Drum and Bugle Corps Tryouts

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by rosey2014, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. rosey2014

    rosey2014 Member

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    I am applying to USNA and looking into doing several different activities, one being the drum and bugle corps. I come from a really good high school band and have played trumpet for 7 years so I could definitely make the band, but I really wanted to try out for the drum line at USNA(I would learn the basics before trying out). So my question is kind of several questions:
    1.) Could I tryout for the drum line, but if I don't make it, play the trumpet instead?

    2.) Do they even put freshmen on the drum line? (And when I say drum line I mean either snares or quads...)

    I'm really just kind of bored with the trumpet, which is why I would want to switch, but if I couldn't do snares or quads I would just play trumpet.
     
  2. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    Call the band department and ask them. I pulled the number from their website (410) 293-3602

    I imagine that drum line is highly competitive and that the cadets playing snares and quads are elite players nearing professional-level musicianship. Of course, go for it and try out. You'll never know the answer if you don't try. You might start out on cymbals and work your way up to quads if you're really good! Did you make all-state band on trumpet? What chair?
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  3. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    None of the kids in D&B are elite players nearing professional-level musicianship. Anecdotally, no one I knew at USNA who was a good musician or had significant musical experience joined D&B, or remained in it for longer than a couple months.

    I'm not trying to be mean, but you'll see. They advertise as a selling point to the plebes that no musical experience is necessary to join.

    In all seriousness, the drum line requires that you have some degree of musical competence and most of those guys have experience. Aside from percussionists though, D&B recruits anyone with a pulse that wants to be part of literally the only group on the yard that does nothing athletic at all (only a slight exaggeration). There are some bennies, mostly in the form of movement orders to either accompany the football team or go to a band competition or something.

    If you're really interested in continuing music while at USNA your opportunities will be fairly limited, but actually selective groups like Trident Brass are worth a look.
     
  4. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    Were you in a marching band? The USNA brass, snares and quads are excellent musicians that would have to work pretty hard to perform at the level at which they perform. Please don't undercut the amount of work that goes into executing a marching band performance of as high a quality as the USNA band delivers. Yes, anyone can join -- that is what the band advertises. But you'll be playing cymbals if you can't already play an instrument at college marching band level. Try out! The travel opportunities are excellent.
     
  5. Spull34

    Spull34 Member

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    Not entirely true. My DS is a current Plebe and had no previous marching band experience and was not in band in High School. His only previous band experience was in the 7th grade. Almost anyone who wishes to participate in D&B will be make the squad. I am sure prior experience will help but is certainly not required.
     
  6. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    Ok I stand corrected. Go for quads. Learn the basics this spring. Let us know how it goes.
     
  7. grevar

    grevar CGA Admissions Partner

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    We talked to one Mid during CVW that says he never held a pair of drumsticks prior to USNA, and he is now a first chair, 3/c drummer for the D&B Corps. He loves it and loves that they get to travel often.
     
  8. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Don't worry - during Plebe Summer, very early on, there will be a call out to any Plebes who have an interest in being on the Drum & Bugle Corps. Obviously, they will be primarily looking for those with brass and percussion experience. If you show even a modicum of proficiency - you'll make it.

    I know this will probably offend somebody, but the Plebe Drum & Bugle Corps is usually awful. To be fair, it's very difficult to put something together that quickly - with so little time to practice - and have it sound very good. And it shows. People who think that they sound great are usually enamored because their son/daughter is in the corps or on the field marching. They are blinded.

    I always chuckle when somebody says, "Don't they sound great?" I'm usually polite and say, "Yes, they sound great" when, in fact, I'm thinking, "Are there a bunch of cats trapped in a trashcan?" :smile:
     
  9. GC44

    GC44 Member

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    This Is the Answer You're Looking For

    If the other responses haven't helped you, this one will. I'm a recent graduate of USNA and participated in the Drum and Bugle Corps all four years as a member of the drumline. Hurricane12 likes to try and answer just about everyone's questions and generally does a good job. However, like many members of the brigade, he/she doesn't exactly know how D&B operates, nor has any idea of how athletic we truly are. Anyway, back on topic. Tryouts are held during Plebe Summer. I tried out on Tenors (having played them in high school) but was assigned a slot on the Snare line (and loved it). The drum music is a bit challenging, since Rich (percussion instructor) has previous professional marching band experience and does an excellent job in tailoring the drum line to sound like a legitimate college marching band. Don't underestimate yourself. Rich will work with you on your instrument if he feels you fit fine there, or will assign you to another instrument in the percussion section. If you want, you can join the brass line, but if I were you, I'd stick to the drum line. I had a blast in D&B over the last four years, so please, take it from me: give it a shot.
     
  10. rosey2014

    rosey2014 Member

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    I was in the marching band-all 4 years and while I did not make the all-state band (Texas by the way) I had heard that the level of D&B was not that strong and wanted to know my chances. Thank you, your replies helped a lot!!
     
  11. time2

    time2 Member

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    If almost anyone can join D&B without musical experience, (as others have previously indicated), then at the very least that makes it sound like they can't get/retain enough people. While percussion instruments you can learn to play with no prior experience, that is certainly not the case with brass instruments that can take years to master. Top notch bands at many civilian colleges have far more applicants then are accepted to the band and the competition to get a spot is fairly significant. Apparently that isn't the case with D&B.

    If this is something you are interested in, then by all mean tryout or make an effort to learn more about it. Even if you join an activity, there is no reqirement you keep doing it for all 4 years.

    As with most ECA's or varsity sports at USNA, you need to determine how much extra you can take on considering all of the other demands on your time.
     
  12. spolac28

    spolac28 Member

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    OK. I have been playing percussion since 6th grade and am now the section leader of the drumline at my high school. Both band and drumline is very competitive where I go to school and we place in very difficult competitions each year. I placed in texas All Region band last year as a junior and plan on placing again this year. Is band like a sport where if we contact the director ,and are good enough, we can be recruited and supported through the application process or is it just something that you choose to do when already accepted? Thanks
     
  13. pleber16

    pleber16 USNA 2016

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    It's something people do when they get here.
     

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