A history of excellence.

A future brighter than the sun.

Duke Drumline.





What are auditions like and how should I prepare?
Auditions are held both in the summer and at the beginning of band camp in August; percussionists typically move in a day earlier than the rest of the band to allow extra time for this. Beginning in 2019, the Drumline began a virtual audition process. In this process, an audition packet (containing warm-ups, a cadence, and fight songs) is sent out in July, and prospective members are asked to send in a video audition. This audition gives our percussion instructor and section leaders a preliminary idea of skill level and capability on different instruments. The line is not necessarily set based on these auditions alone, but it allows for a much more time-efficient, in-person audition during band camp. The line is set by our percussion instructor and section leaders, who rotate drummers on and off of instruments until finding the arrangement that sounds the best. During this process, you may be asked to play in a small group and/or individually.  The best way to prepare is to keep your chops up – don’t wait until the night before your video audition to pick up some sticks for the first time in months. Basic exercises like double and triple beat, 16th note and triplet rolls, and accent-tap are also very beneficial to practice on your own over the summer. Essentially, the better you are at the instrument you want to play, the better chance you have of being assigned that instrument.

What is the difference between marching band and pep band?
During marching/football season, we use a full battery (historically 5-6 snares, 2-3 tenors, 6 basses, and a varying number of cymbals). We do not have a front ensemble. During pep band/basketball season, we use a drumset, a bass drum, crash cymbals, and various auxiliary percussion instruments. Participation in marching season guarantees you a spot in the pep band. You will be assigned to half of the men’s and women’s home basketball games, but you may attend as many as you want. You will also have the opportunity to participate in tournament travel, should the team(s) make it to the NCAA tournament (and they will).

I’ve never played a marching percussion instrument before. Can I still audition for Duke’s drumline?
Absolutely! We have had drum set players, concert percussionists, and even non-drummers join our ranks. Our marching technique is not difficult to learn and as long as you can read music, have a sense of rhythm, and are willing to work hard, you stand a good chance of making the line.

Do you play matched or traditional?
Our snare line plays with traditional grip. However, we have had several drummers join us who played matched in high school and picked up traditional very quickly. We will work with you.

Why should I join the drumline?
How could you deny yourself a future brighter than the sun?

I’m interested in joining. What should I do now?
Fill out this form so we can get you on our information distribution list. Then go spend some quality time with your practice pad and a metronome.

I still have questions. Who can I talk to?
The section leaders for the 2022-23 season are Andy Demma (andrew.demma@duke.edu), Jason McBane (jason.mcbane@duke.edu), and Morgan Opela (morgan.opela@duke.edu). Andy and Morgan play bass drum, while Jason plays tenors (although both Andy and Jason have also played snare). Feel free to email any of them. There is also a Facebook group for prospective band members here.

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