Preparing for Drum Corps

Congratulations to any one who will be marching Drum Corps this summer. Now that you have completed the audition process it's time to consider training for the journey you are about to embark on.  Drum Corps can be an amazing experience for anyone involved, but now that you've made it you will be exposed to the side of Drum Corps that very few see. Along side practicing your instrument you have to prepare Physically, Mentally, and emotionally. 

1. Physical- This is the most obvious form of preparation but it is still very important. The physical strain that your body will endure is more than likely something you have never experienced before. Physical training prior to marching a summer can put your body in a better position to succeed. This can include strength training, Cardio, and stretching. All of this is necessary to set your self up for the best summer possible

2. Mental- This seems to be the aspect that people find themselves the most unprepared for. You never realize how long three months is until you march Drum Corps. Drum Corps will take you away from friends and family, put you on air mattress, leave you out in the sun, showering in sinks, and spending EVERY MOMENT next to the same people. These boundaries are often much harder for someone to cope with then the physical commitment. Getting past these obstacles often comes down to your frame of mind. If you tend to be a pessimistic person then Drum Corps will be a very difficult thing for you. Your life will become filled with reasons to complain and having a negative attitude about them can bring the moral of the entire Corps down. You have to shape your personality in such a way that you can laugh off the ridiculous situations you will be put in. You must strengthen your mind to the point where no amount of variables can off set your emotional balance.

3.Emotional- Drum Corps can become a roller coaster of emotions for anyone involved. You will realize that the smallest things at Drum Corps can have the biggest impact on someone. To keep your sanity while on the road you must learn to stay emotionally balanced. Here is a list of things that I have personally seen someone lose emotional control over;

Temperature, buses, suitcase malfunctions,  a popped air mattress, lack of food,  quality of food, too much food, no caffeine, something someone else said, something someone else didn't say, staff's comments, other members actions, scores, amount or quality of sleep, homesickness, laundry, wet socks, ripped shoes, dead cell phone, lost uniform, a mistake made in a performance, etc.

While on the road you will come in contact with some, if not all, of the previously mentioned. Your ability to not let these variables affect you is of the utmost importance if you want to enjoy your summer. Your emotional strength is correlated directly with your mental. If you CHOOSE to look on the bright side of situations then you will have no trouble keeping your self emotionally stable. If you know this is something you struggle with then I suggest working on this before the summer. The easiest way to do this is to go ahead and accept the fact that you are going to have some rough spots during the summer. Prior to the summer, try and find techniques that allow you to remain calm and stable when faced with emotional situations.

“What goes on in our head solely determines the level at which we function in society, our physical health, and the degree of our mental and emotional stability and maturity.” - Renee Cefalu


Ryan Ellis