Ideas for Visuals?

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MHSxDrumline Offline
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Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:19 pm



Ok.. so my line doesnt have an instructor at the moment.. What would be a good way to turn a boring show into an exciting one, with Visuals?.. Because our Director normally gives us relatively easy sets, and they get quite boring.. What would be a good way to spice things up, yet look professional at the same time?
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billc36 Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:29 pm



Play cleanly.
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MHSxDrumline Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:53 pm



That is the problem, we do.. but Other lines get high scores than we do because of their visuals! In fact, one line had "Okay" skill, and they had amazing visuals.. They scored High percussion.. Our sheet told us that we had great Dynamics, Great Timing, Great Playing all around.. but It also said that we need More Visuals..
"Practice doesn't make perfect.. Perfect Practice makes perfect" -My old Drum Instructor
"Drums aren't an instrument.. they are simply an excuse for being awesome" -Me
"SQUIRREL" -Bluecoats 2011
"Like a boss.. dut dut dut.. Girl, get yo mouth away from my *buzzroll*" -Bluecoats 2010


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Andymac Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:08 pm



Take a picture of that sheet and post it. I really want to see it.


MHSxDrumline Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:03 pm



Director has it :/.. He is stingy about those type of things.. but Ill see if he can get me a copy.. :).. Also, I dont have a problem with it, but why do you want to see the sheet? Do you think Im lying or something? Plus you shouldn't require the sheet to answer my question.. I asked a question and I deserve an answer, is that too difficult? Let me RE-STATE my Question so that it is clear... Does anyone have any Ideas for Visuals so that next year, we can make things look attractive?
"Practice doesn't make perfect.. Perfect Practice makes perfect" -My old Drum Instructor
"Drums aren't an instrument.. they are simply an excuse for being awesome" -Me
"SQUIRREL" -Bluecoats 2011
"Like a boss.. dut dut dut.. Girl, get yo mouth away from my *buzzroll*" -Bluecoats 2010


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Buranri Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:54 am



I think he's just saying that more than likely, there's something you missed on that sheet. I doubt any decent judge would place a clean line with no visuals (beyond good marching and drill) over a dirty line. IMO, there are a few things that could be happening.

1. You're not as clean as you think
2. You played the music clean, but marched badly
3. The judge is an idiot
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MHSxDrumline Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:49 am



Our drill wasnt complicated whatsoever, so that may have been one factor.. and I tend to think too much of my line, so maybe we werent as clean as we thought.. but I do know that the judge liked flashy movements and stick tricks.. Because we were observing the band ahead of us (the one's that got High percussion) and they were doing crazy stuff and their drill was quite amazing.. I just think that the judge may have gotten bored? Idk.. but still my question stands..
"Practice doesn't make perfect.. Perfect Practice makes perfect" -My old Drum Instructor
"Drums aren't an instrument.. they are simply an excuse for being awesome" -Me
"SQUIRREL" -Bluecoats 2011
"Like a boss.. dut dut dut.. Girl, get yo mouth away from my *buzzroll*" -Bluecoats 2010


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nickstix91 Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:13 am



Its hard to place visuals in your music/show if we dont have a theme for the show or music content to place it. There are always the basics of using back sticking, hi-moms, simple stick flips...but it needs to fit into your music.
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:15 am



Nick is right. Its much easier to see the music or show then decide where to pit the visuals.
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lij2015 Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:22 am



Beef up the music?
I'd rather watch a show with really cool and challenging music then some damn sticks tricks any day
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billc36 Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:40 am



I will pay attention to a line playing cleanly over a line doing flashy visuals and mediocre playing any day of the week.

Also, speaking as a judge, musicality and cleanliness figures far more in to scoring than stick tricks.

I've always seen an over abundance of stick tricks as a group that's hiding their playing skills, or lack there of.
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MHSxDrumline Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:03 pm



But our music is so easy though.. He writes us crap music, and we dont ever get anything good out of it.. Our Drum break was like 13 measures long this year :/
"Practice doesn't make perfect.. Perfect Practice makes perfect" -My old Drum Instructor
"Drums aren't an instrument.. they are simply an excuse for being awesome" -Me
"SQUIRREL" -Bluecoats 2011
"Like a boss.. dut dut dut.. Girl, get yo mouth away from my *buzzroll*" -Bluecoats 2010


'10 4th Bass
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ConorD Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:31 pm



Was it clean?


Andymac Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:05 pm



If the music isn't as difficult as you want it to be, rewrite parts of it and beef it up.
If you want visuals, make them up yourself. Look on youtube for some examples, or just get creative.
MHSxDrumline wrote:In fact, one line had "Okay" skill, and they had amazing visuals.. They scored High percussion.. Our sheet told us that we had great Dynamics, Great Timing, Great Playing all around.. but It also said that we need More Visuals..
Are you sure they were just okay? I understand being in high school and thinking your line is better than others and the reason you don't win is something you can't help. I'm guilty of that. But your view of that line is most likely biased because it's not your line. There's no good reason for a line that plays okay, but has amazing visuals to win high drums over a clean line without visuals.
So here's what you can do music-wise. If it's dirty, make it clean. If it's kinda clean, make it clean. If it's clean, make it cleaner.


MHSxDrumline Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:31 pm



@Conor, Yes it was.. It could have been cleaner, but it was clean for a highschool line! and Next year, Since Im taking charge, I am rewriting the music.. I HATE easy music whether its clean or not (Its horrible for me to say that, but its true).. Of Course, I wont try to exceed our strengths.. Im planning on holding sectionals on the weekends next year.. So we can get High Percussion :D
"Practice doesn't make perfect.. Perfect Practice makes perfect" -My old Drum Instructor
"Drums aren't an instrument.. they are simply an excuse for being awesome" -Me
"SQUIRREL" -Bluecoats 2011
"Like a boss.. dut dut dut.. Girl, get yo mouth away from my *buzzroll*" -Bluecoats 2010


'10 4th Bass
'11 Center Snare
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billc36 Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:41 pm



Just make sure your band director is cool with you rewriting parts. Having sectionals will not all of a sudden make you win high percussion trophies.

There is much more to marching band than silly pieces of plastic.
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MHSxDrumline Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:15 pm



I dont ONLY want High Percussion.. But I want our line to work together to be the best we possibly can.. I want to be able to look back and see where we started and how far weve come.. Progress is really what Im striving for.. I really want to see everybody in the line improve throughout the whole marching season.. But High Percussion would be nice!
"Practice doesn't make perfect.. Perfect Practice makes perfect" -My old Drum Instructor
"Drums aren't an instrument.. they are simply an excuse for being awesome" -Me
"SQUIRREL" -Bluecoats 2011
"Like a boss.. dut dut dut.. Girl, get yo mouth away from my *buzzroll*" -Bluecoats 2010


'10 4th Bass
'11 Center Snare
'12 Center Snare- Section Leader


Lwheeler4 Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:39 pm



are there any vids of your line from this past season?
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MHSxDrumline Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:50 pm



No, but there will be this coming year :)
"Practice doesn't make perfect.. Perfect Practice makes perfect" -My old Drum Instructor
"Drums aren't an instrument.. they are simply an excuse for being awesome" -Me
"SQUIRREL" -Bluecoats 2011
"Like a boss.. dut dut dut.. Girl, get yo mouth away from my *buzzroll*" -Bluecoats 2010


'10 4th Bass
'11 Center Snare
'12 Center Snare- Section Leader


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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:36 pm



I don't think it's possible to do well score wise because of visuals. Visuals are not written into a show. To make the line better, have hang outs with the drumline. Go to Steak N Shake or IHOP after shows. Make it fun outside of rehearsal then it will be fun during rehearsal. Have chop outs outside of rehearsal so you will be good during rehearsal.


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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:18 pm



I'm pretty sure no one answered his OP...sorry MHSxDrumline, apparently we're all your mother and need to teach you a valuable lesson that I'm sure you already understand, but CLEARLY, YOU DON'T.


Hope you find ideas for visuals! Use your imagination and if you're really hurting to implement them, just make sure the visual (s) does not take away from the presentation of the music, whether emotionally or audibly.
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bassplace Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:24 am



Memphonian wrote:I'm pretty sure no one answered his OP...sorry MHSxDrumline, apparently we're all your mother and need to teach you a valuable lesson that I'm sure you already understand, but CLEARLY, YOU DON'T.


Hope you find ideas for visuals! Use your imagination and if you're really hurting to implement them, just make sure the visual (s) does not take away from the presentation of the music, whether emotionally or audibly.
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:52 pm



I think we got caught up with the fact that playing cleanly is better than having flashy visuals. I'm sure by now you get the point. I'd say it depends on the shower and your parts and a number of other things. Look on youtube and look at some visuals. I'd say your season is over right now, so just start next season. Utilize your concept, figure out what visuals will enhance the visual general effect of your band. Theme related ones would be the best, but that's just my opinion. If you feel daring, try some spins, or some overhyping some climactic parts or something, seems to work for a lot of groups I've seen.
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spartey Offline
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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:27 pm



The thing is, most high school music writers only write a sort of skeleton for the drumline book that shows when the line should be playing and what sort of groove should be happening. This is something that band directors don't realize and unless you have a percussion director, you are stuck playing a skeleton of a part. You seem like you want to take charge of this matter and put some meat and potatoes in your show. What I would suggest to you is going to another nearby high school (one with a percussion director), tell your story, and ask them politely if they would help you to rewrite some of the show. Unless they are a total jerk, they'll at least offer some advice. Most percussion guys are pretty chill so i don't think you'll have a problem. If there isn't a nearby high school, go to a music store and ask if they have any staff familiar with marching percussion. If you're lucky, these guys might even offer to come out everyone now and then and tech a bit.

Now as for your visuals. You just have to make sure that you aren't overflowing your show with visuals, because you don't want to distract the judges from focal points of the show and you want them to still take you seriously. Seriously also means trying to avoid blatantly inappropriate visuals. A very good time for a visual can sometimes be the drum break (despite how long it may be). What is always a good visual for this point is doing some step outs to catch judge's eyes and let them know that they're eyes need to be ON YOU. I don't mean doing back flips and stuff, but a small body movement doesn't hurt. The other visuals during the rest of the show also shouldn't be extremely flashy. Doing a small stick twirl or a movement with your arm. Remember: Stick visuals and other sorts of visuals should not be there just because, they need purpose such as counting rests or setting up an attack. To do this they must have some sort of pulse in them, whether that pulse is visible by your audience or not, it needs to be there to you.

Another thing to mix it up a bit is where your sticks are at when you aren't playing. Many drumlines just hold their sticks together over their drums as if they are at attention which is obviously fine. But try maybe having your sticks at your sides (remember to not sway your arms though because it looks quite bad) and then quickly bringing them up before a big attack. It changes up the pattern of "play, sticks in, play sticks in, etc." I wouldn't suggest you do it ALL the time but it's OK, and in my opinion can look a bit more bad ass at times.

I get it, all high school lines want to sort of imitate corps lines and look good. Mind you though, everything iv'e said come SECOND to music and drill. That means everyone knows their music and the line is clean, and everyone knows their drill spots and nails them. Good luck this next season and I hope this helped.


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Re: Ideas for Visuals?

Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:40 pm



There are two kinds of visuals: body and stick.

Body can include movements of the feet, legs, knees, arms, head, etc. Ballet is the foundation of body movement that you see almost any world class drumline do. Grab a book or some instructional videos on ballet (there is some stuff on Youtube). Start with learning the 5 ballet foot positions. Learn the tendu, plie, and releve to have some basic movements to incorporate with the positions. From there, get creative and throw some original ideas on top of the ballet basics. I love what Rhythm X has done with head movements (they've taken those a whole step further this year too). When executed with good technique, the ballet arm positions can look amazing in various marching formations.

There are, of course, the standard stick visuals mentioned above. Backsticks and flatspins are some of the easiest to add in that even beginners can handle without compromising clean playing. Putting a couple consecutive notes on one hand can easily open the other to do a spin, double backstick, stick toss, etc. Stick visuals don't have to be flashy tricks. A simple movement or pose can add a bold statement to the right part of your show. The best stick visuals done by my drumlines have almost all been created by the students. They are always poses or rhythmic motions.

If you are trying to impress the judges, my students get more credit on the tapes from every caption judge (music, GE, visual, percussion) for body movement than for stick visuals. You only get credit for it if it is clean; we had to spend time in front of the big mirrors in the choir room to ensure we stayed in time with each other and had the same exact body alignment. Executing correct dance technique in time while playing is just as hard as marching if not harder, and it is well within any of the 4 captions to give you credit for playing cleanly while executing body.

The key to executing visuals effectively, whether body movement or stick visuals, is to make the movement musical. This will please the visual judges as well as GE and percussion. The movement has to be involved in the rhythmic pulse of the music at the time and must be executed cleanly. It also doesn't hurt to have the visual relate to what's happening in the show. Shooting your sticks like a gun might look cool in the mirror, but it will look stupid if it has nothing to do with the show theme or the point in the show's story where you do it.


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