Standard Exercises/Warm-ups for HS Drumline

Hey Guys,

I'm always updating, rewriting and rethinking our warm-up and exercise package (I'm guessing I'm not the only, too). And, I'm always curious to know if I'm leaving a concept out or if I'm kicking a dead horse.

So, in generic terms, would you guys list the basic exercises and skills you believe that a HS drumline should have in their warm-up/exercise package?

I'll start:

An ";8 on a hand exercise"; (that works on legato strokes and general timing, etc.)

Resisting urge to fill whole page...

Here's how I approach it with beginning lines. My thoughts on pit are included since I usually teach them with the battery. Sure I'd prefer to separate them but I haven't found a way to make my watch go to 36 or duplicate myself in uber Dr. Manhatten style! To my surprise, the pit kids feel like they are a part of the line and thus work harder. This also helps to avoid ";battery hates the pit for practicing in the AC"; syndrome.

[b]8th's - [/b]Keep it simple, however, use dynamics. For beginners I would avoid lots of crechendi and decresendi, but I would work a lot on terracing. It helps them understand sticks heights a lot better and helps relax their hands. I'll commonly lock the met on a tempo, say 110 or something, then have them play the whole thing at 15in, then 3in, 6in, 9in, 12in, 15in again. Then change tempo.

Not only does this train their hands to not play so freaking loud by default, but it also allows them to HEAR each other. It's harder to clean taps than full blown accents (the sound is obviously much shorter)

For the pit, I have them play the 8 on a hand type scale exercise listed in Jim[sup]2[/sup]'s Upfront, but I have them also alternate their hands every other rep. We go through all the major scales, and if they get bored we throw in some blues, whole tone, pentatonic, etc. At super fast tempi, they just alternate for the sake of sanity and relaxation....mostly sanity.

[b]Single attacks[/b] - After their hands are loose, single attacks are great to play. I have an exercise where they all are in a circle or arc and the captain will do a bar tap off and everyone will attack, immediately after that, the guy next to him is tapping off. We go all around the circle and use the left hand on the second time around. This forces everyone to listen and not go into auto pilot. If a kid misses their tap off, everyone attacks anyhow and we skip them. It's always fun to watch the face of a kid who just spaced out and missed their tap off :)

I'ts also important to include the pit in this exercise. For extra fun, you can have them do it on a C# or something so they can practice hitting the edge of the bar and not the node.

[b]Accent tap, bucks, etc. [/b]-  Without guidance, this exercise can go terribly wrong. Many kids tense up their hand whenever they play an accent and don't really understand that an accent is just a higher stick height and the stick should not be treated like bart simpson's head. Bill Bachman's ";Bachcent"; is AWESOME at teaching what an accent should be because it isolates each part of a ";buck";.

Example, A=accent a=tap
AAAAaaaa|AAAAaaaa|  and so on...

So it basically has the kids playing nice legato 8th's then gradually adds in taps. After this cycle is done, it goes in reverse (inverts)

For the pit, I like using simple 4 mallet double vertical strokes at quarter notes. The tempo-technique ratio alligenment with the battery is amazing on this one. They usually do simple interval changes between a 5th and 2nd.

[b]Double beat/triple beat[/b] - Any stock version will do, I like the ones that include playing on one hand for extending time and ones that include playing alternating doubles as well.

For the pit I love having them do a double stop exercise in 8th notes that spreads and opens their hands to absurd intervals so they get a good feel of the key board (gordon stout style). If you have any really advanced kids, they can work on the same thing with but with 4 mallets.

If you're more focused on 4 mallets, this is also a good time to work on single independent strokes at quater notes (or 8th depending on skill)

[u][i][b]Timing[/b][/i][/u]  This is by far the more important and most overlooked exercise in the history of high school (and perhaps college) lines. To hear the Thom Hannum 16th note timing exercise at 9 inches played perfectly is a thing of supreme beauty :) I like to have the basses and tenors do easy splits and unisons (alternating each time). This exercise with the met is AWESOME.

For the pit I like to have them play this exercise with mortal kombat flare! For example ";F-F-F-F  F#-Eb F-F-F-F  F#-Eb F-F-F-F  F-F-F-F  F-F-F-F   F#-Eb";

[b]Rolls[/b] - I love using the ";Murray Gusseck"; approach here. Have them do 2 bars of tripletes or 16th's then a bar of just the right hand rolling. Then same with the left, then both together. This helps them get a consistent technique for their diddle. After they master that we move into things like triplet diddle ";stock grade a";  :)

For the pit, this is a good tempo for either simple 16th notes mobility exercises (think G.H.Green style) or if you're doing 4 mallets, working on Laterals in 16th's or triplets. Usually easy repetitive laterals.

[b]The dread flam roberts[/b] Ahh teaching flams, always a joy. I like using this time to teach my first ";ensemble"; piece. So the pit can work on musicality and the battery can endlessly play flams. Personally I love using an 8th note based mission impossible arrangement I wrote that takes and battery through all the simple basic flam rudiments and lets the pit get into some split parts to work on balance, listening, phrasing, dynamics etc.

For more advanced groups I like playing the Hannum timing exercise but with flams on the variations. (flam-flam-flam -flam 2 & Flam-flam-flam-falm 4&) etc.

[i]That's my bread and butter[/i]
This usually takes up most of the time during the first season. Year two can get more advanced etc.
[quote author=UNT/BD Tenor link=topic=3075.msg16317#msg16317 date=1242151540]
My 3 cents (inflation)

Good. Made me chuckle
There are only a hand full of exercises that a line needs to be successfull, as long as they perform the exercises with a VERY high quality. Of course there are about a thousand versions of these exercises, but they really are there to teach the same fundamental ideas. A good, recent example of simplicity in a warm-ups is Phantom Regiment. The old Tom Float lines and Thom Hannum also come to mind.

While parking lot jams are a ton of fun to play, at the high school level kids will spend more time trying to learn the exercise rather than working on the techniques that the exercise is designed to teach. Unless the high school is really advanced and spends a ton of time rehearsing, playing really high end drum corps exercises can hurt them, not help them.

The exercises I play at AFHS:
Eights - with a bunch of dynamic variations and splits
Chucks - a simple variation on the good 'ole Bucks
Double & Triple Beat - strait-up no frills
Hup-Dup - yes, the same old hup dup that Float lines played for years
16th Tap-Accents - 2 measure pattern, again a Float rip-off
16th Rolls - Chicken-and-a-Roll
Triple Diddle - Stock, grade A
Tap-Flig, Tap-Flag - 4X4 exercise with flams and stuff added in

So really there are three on hander exercises and three two handers that teach the same techniques:
Eights = Hup Dup
Chucks = Tap Accents
Double Beat = Rolls

Then there is the ";catch all"; exercise Tap-Flig - that's it. Float won drum 4 titles in a row playing these during the 80's. That's good enough for me and my boys. Keep in mind that we have a very large drumline (8-5-5) and so I try to keep the difficulty at a level that everyone can acheive.

*Having said that, when I marched DCI I wanted to play the hardest stuff known to God.... my students like to learn those rippin' warm-ups and they play them often; on their own. But as a line, we play the simple stuff.

My 3 cents (inflation)
[quote author=erath link=topic=3075.msg16310#msg16310 date=1242051847]
BTW, [b]does anyone ever pass out too many exercises/warm-ups [/b] and how do you keep from doing that?

I don't think you can hand out too many, but you can approach the warmup program with options.  One option is that you ";streamline"; the exercises/warmups so that you can cover the essetials of the music book.  This option is handy when you have a limited amount of time on contest days, game days, bus breakdowns, priority override, etc.  Option two allows for the use of more in depth work in order to build the players' chops when the time is available.  This prevents the boredom that Ted referred to.
[quote author=erath link=topic=3075.msg16310#msg16310 date=1242051847]
BTW, does anyone ever pass out too many exercises/warm-ups and how do you keep from doing that?

There is no such thing as too much information when teaching. Instead of additional exercises try creating variations in sticking patterns, drum patterns for tenors and basses. anything that allows students to expand knowledge or keeps the talented student from being bored.
One year we had to let the drill team practice in the 2nd band hall (during an off period). We hated it, but didn't fight it. Figured this was one of those times we could be a team player.

The result was that they had mirrors installed on one of the walls. When we re-structured our classes, the drill team had to find another place to practice AND we got to keep the mirrors. Win-win...

BTW, does anyone ever pass out too many exercises/warm-ups and how do you keep from doing that?
HS wrestling rooms are usually good for mirror usage.

That's what we've used for years.
[quote author=Stephenson link=topic=3075.msg16304#msg16304 date=1242007886]
[b]Another thing I find most helpful is a big freakin' mirror[/b]...

The mirror idea is right on the mark.  At my old school we had a complete wall (35ft in width by 6ft in height; placed 1ft off the the floor) and it made a huge difference on reinforcing technique/style.  At my new school we use a huge section of windows for feedback.  It's not the best setup but it's better than nothing.
...University of Kentucky / 80's, 90's Cavaliers = Jim Cambell. I was introduced to the concept by Ellis Hampton and Mark Hunter. I just didn't want to take credit for something that I borrowed... We would play 7/8 grid, but my bass line is too new from year to year, and getting freshman to play on counts, rather than listen to runs and react, proves to be a constant challenge. Another thing I find most helpful is a big freakin' mirror, and we use percentage of wrist turn to further define stick heights and technique.
[quote author=Stephenson link=topic=3075.msg16298#msg16298 date=1241800467]
One thing that I find helpful with my line is playing 16 on a hand rather than 8's. We mess around with the second half. IE. 8-8th's @ 3"; second half crescendo, or bucks, 8-8th's @ 12"; second half decrescendo, second half double stops, and so forth. It seems to help keep the students engaged for longer periods of time while warming up. [b]I owe this concept to Ellis Hampton and the University of Kentucky.[/b]

...or more specifically to Jim Campbell... ;)
One thing that I find helpful with my line is playing 16 on a hand rather than 8's. We mess around with the second half. IE. 8-8th's @ 3"; second half crescendo, or bucks, 8-8th's @ 12"; second half decrescendo, second half double stops, and so forth. It seems to help keep the students engaged for longer periods of time while warming up. I owe this concept to Ellis Hampton and the University of Kentucky.
Love to help you Eric, but I'm lucky now to be like the cool uncle! I get to come in when I want, make the kids laugh, say a few things, and then go home:)

I would imagine most people aren't replying because it would be a string of ";Yup";, ";me too";, ";that's what I do"; kind of stuff. That, or they don't have the time to type a manifesto.
Any other takers? I figured if I asked a bunch of drumline guys their opinions about how they run their drumlines, no one would be able to resist the chance!
In my high school drum line, (which fell under the beginner category), we had a wide range of things.

Of course there is the standard 8 on the hand legato style. If you program lacks this, uh-oh.
We also have just a basic triplet exercise with pulse, no pulse, RLL RLL LRR LRR and etc.
We have a cadence that we play as a warm up, real basic, to trick the members into thinking they weren't playing a warm up. For sure got the newer members to thinking, ";oh, 8's really isn't THAT bad...";
My favorite was our roll exercise, which consisted of the timing and roll check (isolating hands, 8th notes to check time)

In my humble opinion, it is just a matter of spicing things up. My freshman year in highschool was a bore, all we played was 8's. Then the next year my instructors came back with a different program and we spiced things up and it wasn't super boring and a ";waste of time.";

Inconsistency in the musical choices for warm up was always good for us. Suprise em!
Thanks, Josh. This is exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about.

Other takers?
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