A history of excellence.
A future brighter than the sun.
What are auditions like and how should I prepare?
Auditions are held 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. The line is set by our percussion instructor, who rotates 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. An audition packet will be sent out to you during July that will include a couple of warm-ups, a cadence, and one of the school songs to be memorized (to the best of your ability) prior to arriving at band camp. The best way to prepare is to keep your chops up – don’t wait until the night before camp 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, 5 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, and two sets of cymbals. 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 captains for the 2017-18 season are Sean Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org), Emily Shannon (email@example.com), and Ryan Zerega (firstname.lastname@example.org). Feel free to email any of them. There is also a Facebook group for prospective band members here.