How do you pick your drum major?

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Undertaker
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Post by Undertaker » Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:09 pm

well when i was in high school the director had an interview, conducting the band and an L-pttern. and also had the kids vote. the vote would be used in case of a tie.
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Post by tooweird » Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:22 pm

our band used to have a really messed up way of picking a drum major...it was basically by three drum majors (back then we had three...which was really stupid and pointless) and the vote from the band.

basically sophomores tried out so they could be assistant dm for their junior year and the drum major for senior year.

now the process is conducting the band, in 4/4 and 2/4 in some pieces, then a simple mace routine that is basically a straightaway treated like a pass by a judging stand. then there were interviews...the panel consisted of the drum major, the assistant drum major, the director, and myself (being involved in everything band).

we basically looked at who had the most strengths...if you could keep time and conduct solid without losing your time, a good solid routine...just basic stuff, and whether you could really commit all your time into it (i.e. if you have sports that would conflict with the hustle and bustle of fall season)
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Post by seanrj » Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:50 pm

Post-it notes, a dartboard, and a blindfold...

/sarcasmOff

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Post by senza cervello » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:02 pm

seanrj wrote:Post-it notes, a dartboard, and a blindfold...

/sarcasmOff
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Re: How do you pick your drum major?

Post by twinmomma » Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:57 am

Process at my old school:

Anyone interested shows up to after school clinic. They are there to audition for ASSISTANT Drum Major, not Drum Major. They learn basics of spinning (Mace), commands, and leadership basics. This goes on for 4 days. On Friday, they perform for a panel including the graduating DM, incoming (and current assistant) DM, and Band Director. They turn in an essay (topic assigned at the beginning of the week) and endure a panel interview with questions ranging from handling unruly members to reasons for wanting to be DM.

Decision is made by the panel. Selected person becomes Assistant DM the following year (these happen at the end of the school year - usually May). They have a year of apprenticeship (sometimes two, depending on whether their DM was a Junior or Senior to start) and then become DM. So there is a constant feed of Drum Majors, none of whom go into a marching season completely without experience.

Most auditioning are Sophomores auditioning to be assistant DM for their Junior year, then DM their Sr. Sometimes a Freshman wows them, and ends up DM for two years. But it always means that the Drum Major is either a Junior or a Senior, it gives the assistant a year to practice, and gives the Drum Major a back up if he/she becomes too ill to perform.
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Re: How do you pick your drum major?

Post by gimpet19 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:55 pm

at our school we have whats called a Jr. Staff

the student come to a meeting and decide what to audition for
if they want to be a DM, SL, Pit or Drum captain they conduct the wind ensemble on the alla ma mater (sp?) (an easy enough tune)
then all the students even the people auditioning for say libarian go to an after school audition
they play about a min. long tune of their choice then go into an interview for about 4 morn min. so each person only takes about 5 min.
in the end based on the audition interview and what the director has seen in the season te director ans assistant director pick the Jr. Staff

we have a saction leader for each section and sometines two for larger sections, tow or three drum majors, one or two pit captains
and two drum captains we also have two of each a libarinan (who organizes and keeps the music library), historian (who take pictures and video), and newspaper editors (who produce the band newspaper to be read on the bus to events)

a positon on the JR. Staff is respected and well sought after so there is always plenty who sign up to audition.
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Re: How do you pick your drum major?

Post by DonaldUrgasan » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:52 am

In my own opinion I wouldn't let the students vote for the drum major. As kids, they'll most likely pick the most affable candidate. It isn't a popularity contest. It is a matter of who do YOU trust to lead the band.

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Re: How do you pick your drum major?

Post by bigcity » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:13 pm

When I was selected back in the day, the process at my school was this:

1) An "L" pattern and field conducting competition that was judged by current USA judges at the time. No less than 2, but no more than 4.

2) A phrasal and harmonic analysis of Chester Overture for band to show the level of musicianship each candidate had.

3) Conduct our Wind Ensemble playing Chester Overture with baton. Stick technique was quite important with my director. He wanted to know that if a DM was chosen, we could help out musically by understanding the score, reading it, and being able to identify what instruments were key at what points in the show.(beats trusting any drum line.)

4) Interview in front of panel consisting of director/principal/asst. principals/football coach/athletic director

5) a solo performance in front of the band to show musicianship on the applicants instrument.


I agree that a band vote should not be used. The choice, I believe, is solely that of the director. As long as the director stands behind the DM, then the band will follow suit.


just my two cents...

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Re: How do you pick your drum major?

Post by chu082011 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:46 am

bigcity wrote:When I was selected back in the day, the process at my school was this:

1) An "L" pattern and field conducting competition that was judged by current USA judges at the time. No less than 2, but no more than 4.

2) A phrasal and harmonic analysis of Chester Overture for band to show the level of musicianship each candidate had.

3) Conduct our Wind Ensemble playing Chester Overture with baton. Stick technique was quite important with my director. He wanted to know that if a DM was chosen, we could help out musically by understanding the score, reading it, and being able to identify what instruments were key at what points in the show.(beats trusting any drum line.)

4) Interview in front of panel consisting of director/principal/asst. principals/football coach/athletic director

5) a solo performance in front of the band to show musicianship on the applicants instrument.


I agree that a band vote should not be used. The choice, I believe, is solely that of the director. As long as the director stands behind the DM, then the band will follow suit.


just my two cents...

BigCity
Hi,

Thank very much for your comment. It help me to think about for my ideals.

If you want to do more info, you also visit at:Band teacher interview questions

Tks again and pls keep posting.

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Re: How do you pick your drum major?

Post by wowkacui » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:10 pm

you know your kids already you already have an idea .......




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Re: How do you pick your drum major?

Post by Bri » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:24 am

This is slightly off topic, but do any of the directors out there think its fair for the other students auditioning to have one audition via skype?

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Re: How do you pick your drum major?

Post by hardis » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:29 pm

When I pick my drum majors, I look for someone that not only has a great personality and is a great player, but is a natural born leader as well. Be great at marching, that is a mega plus because you will be a le to help teach your marching technique. When you are conducting, make sure it is firm at all times. Keep it "boxy". Reason being, you have to make sure the person all the in the back of the field can see you.

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Re: How do you pick your drum major?

Post by HECGordo » Wed May 20, 2015 6:44 am

Great pointers. I am speaking as an outsider, long-time community booster, and non-profit director. I run programs that support the music programs in our local schools. For a variety of reasons I have always taken a keen interest in how drum majors, and any positions of honor for high school kids, are selected.

I absolutely believe the students need to feel like they have input. The teacher doesn't always know the hidden social world of the students. If you select someone that they simply do not view as a leader, then your years can be disastrous. Maybe not for you, the director - but rather, for a large section of the students. It's all about establishing an environment of trust.

So I would recommend a ballot start off the process. Let's say there are three drum majors. You need to narrow your list down to about five candidates. Use an "Instant Runoff" system which will allow the student to rank their selections. You will know that their top five are generally believed to be candidates that, popular or not, the student would be willing to follow.

They candidates will go through the training. They will audition, and they would be interviewed by an impartial panel. I love the idea of having area band directors (FROM OTHER SCHOOLS) conduct this part of it. The Director should meet with the existing drum majors to get their input. And of course, get lots of input from other teachers.

You must make grades and other activities important parts of the profile. A 4.0 student that is well-liked should get some priority. A student with one or two varsity letters should get some priority. Likewise students that volunteer. And career goals are important. Someone planning to go into Music Ed is obviously going to be well-motivated to instill a sense of excellence into the program.

So that the screening process starts out with certain objective inputs: grades and balance.

Next, the ballot of other students, ranking the candidates. Narrow it down to two more than the number needed.

Director meets with current drum majors. She gets input from teachers. (What do you think of adding a parent interview?)

And then it goes to the impartial panel. They will recommend THREE of the remaining five, to the Director.

Now comes the Director's interviews with the finalists. She is looking for reasons not to take the three recommended.

It is essential that you take this decision out of the hands of the director, and provide as much independent advice as you can. In the end the Director makes the final choice. But it will not be tainted by any hint of favoritism, or not caring what the students wish.

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Re: How do you pick your drum major?

Post by Brosler » Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:22 pm

Our process is participating in Winter Drum Major. It's like Winter Guard or Percussion except we participate in L Pattern competitions. Those who want to try out as drum major participate in at least one competition after being taught basics from the vets of WDM.

Then it's an audition process. Not everyone in WDM has to audition, but it is strongly encouraged.

The process goes like this:
Conduct a 2-3 minute piece of their choosing in front of a panel of trusted students/staff/director.
Preform an I pattern. (Observed by Panel)
Teach a small block of students basic commands as if they have never been taught before. (Observed by Panel)
An intense interview session (Observed and asked by Panel)

The students in the band have a large say but ultimately the band director chooses the drum major / assistant.

We're a parade band so this might not work for others, but I hope this helps!
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