Drum Major Problems

ALL Drum Majors have the same problems!
Welcome to the top. It get's lonely up here!! It's alright though. When the other band members are looking up the podium, all they're gonna see is your rear end. xD So feel free to rant, complain, submit, ask, or just talk. Welcome, Drum Majors!

I have wanted to be a drum major for a while now, I’ve been practicing a lot and think I could make the cut. However, I play the saxophone and I equally love my section, maybe even more than my love of becoming a drum major, but I also hate the woodwind music teacher for MB. I have had started having a crisis of conscious on which I should do. DM or stay with my section?

That’s really a question only you can answer. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I want to be drum major but all my teachers think I'm this quiet shy girl who can't pull it off with zero leadership skills. What does it mean to be a leader and how can I show it or gain experience in it?
drummajorproblems drummajorproblems Said:

You know, I spend a lot of time thinking about the answer to this question because I get asked it at least once or twice a semester. And it really is a difficult question to answer. Leadership is intangible and therefore harder to define. And the answer that I have come up with is that there is no right answer.
Now like, if you want a dictionary definition, google defines it as “The action of leading a group of people or an organization” which is a kind of crappy definition for a couple of reasons: One, because you’re using the word in the definition, and two because it’s very… textbook. 

Being a leader is like… the furthest thing from textbook you can get. Because there are hundreds of thousands of ways you can lead. There are hundreds of thousands of THINGS you CAN lead. So of COURSE being a leader is going to mean something different to every body. But the things I have noticed about leaders across the board is that leaders are passionate. They are dedicated. They are well versed in their craft. They strive for the highest, and and are never happy with what they’ve done because they’re always setting that standard that they are striving for higher. They are respectful of the people they lead. And they remember that a leader is nothing without their followers. They are idealistic and open minded. 
And above all other things, leaders come from followers. In my opinion, no one is born a leader. A leader is created when a follower has so much passionate and dedication for something that they decide they want to serve through leadership to make a difference.

So I was just chosen to be one of my school's drum majors! I'm really excited but I do also have some questions. Along with being a drum major, I will by our 1st trumpet, and therefore my band director wants me to play a solo. How exactly will that work? Do I just stop conducting and play the solo, then go back to conducting or what?
drummajorproblems drummajorproblems Said:

That’s essentially what you do. There are likely more than 1 drum majors, which means that you will not be center podium for whatever piece your soloing for. Its not uncommon to see that happen in a marching band. It happened twice while I was in high school. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Okay so I'm the drum Major for my band but I'm not 100% sure what I'm doing. I can lead big block practice but conducting is a bit more difficult. The band drags a lot and my director tells me to make sure that doesn't happen...but how can I make them play faster without being off in my counting? Thanks:)
drummajorproblems drummajorproblems Said:

Center snare is your go to person. Become friends, get to know your center snare really well. and watch his feet on the field. If you and your battery are in sync, your ensemble will have no choice but to be with you because they’re getting the same tempo signals from you and from their drum line. 

Asker rosaray Asks:
I'm conducting I dreamed a dream from les mis and I can't find a good way to cut it off. What I mean is I cut off with a flip, circle, cut, and one of the staff doesn't like that I cut by "grabbing the sound" into a fist. How else can I cut off?
drummajorproblems drummajorproblems Said:

Okay so there’s a couple things here. Instead of thinking about it as a “cut off” (which is incorrect terminology anyway), think of it as a release. (which is the correct terminology) You’re releasing the sound. In conducting classes that I’ve taken, and a few of the clinics I’ve been to, They always tell us to not close the hands because that sends a signal of strangling the sound, almost. My best advice is to look on youtube for some directors and see how they release concert ensembles and try to pull some ideas from there.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
An issue has come up with some members of my band. Our flute section leader is only a sophomore. She's very qualified and knows what she's doing. There are 2 others in her section who are both juniors. They're very disrespectful to her. They talk behind her back, make inappropriate comments during sectionals, and they try to over power her, call her show off, etc. I need to talk to the 2 members and let them know that their behavior is completely inappropriate. Any tips on how to go about it?
drummajorproblems drummajorproblems Said:

Do exactly as you said. Go up and talk to them. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, have your director get involved, but I strongly recommend that you try to handle this by yourself. if you get your director involved, you could also become the brunt of some unnecessary comments. however, if the issue continues to presist, I would defiontly get your director involved. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Do you have any tips for know how fast to conduct a song? In other words, are there any ways to remember how fast 180 Bpm is?
drummajorproblems drummajorproblems Said:

Message in a Bottle by The Police is a song around 180bpm. and so is Livin La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin. 

Thriller is 120 bpm

And 96 bpm is like Hey, Soul Sister by Train.

Those are the songs that I keep in mind when I’m trying to remember tempo. 

Hey guys! So earlier this year my band director brought me in his office and told me he wanted me to audition for drum major, so not wanting to disappoint him, and wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone, I agreed. A month later my name was on the drum major list, along with three others. I am the only junior & the others are seniors. So band camp soon came and I realized that I honestly don’t know if I have what it takes to be a drum major. I’ve been told I’m really great at marching, and marching is definitely where my heart is at. As much as I love the respect and admiration of the band, I know I’m not supposed to be in this position. I’ve lost a lot of love for band and I kind of regret my choice! I feel terrible for thinking this way too. I wish I could just be a marcher again. one thing I REALLY need to work on is confidence. I struggle with that a lot, and since I’m the only drum major with experience next year, I’ll be center podium. I’m SOOO nervous and I know it’s bad, but I still have stage fright. Help please!!

Okay so step one is not to panic. If your director pulled you specifically aside and asked you to try out, then he OBVIOUSLY thinks that you’re definitely where you’re supposed to be. If you really hate drum majoring that much, then you don’t have to try out again. Passion for marching needs to come from a lot of places, but if your ensemble thinks that you’re not passionate about marching band, then they will lose their passion too. 
Find a personal goal for yourself as a drum major and focus on that goal. Striving to achieve that goal will take care of a lot of the other problems you said you had, like your stage fright and your self confidence. 
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, do not EVER regret any decision you’ve ever made. If you really do feel like you’ve made a mistake, don’t regret it. Analyze it, find things things about it that you absolutely loved, and learn from it. By doing so, you’ll have gained a lot of experience and insight that might help you in the future. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
hi, I'm a new drum major (also including I happen to be Head) and I'm afraid of my podium. it's like 5 1/2 tall and I've been working on trying to get up and down gracefully but my problem is standing on the top. it's wobbly and there's no railing.. do you have any tips to over come podium fears?
drummajorproblems drummajorproblems Said:

Hm. That can be a problem. If it really makes you feel that uncomfortable, then I would request a band parent to hold the podium or the ladder steadily so that you feel more easy about climbing up and down it. There shouldn’t be any problem with that. As for while you’re up there, Ground yourself and don’t look down. I now it sounds silly, pretend your feet are actually touching the ground, like you have roots growing from the bottom of your feet and there’s no way you can fall down. I know it sounds kinda crazy, but imagining that your grounded like that can really help. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I have this goal for my senior year (next year) to be a drum major. It's been my goal since freshman year to do this, so I've been practicing my butt off these past two years into now. But now, one of my friends has decided she wants this, and she's telling me that if I'm really her friend, I won't try out. I know it's early on in the season to be thinking about that, but I want this so bad I can't imagine not doing it just to make her happy. I think if I continue to practice I might have a shot
drummajorproblems drummajorproblems Said:

SWEET LORD NO. If that “friend” of yours is really YOUR friend, she would let you try out. Do not even think for one second that anyone who tells you not to do something that you’ve worked for and want badly because “your their friend”, is actually your friend. That is what I refer to as a really shitty friend. You keep working hard, you keep doing your best and you try out for Drum Major at the end of the year, and don’t let shitty friends dictate how you want to live your life. Yeah?