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 Post subject: How do you pick your drum major?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:49 pm 
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What is the process at your school to pick a drum major? Interviews? L Patterns? Conducting?

Who has the final say, the teacher, or a vote by the kids?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:12 pm 
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Middle School or High School, parade-focused or field show focused?

First step: ask who would like to try out for drum major. if only one hand goes up, it makes the process a little easier (though not necessarily a good thing). If multiple hands go up, talk about auditions. I have students complete an application that is basically a self-evaluation.

Next, teach them some commands and have them repeat them back. Can they keep a steady beat, and can they internalize it easily? Teach them briefly about the mace and have them try it. If your program does field shows, have them all conduct something for the band. The Star Spangled banner is a good one to see how they handle pickups, style, fermatas, etc.

Absolutely DO NOT let the students vote for who they want. Not only does it make the other students feel bad because it turns into a popularity contest, it rarely results in the best choice. I've been in bands and schools where this happened, the most popular kid got picked, but that kid had a very difficult time then earning the respect needed to lead the group. They have a hard time separating popularity and friendship from responsibility and this usually results in chaos and frustration.

If you want to, you can do interviews too, but if you know your kids already you already have an idea of who you think would be good, so this is just an extra step that takes time.

One thing I do (and I've only done it once since I just started but will continue to do so every year) is to make sure you do auditions and select a drum major before the school year is over so they can go to camp if they want to. I know that's the norm, but in middle schools it may not be done as often.

Finally, go with your gut. You know your kids and what they can handle and what leadership skills will be required to succeed with the students you have marching in your program.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:47 pm 
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In some cases, there will be two or more drum majors selected. One might be selected for the parade events, and the other(s) may be selected for the field show events. Some demonstrate good use of the mace and military baton, while other candidates are good with "corps" conducting style, which is suitable for the field portion of marching season--some, are good at both and express that they want to do both.

1. Like the previous poster said, ask who is interested in the position. In most cases, students will ask you before this audition process occurs. See if they are interested in parade drum majoring, and or field show drum majoring.

From that, there needs to be an application/self evaluation filled out by the candidate. Put some questions on there "What would you do if? How would you do this? etc...etc..."

2. If they have been in your program, they should already be familiar with the commands given by a drum major in any medium, and will not need teaching of the commands. I would recommend reviewing the commands though. This process will vary depending on if they are trying out for parade drum majoring and or field.

If they are interested in parade, but have no mace experience then teaching/coaching should be done. By you, the current drum major, or some formal coaching from an organization. They should be able to demonstrate fundamentals on the mace/baton at the time of the audition--nothing too flashy (they have all summer to work on that).

3. Depending on what portion they are trying out for, they need to be able to demonstrate timing in both conducting/pulse, and how they give commands. They need to be commanding and show that they are not timid, and are ready to go! They should demonstrate these techniques with one of the ensembles, and should probably demonstrate a march style piece, and one field show styled piece (depending on what portion they are trying out for)--usually you can have them conduct the pieces you did for the fall season (both parade and field).

4. There should be an interview process of some sort. I think you should select members of the graduating senior class, instructional staff and a few faculty members (preferably ones who are familiar with the band program) to be involved in this interview. Your drum major will be working along side with these people as well, so it is important that they get some time to talk with such people in this setting.

When I have been involved in picking drum majors, we have gone as far as getting directors from other local programs to come in and be part of the interview as well. This interview is meant to be a place where the drum major can give some insights on why they are trying out, and for those doing the interview to ask questions related to leadership and techniques of being a drum major (what do you do if the drumline is phasing? OR What do you do if the clarinet section leader is...? --those types of questions)

5. I believe the students should be able to give their opinions and thoughts on the drum major candidates. Afterall, this is their program, and they are the ones who have to be under whoever is selected. In my judging of drum major auditions, the students choice has usually been the panels choice, or someone else close to it. If you use a panel with a variety of people, you will get a good accurate poll of each candidate. Often times, you as the director may be even more biased than the students IN the band--which is why my high school band director never voted or judged the drum major auditions (he used the method I explained above).

Again, by involving other directors in the area, senior students, other faculty, etc... you are in good hands. Now, you can veto or object anything, if you feel that a candidate definitely is not going to work out. And remember, the students vote doesnt have to be who you choose. They still should get to say how they feel each candidate would do as the leader of the band. While I agree that there are "popularity contest", it is the job of the director to let it be known how the process is going to work. This is why I think student commentary (rather than votes) is a good idea.

Give the students an "evaluation" sheet for each candidate, and allow them to comment on each candidate, giving their thoughts and insights. These are to be turned into the director of bands and be looked at closely--the panel should review through some of these as well. It helps to know where your students stand on any candidate. By keeping it confidential, instead of an open forum evaluation, students will be more likely to write how they really feel, rather than the "popularity contest" style--writing to impress their best friend who is trying out.

6. Regardless of who is selected, drum major camps should not be optional. They should all be required to attend a drum major camp, and a leadership camp--I think they are all one in the same thing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:12 pm 
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i was told to let the kids vote, cuz if they make a bad choice, at least it's not YOUR fault


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 Post subject: Re: How do you pick your drum major?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:15 pm 
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instrumental director wrote:
What is the process at your school to pick a drum major? Interviews? L Patterns? Conducting?

Who has the final say, the teacher, or a vote by the kids?


I suggest you take this question to the Directors Forum where it has been discussed and answered many times...

vore 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: How do you pick your drum major?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:41 pm 
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vore wrote:
instrumental director wrote:
What is the process at your school to pick a drum major? Interviews? L Patterns? Conducting?

Who has the final say, the teacher, or a vote by the kids?


I suggest you take this question to the Directors Forum where it has been discussed and answered many times...

vore 8-)


I figured i could get answers both from directors and students and double the responses. i just wanna know the processes different schools are using.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:03 pm 
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we have auditions
the kids help by rating what they thought about someone's preformance.
There are interviews too.
Also the senior DMs help our conductor pick who they thought did the best.
It mostly is based on preformance, and how you act.
it is not that long of a process if you already know how people are.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you pick your drum major?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 1:08 am 
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instrumental director wrote:
What is the process at your school to pick a drum major? Interviews? L Patterns? Conducting?

Who has the final say, the teacher, or a vote by the kids?



I would recommand bring in outside directors and current drum majors instructors to help with the process of running your drum majors selection.

_________________
Moreno Valley HS
*Front Ensemble/Battery Instructor* 08-09
*Drill Designer* 08
Temescal Canyon HS
*Front Ensemble Instructor* 05-08
*Marching Instructor* 05-07
Tracy Community Drumline
*Co-Director*
*Music Arranger*
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 Post subject: Re: How do you pick your drum major?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 1:14 am 
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instrumental director wrote:
What is the process at your school to pick a drum major? Interviews? L Patterns? Conducting?

Who has the final say, the teacher, or a vote by the kids?



I would recommand bring in outside directors and current drum majors instructors to help with the process of running your drum majors selection.

_________________
Moreno Valley HS
*Front Ensemble/Battery Instructor* 08-09
*Drill Designer* 08
Temescal Canyon HS
*Front Ensemble Instructor* 05-08
*Marching Instructor* 05-07
Tracy Community Drumline
*Co-Director*
*Music Arranger*
*Drill Designer*


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 Post subject: Re: How do you pick your drum major?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 1:37 am 
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instrumental director wrote:
What is the process at your school to pick a drum major? Interviews? L Patterns? Conducting?

Who has the final say, the teacher, or a vote by the kids?



I would recommand bring in outside directors and current drum majors instructors to help with the process of running your drum majors selection.

_________________
Moreno Valley HS
*Front Ensemble/Battery Instructor* 08-09
*Drill Designer* 08
Temescal Canyon HS
*Front Ensemble Instructor* 05-08
*Marching Instructor* 05-07
Tracy Community Drumline
*Co-Director*
*Music Arranger*
*Drill Designer*


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 Post subject: Re: How do you pick your drum major?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 1:55 am 
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instrumental director wrote:
What is the process at your school to pick a drum major? Interviews? L Patterns? Conducting?

Who has the final say, the teacher, or a vote by the kids?



I would recommand bring in outside directors and current drum majors instructors to help with the process of running your drum majors selection.

_________________
Moreno Valley HS
*Front Ensemble/Battery Instructor* 08-09
*Drill Designer* 08
Temescal Canyon HS
*Front Ensemble Instructor* 05-08
*Marching Instructor* 05-07
Tracy Community Drumline
*Co-Director*
*Music Arranger*
*Drill Designer*


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 Post subject: DM process
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 7:23 pm 
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At American we have 2 days of auditions. First students must have a GPA of 2.0 or greater. Then the students write a essay/letter to the band stating why they want to be Drum Major/ADM and what they will do to better the band. This letter is posted up for the band to read on their own time. Then the candidates will conduct the band members who show up after school, doing the Star Spangled Banner and a song the director assigns. The candidates must fix problems listen to the band and communicate clearly. The band then sees how they would be as a leader. Then we go outside and each candidate has a prepared drill of about 40 cts to teach a group of kids. Then each group shows the band what they learned. The candidates finally demonstrate a flourish, salute and halting the band.
The second day involves interviewing of each person running by the band. Then the band votes for who they feel qualifys. This vote is counted by the band director, and myself. The band has always chosen good leaders this way and we only had one mishap when a DM ended up not taking advice from the director and walking out of rehearsal the day before a competition because she thought she was right. She never showed for the competition and the ADM took over.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:00 am 
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at north hollywood, a high school, field-show focused band, the old drum major will inform the group that anyone who wishes to audition for drum major must write a paragraph and turn it in by a certain day (i personally suspect that the paragraph is less about the content of the paragraph and more about seeing who is actually willing to commit to doing any kind of work) the paragraphs are NOT read to the band.

tryouts consist of several questions written by the directors, along with any submitted by the students, asked to each candidate, and they get as much time as they like to respond. candidates do not get to hear the responses of the ones previous to them, but do for the prospective drum majors who answer after they do.

then, the directors have each student write two names down and collect the papers. some years, they offer no explanation for this, other years they announce that it is an informal survey, and not a vote.

the final decisions are entirely up to the directors, and they put most of their emphasis, i believe, on the ability to lead others, although being proficient at music is a plus too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:25 pm 
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'98-'99 Parade DM, Rowland HS (Yes, i was there when Rowland still did parades with Vince Banim, and I was also lucky enough to have been taught by Dr. George Gullet for my first two years)

We had two drum majors, Parade and Field. The try-outs consisted of a few things, these were all done on different days in the presence of the band and with guest judges (other band directors):

-Vocal commands of a small unit. Lead a small group of students vocally to show the range of commands you're capable of, and this includes marching commands.

-Step off. Perform a routine with a military baton in front of a small group, leading into the salute, then halting them in the end. This is to show that you can lead our band through the competition area.

-Conducting. Conduct the whole band through a song to show of your pattern and control of the group musically.

-Interview. 1 on 1 interview with the band director.

-Band vote. The band gets to vote on who they choose to be their drum major, and is only for the band director's consideration and not the band's decision. (this was tallied in private to avoid drama)


The decision would then be made by the band director, then announced at the band banquet.

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Bryan Stewart B. Millares
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Too many to list


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:38 pm 
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My school uses several steps. There is a conducting competition, where the hopefuls conduct a piece, usually the Star Spangled Banner, and in between turns, the staff asks students who aren't running their opnions about their conducting styles. Then, there is an interview with the staff where they ask you several questions. These questions range from, situational, to generic leadership questions to test your morals.

Between the time that the candidates are announced to the time the decision is made, the staff will randomly ask students their opinion, and specifically what they are looking for in a drum major. However ultimately the decision is made by all the staff members.


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