A drum corps is composed of three types of drummers, none more important than the others. The bass drum provides the rhythmic and harmonic foundation for the band as a whole, the snare drummers provide the drive and dynamics and the tenor drummers add visual and melodic support to the rhythm of the snares and the pipe melody. For a pipe band to achieve success on the competition field, each part of the drum corps must be in sync with each other and groove together.
Too often, at band practice, members of the bass section will be told to go to another room (often without a rehearsal plan) while the snares work on their music separately. The time that a drum corps is split into separate parts is time that isn't getting used to create a cohesive unit.
For many bands, practicing their drum scores is the only way to get everyone in the same room. Rudiments have traditionally been the domain of snare drummers. Flourishing is the responsibility of tenor drummers. And what about the bass drummer?
In the last several years I have received many requests from drummers on the mailing list for materials that an entire drum corps can work on together. "Drum Together" is a five page worksheet containing common phrases found in 2/4 marches (and the march style in general). The two bars on the left hand side of each page are played by snare drummers and the two bars on the right are played by bass and tenor drummers.
These phrases are intended for drummers who are in the first few years of their pipe band drumming journey--they contain only rudiments found in Level I of the Zero to 60 rudiment book and "Group A: The March Style" in The Bare Bones book. The phrases start simply and the difficulty level increases incrementally as you progress through them.
It is my hope that working on these exercises together will help your drum corps gel more quickly. For those interested in composing drum scores, please feel free to steal and manipulate these phrases for your own purposes. The more phrases you know and understand, the more options you will have when composing!
As always it is free to subscribe to the PipeBandDrummer.com mailing list. I will be posting a link in the "Subscribers" section of the site so you can access the PDF. In the coming weeks I will also be adding a play-along video on the Youtube channel.
Hope everyone is safe and healthy.