Every pipe band snare drummer who is able, should work on their marching skills. Marching brings a degree of momentum and consistency to your playing and, through physical movement, helps to keep you in time with the rest of the band. Whether you are playing in a parade, at a festival, or in a competition, at some point you will need to march with your band.
Mimicking the movement of players around you helps to keep you in step and connected together with the rest of the band. Remember, it is not just your feet that are involved in marching but the movement and placement of your hands and arms also.
You can start practising by marching with the band when they practise, firstly without your drum. When you feel you have mastered this, put your drum on but do not play it. Simply get used to the feel of the drum while you concentrate on getting the marching right. Once you feel you are confident with the drum on, then have a go at playing while you march.
You don’t need a drum to start marching and playing. If you are not on a drum yet or would prefer to practise on your own first, you can start at home by standing at your practice pad with the stand raised or standing at a table and “mark time” while playing a drum score. This will help you to become comfortable with the feel of marching and playing. You will find it helps you play even better!
Marching and playing at the same time can be tricky to master for those who are new to it. Persist and practise and pretty soon you will love marching down the street in a parade or into a competition circle. There is a certain swing and rhythm one feels from marching and playing that is sure to get you hooked in no time!
We would love to hear from you. Did you find the transition from playing to machine difficult? Do you have any tips that may help others who are finding marching and playing hard? Share you tips, tricks and resources in the comments below.
If you would like further assistance on your transition to marching, contact DrummingMad here.