1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Drum majors

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Boplicity, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Just having watched the movie "Drumline" again, I have a question that I have often wondered about, what are drum majors exactly? Is the drum major position the most prestigious and highest achievement in a marching band?

    Do they keep time for the band? Are they the best trained and most experienced musicians and must they audition for the part or are they chosen by the band leader or do they volunteer or what?

    Why are they call "drum" majors? Are they specifically tasked to time the drums or guide the drum line or what is their specific capacity?

    Anyone that has been in a marching band or knows about drum majors or has been a drum major, I would really be interested in knowing more about these very athletic and capable musicians.
  2. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Drum Major is the conductor of the marching band...

    He has the power, next to the director... At my high school, we vote for drum major, and applicants have to write an essay and get teacher recomendations...

    Girl drum majors suck. Their arms get tired... Had to deal with a chick the last 2 seasons, luckily this season we had 2 drum majors, a guy and a girl, they switched off... but then the guy ended up conducting us most of the time.
  3. Lucky.......... Here , they have to audition in front of an outside judge, but ultimately the director decides.

    All we have had here since ive been in marching band, is Chicks...........AND THEY SUCK.

    We have to settle for 6th place at State championships because our drum major is bordering on a 2!
  4. A drum major is called a Drum Major because traditionally it was a Drummer often the top drummer that would do it. They set the tempos for the band. Sometimes you see Drum Majors with Maces. It used to be more common but not so much any more. The Mace is the long Bar that the would carry and sometimes toss in the air ( we had a major that would throw it 6 stories in the air at one time) Also they would often stick the mace into the ground as the went on the Stand to conduct.

    That said some bands are starting to go the Majorless Route. Those bands will listen to the Drumline to set the tempo and play off of that. But to all you guys that are complaining about female drum majors just think at least you get to look at a girl instead of a guy :D
  5. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    hot chicks are not interesting in drum major.
  6. Drum Majors are supposed to keep time, so everybody marching has a conductor to look at and be in time with each other.

    Theoretically speaking...

    My marching band's drum majors however, do not keep time well.
  7. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The thing I noticed in "Drumline" was that the drum majors were almost without exception tall which probably makes them easier to see by a marching band. They carried maces, too, as was mentioned above.

    I really appreciate all your answers and for explaining the function of someone in a marching band I never understood or appreciated. I had thought, perhaps, the drum major was a glorified baton twirler or some ceremonial position, but I see that such a notion does not give anywhere near the respect the best drum majors are due.

    I would miss them in a marching band that has ceased to use them, because they do sort of set the "tone" and certainly add a lot of flash.

    "Drumline" was a fascinating look at college and university marching bands to an outsider such as myself who never had the priviledge of having been in a marching band. These folks are not only excellent, dedicated musicians, they are also impressively athletic. What an incredible experience it must be to march in front of thousands of screaming fans and play your heart out too!

    Of course, they have to play in broiling heat, pouring rain and blizzards and march to exhaustion. I wonder how many university marching band musicians go on to sucessful full time professional careers as musicians.
  8. I personally hated the move Drumline, but I guess that's because I was in marching band in high school, and I know that it was totally unrealistic. Everyone I know that has done marching band hates it too. I guess a lot of non marching band type people that I've talked to about it liked it so maybe it wasn't a bad movie, but I guess I just felt misrepresented.

    I would also like to see some bands that have done away with their drum majors. I'd like to see how they overcome phasing problems, because in our band, we had a lot of people that just listened to the rest of the band to keep time instead of watching the drum major. This causes them to be a little behind the people who are keeping time with the drum major, especially if they're at the back of the field. Sounds ugly...well, my band did, anyways...

    P.S. My band had a female drum major, and she consistently scored high enough to get 1st or 2nd place in competitions.
  9. I agree I didnt care for the movie. I will agree whole heartedly there. I was in a Drumline for 4 years and have taught drumline for 7 years now. And it isnt very accurate.. Granted alot of things that people think arent accurate actually are in some bands. But all in all it was trying to glorify Marching band and turn it into something that its not. The bands that do away with drum majors typically have the Drumline near the middle of the field and the Band listens to the Drumline. Alot of marching bands dont watch the major anyhow and listen only when they do have a major :rolleyes: . But when it is designed to have no major and all anyone has to trust is there ears it tends to work pretty good. Plus it is pretty impresive to see.