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 Post subject: Thoughts of a post-corps music major
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2002 11:16 pm 
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This is going to be a little long, but it may pertain to many of you who browse these boards.

After I saw a couple shows in 1999, I decided that I had to participate in a corps at least once. I was so blown away by the sound of the horns and the skill of the drumlines.

It's been a goal of mine to become a professional musician since I began playing tuba 10 years ago. I was afraid that if I did participate in corps, that it would somehow damage my chops and prevent me from playing in a classical setting. I've come to realize how silly that fear really was. The fact that I kept my head on straight and approached the everyday playing the way an athlete would approach their sport, I became a much stronger player (as far as phrasing and tone production go). Athletes never do anything with full effort until they have first conditioned (the successful ones, anyway).

This does not mean, however, that the experience didn't have it's drawbacks. I feel that there were three months in which I did not work on range, orchestral excerpts, solos, or anything that was technically challenging. Those things, I recovered pretty quickly, but the thing that I struggle with the most is trying to stay motivated in playing every day. I'm not sure how that changed, but I do know that a season of corps lies between a period in my life when I had supreme confidence in my ability and the time I'm experiencing now. I feel like I'd be better off spending my time pursuing a career that is not as competitive as music.

So how did that happen? How do I come out of it? I have a couple theories but I'm not really sure. The theory that because I spent every waking moment in drum corps, that I cannot motivate myself on my own anymore seems to be the best guess I could offer. That someone was always telling me when to do what and how to do it for so long seems to have conditioned me to expect that. Now that that someone isn't there every step of the way, I don't know what to tell myself to make me do what I know I should do. (practice)

Any input on this would be greatly appreciated. Also, I figured that this may generate a lot of discussion about what people do when they age out.

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"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. "


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2002 6:09 pm 
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How long ago did you march?

I ended up getting back into college after I aged out and spent an additional summer on brass staff. However, the school didn't have the same sort of drive and dedication that I had become accustomed to.

For me, my motivation came from myself. It took some time, that's for sure, but I had to just keep plugging away at my playing, performing whenever possible in as many groups as I could handle.

It could be rough, really. Try working on things as if you, the instructor, were talking to you, the player. Go ahead and be extra-picky, but also find a way to hear yourself and still say, "Yeah, that sounded pretty damn good."

You're also not going to find that same experience anywhere else. If you miss it enough, and live near a good senior corps, try to get out and march with them.

I'll try to post more as I think about it longer --


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2002 8:57 am 
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I went through the same thing after I aged out. I had been a music major for 3 years and basically gave it up when I went back to college. Marching band, or for that matter, any ensemble failed to motivate me.

I guess the one thing that really made me change majors was the fact that even though I was in a music department, many of the students and professors had a negative view towards drum corps, as though it were beneath them. My favorite comment was "I could have marched, but I don't have time for something like that." or the big one "I'm trying to be a serious musician."

Looking back on it, if you're in an area where there is a lot of participation in corps, then band members have a more positive outlook on it. But if there are very few people marching then get ready for the negative comments and basically the envy from other musicians.

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Contra-Bass - '89
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
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West Georgia College


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 Post subject: Motivation
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2002 11:09 am 
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CJcontra,

I'm not sure where to start. Drum Corps is not a perfect experience. You said that because of marching, you became a much stronger player. That makes your corps experience worth its weight in gold. In addition to becoming a stronger player, you had the unique experience that is drum corps. You learned teamwork, dedication to a common goal, how to live and work with people not like you, the traveling, the competition, pushing yourself physically day after day, and the various other "life skills" are benefits you get out of drum corps that have nothing to do with music.

You said that you had 3 months where you didn't do anything technically challenging. Did you compete in I&E? Working on a solo for 3 months would help to fill that need. In general, look at drum corps as the perfect opportunity to become a stronger player--you have plenty of time during the other 9 months to work on the technically challenging aspects of music.

Let's talk motivation. As a 34-year-old drum corps ageout who struggles to motivate myself at times, I think it's a copout to blame your apathy right now on drum corps. Yeah, you had 3 months very little control over any aspect of your life. BUT, 3 months do not control the remaining 9 months of your life.

Perhaps, this past summer, you realized that you don't want to be playing the tuba for hours every day. Perhaps you realized that you don't want the life of a professional musician. That would explain your lack of motivation to practice. If that is the case, then drum corps was an extremely positive thing for you to have done. Better to find that out now then after you graduate and having your paychecks dependent on doing something you don't want to do.

Perhaps you need to spend some time with yourself and discover who you are and what you want to do with your life. It's no sin to realize that professional music is not the path for you, even though it's the path you've been pursuing for the past decade.

I urge you to continue to march. Marching drum corps is a powerful, life-changing experience--where kids 13-21 experience things about life that most adults haven't even figured out.

I wish you well at this point of your life. It's not a easy or comfortable place to be. But if you can figure yourself out, you'll be a much happier person.

Kimberly
Troopers 85-89

(A cellist since 4th grade, a trumpet in high school, and a soprano for the 5 years I marched, never had any desire to become a professional musician, but currently an accountant, and unfortunately, not playing any instrument right now.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 12:57 am 
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I appreciate the comments so far. They are helpful.

I have a few things to add that I didn't think about before. First: Now that I'm 23, I have begun to take responsibility for most of my finances. That means that there's a certain ammount of money I need to make each month. That ammount basically requires me to work about 20-25 hrs per week. Trying to find a balance between making payments and making progress in school is a new challenge for me. The priority has become the payments. That means that classes are emphasized less for me.

Second: I have a more positive theory for why I experienced a decline in motivation. That is the fact that the performance level We achieved as a corps was so much higher than anything Id ever participated in that I expect that level out of my own playing. When it dosen't happen I get discouraged. Leland's comment really pointed that out to me. Kimberly's post also encouraged me to try to find a reason that didn't pin blame on the corps experience.

Lastly, when I aged out, I didn't think that I wanted to work with a corps as an instructor. Now, I'm really considering it. That kind of experience would be invaluable. Especially since it's in the best interest of modern-day musicians to have as diverse an experience as possible and also be the best teachers they can be.

Thanks again for the input! I hope we all can benefit from it.

_________________
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. "


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 3:17 pm 
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Coming back to school band is almost always the hardest thing for a corps member to tolerate. You've been "living in tune" for quite a while, and you're getting into an ensemble whose members have largely been doing everything BUT practicing on their instruments several hours a day. It's going from the best that your corps sounded all season to the worst that the band will sound all year.

If you get a chance to instruct, and you're good at it, DO SO. It's a nearly ideal environment to try your hand as an instructor. The kids want to be there, discipline is the norm, and everyone is willing to work hard enough to not let anything slip by. Be aware, however, that you might encounter difficulties bringing that same approach to school. Diplomacy on your part will work wonders.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:27 am 
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I'm currently a Undergraduate Dual Major: Music Education & Percussion with a minor in Composition. I formly dont have any corps experience. But being a Mus Ed/Perc major has taught me alot of every invaluable lessons about how to work with your students and etc. I been teaching a line for over 5 years now. And I totally have learn alot by just being in college and have input alot of invaulable lesson to my students and other staff with the school. They are even so supraise how well I'm teaching my students that they think I had already graduated from college. But when I tell they no. they say but how you are so experience in what you teaching.


:D 8-) :lol: :P

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Elizabeth Ortiz

Temescal Canyon High School
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Elsinore High School
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*Drill Writer* 98-01
*Marching Instructor/Caption Head* 98-Present


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 2:52 pm 
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Man, I can't believe I missed this thread. I'm currently a grad student working on a performance degree, and I understand what you're going through. My answer would be that in general as you get older, you become more aware of your own faults. Compounded with that is a growing realization of exactly how tough it is to make it as a performer and of how good those that have are; there's a lot of inherent self-doubt, and I've had to struggle with it myself. The way I utilize my drum corps training as it relates to that is the ability to single-mindedly do the work I need to while ignoring distractions.

While it's true that finding time to practice all the aspects of playing during the season is tough, drum corps is great for bringing our minds back to the all-important basics (especially air) and it always sharpens my ear considerably. Drum corps has its advantages and disadvantages for performance majors, but I think it's one of many musical experiences we can use to help us along the way.

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Contra, Blue Stars D&BC 00-03
http://www.thebigdog.cjb.net
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"Do you hear that? That's the clue phone...and it's ringing for you."


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