection other than just playing settings in space.

I am sure there are many DS's who are more experienced than i who can give us both some tips.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:01 PM   #3
DanC
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Default Re: Any advice for a new Drum Sargeant

I'm not a drummer, but people are people.

I've been having the same issue with some of my players, sitting down and talking to them one on one is a good way to find out what the issue is. A lot of the time it's nothing major, just a busy life. It's also the time of year when people don't want to go out after work (especially in Canada, brr).

Good luck, and congrats on the promotion.

Last edited by DanC; 01-29-2013 at 03:02 PM. Reason: thought of something else
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:07 AM   #4
Banchory Rob
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Default Re: Any advice for a new Drum Sargeant

What is your average age of drummer? I play in two bands, one I am one of the youngest at 46!, the other, I am the oldest!

The youngsters are keen and are very good at turning up, pushing for more playing time, the old lot we may not see for months!

I have found over the years, and not just with drumming, that keeping people informed, in touch and part of the group is vital in keeping intrest.

Where in Sconnie Botchland are you?
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:20 AM   #5
Shugdrum
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Default Re: Any advice for a new Drum Sargeant

Thank you for your replies.
Tartaniac, I guess I've made a few changes to the practice night and have them playing rudiments which they never used to do, working more on the basics rather than just play scores, as theres a range of ages and levels I thought this would intergrate everyone and get the older ones practicing and boost the confidence of the younger ones to be playing with the corp.
There may be some intimidation of new settings and scores, but I blame the Pipe Major, as at the AGM I became D/S he announced that the band will learn and play a new set of Hornpipes, a MSR and a Medley so I've had to get new scores. I told the PM the corp weren't ready for all that as I wanted to spend winter practices introducing more rudiment work, also most of the corp can't read music so I'm not able to give them dots to learn at home, although I have started teaching them to read music and most are picking it up.
I've also set up a private YouTube account and given them all the login details. I've uploaded all the scores individually into there specific playlists. I've recorded the scores as a whole and part by part and have approached the PM about recording the scores along with the tune, so the know what they're playing to.
I guess most of them are busy and have the New Year winter blues and not keen on leaving the fireside to come to a cold practice hall, but it's not long until the competition season starts so I'd rather do the hard work now and be prepared and ready to hit the start line with a confident corp.
Through text, email and facebook they are all keen but not all turning up. I'll take your advice, DanC and speak to them one to one.
We are based in Fort William Banchory Rob.
Thanks again
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Any advice for a new Drum Sargeant

Teach them something new every week. I am always digging into Reid Maxwell's No Short Cuts and finding something challenging to throw at them. Also, on your written scores, use the drum corps to make subtle changes. You miss practice, you are missing learning new tricks and missing new music. Make it important to be there. The there is always cutting time when it's competition season.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:03 PM   #7
Shugdrum
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Default Re: Any advice for a new Drum Sargeant

Thanks Goat Skin,
I'll have a look for Reid Maxwell's book. I was giving out a new rudiment each week. I made a few changes to our competition set and added in more unison parts, as the newer and younger members of the corp were learning it last season, so it keeps them on it and means the competition players from last season have new parts to learn too. I don't like the thought of having to cut anyone but as we've got 7 players but only 5 side drums I'll have to cut at least two. I've told them this hoping it would make them practice to put them in the best position to be on the start line, but so far that hasn't worked. Hopefully it will nearer competition time.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Any advice for a new Drum Sargeant

Buy more drums.
Everybody needs a drum.
That's incentive for me.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Any advice for a new Drum Sargeant

Congratulations on your promotion. When looking over all the replies, I see words of wisdom in each one of them. Is the attendance consistent with what it was before you became in charge, and each time, is it the same individuals. I found that being a teacher, is really about being able to put the student in the position of learning. Encourage regular input to bring out confidence which can make for a great time to spring a question and get an honest answer. Chances are, not everyone will agree you should be the Drum Sergeant, but more importantly, is the fact you win and keep the majority for the right reasons.
I found that most of the time, the music was the easy part, but for people on the other hand, I needed a manual. Good Luck!
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:29 AM   #10
Shugdrum
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Default Re: Any advice for a new Drum Sargeant

Hi Tartaniac, unfortunately the band haven't got the funds to buy more drums but I've since found out that there are some old drums, which I'll collect later to clean up and tune up.
Thanks nedsdag, according to other drum corp members and the PM, the attendance is consistent with how it was before I became DS and it is usually the same ones who aren't showing up.
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