If This Drum Could Talk


If this drum could talk: The drum I marched in 1997 at Spirit of Atlanta. 

I got this drum from a friend a few years ago who bought it from one of our old corps directors BITD in 98. After 2 decades, we were switching to being a Premier endorser so there was no swapping out our current line for a new one with a steep discount. This was year 5 of 6 marching drum corps before 6 years of teaching it. The new Ludwig/Musser Ultimate marching drums are a big improvement!

What I went through that summer majorly influenced the way I play today and is the reason for how I approach teaching grips, stroke types and flowing with gravity today.


I had serious carpal tunnel inflammation to full on carpal tunnel syndrome toward the last 2 or 3 weeks on tour. It was from playing that tenor ( through the head) technique on kevlar with the bad Pro Mark sticks of those days that felt very light, hollow. We usually got boxes of bricks with some internally cracked that had little to no rebound due to the the choice of wood and the "balance" of the stick.

The snare line got in big trouble one day for buying and using Vic Firth Ralph Hardimons one day and our caption head/arranger from 95 & 96, was THE rep for Pro Mark but he was not on the road with us!!!! We were on the cover of Drum Corps World with VF Ralph Hardimons LOL!!! That's a story for another time.. 🤦🏾‍♂️

There came points on tour when I had to ice my wrist at night on the bus and take tylenol. I could not press my thumb to my pointer finger at times. I Could not lift my wrist at times and I had to go warmup at breakfast on my own to get things working for the day. When tour was over, I didn't drum for 2 months to give my hand a break and heal.

What I did after that resulted in the best my hands have ever been in my life! Relaxed control (playing a different more fluid technique of course...) at any dynamic level into the 230 bpm zone with no more inflammation, pain or anything. No problems since

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