It was August of 2000 when I first experienced the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy. I had no idea what I was getting into… I was a freshly chosen drum major, only a junior. Seven years later, I’m still involved – now as a staff member.
As a brand new elementary music teacher and asst. marching band director, I know the overwhelming feeling of thinking, “Ahhh! Now I’m REALLY in charge! What do I do now?!” Directors: you can have all the training in the world and know all the procedures and methodologies but still feel frustrated and confused. If you didn’t already know, you can at least relax a little in knowing that if you leave your drum major(s) with Mr. Parks, you’ll get amazing results.
The camp is always going to be hot, tiring and it is not for the faint of heart – but neither is the duty of being a drum major. As a past student of the Academy I learned invaluable lessons on teamwork, leadership, conducting, being a positive role model on and off the field (and even during off-season!), cooperation, dedication, and of course how to be the best drum major you can possibly be (without ego!). The camp is time well spent and the memories your students will make are those that they will never forget – as a recent college graduate I know for a fact that there are several large Facebook/MySpace groups dedicated to the Drum Major Academy and/or being a High School/College Drum Major! Our students and staff members are all over the place and the networking opportunities are plentiful!
Also, if you’re not 100% sure of how this marching band gig works, maybe you’ll be able to learn a thing or two from the drum majors you send. It’s always great to refresh the program – marching styles vary from school to school (and region to region) and we all don’t use the same hand or foot positioning: BUT THAT’S OK!
The important thing to remember is that DMA brings important life lessons to the leaders of your band that have the potential to make the season a true success. I guarantee that your students will come back refreshed with a new outlook and mindset for the season. It’s like a eager child on Christmas morning and there’s NO better way to start off your band camp!!!
We hope to see you around this summer!