Education Director: "Move forward while standing still"

Dennis DeLucia outlines Indoor Percussion possibilities

USSBA's Indoor percussion season is just around the corner — it's fun, it's educational, a great use of students' time, and—does not require marching!

US Scholastic Band Association's percussion Education Director Dennis DeLucia calls it "moving forward while standing still."  He says some schools haven't participated in Indoor because "they can’t get time in the gym, can’t afford to hire a drill writer and staff, or just don’t have enough time to do another 'marching' thing."

There is however, an easy solution, and DeLucia is signing up schools now at USSBAIndoor.org for the start of the 2010 season in January. He suggests schools offer the three "standstill" classifications: basic, basic-plus, and intermediate/advanced skills, in which battery, pit and electronics can perform. The performance can be based on any material from fall’s band book to original compositions without needing to drill or having to use the gym.

"What a great way to occupy your percussion students’ time and talent," DeLucia said.

From the standpoint of schools, parents and students, the rewards of indoor participation are many. DeLucia said for the kids, indoor drumline participation has an equalizing factor because, like bands and drum corps, there's a place for everyone.

"The activity creates an environment in which "males and females... tall kids and short kids, skinny kids and heavy kids... freshmen and seniors... honor students and struggling students stand side-by-side while working towards a common goal. The practice and performances are fulfilling and rewarding as all students benefit from positive psychological and sociological benefits that help each participant mature and accept responsibilities," DeLucia said. "Have I mentioned that it’s FUN?"


Participation in indoor also teaches valuable life lessons such as dedication, hard work, individual and collective responsibilities and respect for others. "It’s educational. Isn’t that what schools are supposed be?" notes DeLucia. A good instructor will teach from the perspective of respect and positive reinforcement, motivate and inspire the students, analyze, communicate and prescribe solutions and use the competition "as a factor, not an end-all." Ideally, it is also transferable to drumset, timpani, mallets, concert snare, and the other instruments.

For parents, a big plus for indoor percussion is that it keeps kids occupied in a beneficial use of time and energy. It's also an activity in which parents share in the pride of accomplishment and enjoy with their students.

DeLucia urges band directors to join the effort, and sign up now with USSBAIndoor.org for the indoor percussion season. After all, it's hard enough dealing with drummers, said DeLucia, "...and then the fall season ends and [band directors] really can’t live with them!" Why not have fun together?

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