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snarescience.com • Advice for new tech
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Advice for new tech

Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:27 am
by jeffsmith0992
Hello everyone my name is Jeff. I'm am a new tech for the drumline at the high school I graduated from in 2011. I'm expected to take over as the main percussion tech next year but I have a lot of learning to do. I'm just looking for some good advice on how to teach the kids and on how to write warmups/cadences.

The playing level of the kids is about average of a high school line.

Thank you all in advance,
Jeff

Re: Advice for new tech

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:30 pm
by schorsquatch
Good questions, I'm still trying to figure it all out myself!

I think the most important thing you can do is be honest with yourself and with them. Share your knowledge with them, and admit it when you don't know. Follow-through on your commitments. Don't ever be late, for anything. Foster good relationships, but don't expect to be their friend. You need to be able to challenge them, and that means making them uncomfortable.

Don't be afraid to develop your own style, and stick with it. Its hard when everyone has youtube and hero worship (I call it shiny-object syndrome). Let them take ownership, but hold onto your role as the decider.

Keep your enthusiasm for the activity, and pass it along every opportunity you get. Your enthusiasm and your position as a role model are probably the best gifts you can give. Everything else springs from that.

Don't worry about writing. I think new techs think that writing is the most important aspect of the job; its not. There are a ton of cool beats out there, without you spending hours arranging. Your time is much better spent figuring your students out and learning how to connect with them.

Don't stop playing. You don't have to be a great player to be a great teacher, but you need to be able to understand technique inside and out to be able to explain it a million different ways. Playing is the only way to continuously educate yourself. Reference materials are a great help with this... and I'm sure if you search these forums you may find some that appeal to your style.

Now that I've posted the first response, I'm certain the dam will break, and plenty of sound advice will spring forth. I'm anxious to hear other people's opinions on it.

Re: Advice for new tech

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:36 pm
by schorsquatch
Oh.. and make sure their gear is well maintained and tuned. Keep them in new heads if you can. You have to be a little bit of an accountant too!

Re: Advice for new tech

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:38 pm
by schorsquatch
Last note while I'm mulling this over. Make sure you have a good relationship with the director, and you understand and implement their vision of what the band is supposed to be. If you disagree with the BD, and you make that an issue with the students, then you are not long for the job.

Re: Advice for new tech

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:35 am
by AkaBuddhaDrums
Biggest pet peeve from alumni/techs in the past is telling my students "Just clean it up..." without explanation.
Make sure that what you say has meaning, and that it supports what you're trying to fix.

I agree to foster a good relationship not only with your director but your Percussion Caption. Respect the ladder, and always make sure you're on the same page with your caption head. For example, I remember starting out as a tech, I really focused on micro problems and it would bug me when the caption would overlook them during full ensemble rehearsal. However, it wasn't until I became a caption head myself that you start looking at macro problems, and the micro problems need to be fixed outside of full ensemble time. Know what your scope as a tech is, what your caption wants you to do. Don't step on any toes, no one wants drama, or unprofessional/unnecessary rebellions within staff. Creates bad energy in the program on the staff level as well as the student level.

Writing - Don't worry about this. If you ever get to the point of where you need to arrange or write, that is a whole new topic.

Just worry about getting teaching down, weighing out the micro vs macro problems, how to fix the macro problems, and creating a good learning environment and culture for your program.

Re:

Posted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:30 am
by TrentKranz
Along with being able to explain multiple ideas in a variety of different ways, the students need to be able to apply critical thinking and have an ear for their own mistakes and we'll as the lines mistakes. I.e if a rep is dirty or someone ticked the entrance, they need to apply critical thinking to determine
1. What did I/we mess up
2. What can we/I do to fix the problem
3. How can we/I go about fixing the problem
All of this will need instruction and guidance in the beginning but as you and the line get more seasons of experience this process will become second nature. Essentially your goal is to enable them to teach themselves while only relying on you for a little guidance

Re: Re:

Posted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:09 pm
by Snare Playa
TrentKranz wrote:Along with being able to explain multiple ideas in a variety of different ways, the students need to be able to apply critical thinking and have an ear for their own mistakes and we'll as the lines mistakes. I.e if a rep is dirty or someone ticked the entrance, they need to apply critical thinking to determine
1. What did I/we mess up
2. What can we/I do to fix the problem
3. How can we/I go about fixing the problem
All of this will need instruction and guidance in the beginning but as you and the line get more seasons of experience this process will become second nature. Essentially your goal is to enable them to teach themselves while only relying on you for a little guidance
This can basically be applied to any problem you have in life. Great info!

Re: Advice for new tech

Posted: Fri May 13, 2016 5:34 pm
by bigdaddyflamtap
All of the above is great advice, here is some very specific advice to help you on your tech journey

Rehearsal tips

Most average HS books are pretty repetitive in nature, help the guys find the patterns and show them that this bar/lick is also in 5 different places (learn it once play it twice is a motto my kids get tired of hearing)

Due to the above mentioned repetitive nature of avg. HS books the measures between rehearsal marks generally "flow together". Watch out for transitional measures (measure before a rehearsal mark or tempo/style/key change - they tend to be land mines because they deviate from what's been established for 8/12/16 bars - the more time you spend on transitional measures the better your chance of bringing home some hardware.

I have found that in LOTS of cases the line can play measure A and measure B - the trick is getting them connected - spend time doing either/both of these things - run last count|first count of both measures (lots of reps when needed)/ build it backwards run counts 3&4 until correct, add count 2 and run 2,3,&4 etc.

If a kid just can't "feel" it or doesn't understand the sticking I have a method where the kid will crush both sticks onto the head and I play it on their sticks so that they get the tactile sensation (beware to do this you have to be able to play it reverse hand lead)

On a personal level

CHOP -you can't teach them to do it if you are not 100% on top of your game (before a camp I'll play 4-6 hrs a day for a full week to walk in the door "in shape" and focused)

Avoid comparisons with any other group or individual past or present. Comparisons have a tendency to inadvertently alienate people or make them feel inferior. The only line that matters is the one in front of you.

Pay attention to the "vibe" or "energy" in the room. If you beat a particular measure/section to death there is a point at which the kids mentally check out and you/they accomplish zero. Learn to push it almost to the zone out and then run a different section or give them a short (3 min) break.

Don't try to teach crazy unnecessary crap during the season - clean what they have PERIOD. Use the Spring to build their playing level by throwing them new rudiments/licks.

Good luck to you and your kids, I hope this is helpful to all!

Re: Advice for new tech

Posted: Sun May 15, 2016 4:25 am
by VoteLobster
bigdaddyflamtap wrote: If a kid just can't "feel" it or doesn't understand the sticking I have a method where the kid will crush both sticks onto the head and I play it on their sticks so that they get the tactile sensation (beware to do this you have to be able to play it reverse hand lead)
That's... really smart. I've had a piano teacher do similar but could never figure out something that would work on a drum. Mental note.