It’s interesting to have to write about this considering it has not been that long since last season has ended, but Drum Corps shows, from conception to reality, is a multi-month project.
For those who do not understand the inner workings of Drum Corps, I’ll provide a bit of a loose interpretation of how it all comes together over the next few weeks, but for today’s post, I want to cover something important.
1 – I’m not good enough
For those who’ve seen the shows through your band director, YouTube, FloMarching, or attended a show, some may be in complete shock and awe in the precision in movements for many of the groups and the cleanliness in which they perform. When I first saw my first Drum Corps show, I was convinced that the level of ability needed to do these shows were something I was not capable of doing. Little did I realize, the amount of work to get to that level, can be learned within the year.
Now, let’s not get things mixed up, if you’re still really new to marching, it will appear and feel very difficult. Also, depending on whether you marching a DCI or DCA corps, what is required of you before hand will vary. Still, despite this, if you have a passion to be a part of the very shows you loved, you are very capable of getting there! It takes passion, hard-work, and most importantly, full commitment to get there!
Do not compare your abilities NOW to the show you just watched, that’s not reality. It’s about getting good during your journey. You’d be surprised how much you’ll have improved by the time a season has ended!
2 – It’s so expensive!
Let’s agree to disagree here because, depending on which corps you join or whether you do DCI or DCA, the amount of money you would spend to be a part of it can and will vary. I wrote a small post earlier on raising some small amounts of money that can help with this endeavor here, but in order to pay some of the tuition fees required to participate, you will need much more.
Every organization have a means of fundraising to help offset the costs, and methods for you to raise money, scholarships offered, and sometimes deals are made depending on your personal financial issue, but make no mistake, the responsibility is still on you.
Asking family and friends to help out with tuition is a pretty common tactic, but planning to pay for these endeavors, have to be done well ahead of time. Though music people like to talk about how much money these organizations are, what you benefit and get from it is way more cost effective than many other things.
Day camps such as the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, etc. can cost an average of $314 per week. Sleep away camps can add up to $768 per week. Specialty camps, like computer camps, sports camps, etc., can cost you $1000 per week on average.
When compared to more ‘common’ types of things you might have done, or that families have spent money on, Drum Corps can be fairly cheap ranging at the time of this post, from $800 – $4000. Again, this depends on whether you are doing DCA or DCI, and which corps you would be marching with.
Depending on the organization, this is about $25 per day that you are with the group, and that includes: travel costs, food provided, housing provided, etc. Rent and mortgage payments are way more expensive when compared side by side. So cost is generally not the issue, but the sticker price can shock people, but it’s completely manageable if you work for it…part time jobs help as well to save up.
3 – There are bad Corps and Good Corps
This i have to disagree with completely right now. There’s only corps, and there are two schools of thought in my opinion, that a corps is only as good as their instructor, and there are corps only as good as their members.
This debate will go on forever, but a corps can rise and fall by the mettle and drive of their members. Members decide whether they stay or not, whether through personal decisions, financial issues, injuries, parental interference (more on this later), etc. In my experience, I’ve come across great instructors, and not so great instructors, and results have varied, but what was consistent across the board was whether you had members stay and max out their instruction and do the best they could, and you had members that would break down, complain, and not put their best foot forward (toxic members).
Very rarely would there be extremely talented, willing, and great members, and awful instructors at the same time. Even if that were to happen, I would still believe that the members would do fairly well in competition as, we all know, members perform the show on the field.
Unfortunately, the train of thought of good corps and bad corps has been pervasive in the activity, and has hemorrhaged many corps who have a hard time recruiting due to this mind set. I’ve always told people, if you were to take a championship corps and switch their name to another, would they still be a championship corps?
I digress, but honestly, join the corps that interests you, but don’t down play another, there are plenty of people such as yourself that are working hard in their corps. For a list of available corps that are out there, check out the list below.
For those who haven’t done Corps yet and are auditioning or going to a camp, this will be your best friend.