Have you ever wanted to learn the licks? You know, the ones that you hear someone else play and you think, "What was that?! Scott Johnson, aka ScoJo, has reached into his drum-bag-of-tricks and pulled out some of the most challenging licks just for you. Twenty-six of them, explained, broken down and demonstrated by Scojo himself.
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In this Modern Drummer exclusive, Blue Devils snare drummer Brandon Olander talks practice, preparation, and dealing with a camera crew. One of the featured performers is nineteen-year-old Blue Devils snare drummer Brandon Olander. In the off-season, I usually practice up to an hour a day, focusing primarily on basic exercises. These help me keep my technique in check. That means a lot of my time is spent working on long legato-stroke phrases, accent-to-tap differentiation, double strokes, rolls, and flam passages.
Anyone who has done drum corps can tell you that the daily practice routine is incredibly demanding. Most groups will have some variation of a visual rehearsal, followed by a music rehearsal, and finally a full-ensemble rehearsal. More often than not, though, the drum line will be playing their music during visual rehearsal and then marching during music rehearsal. Make sure you can play your audition material in time with a metronome while marking time with your feet.
Also, something that is often overlooked is the physical strength and endurance necessary to march with a drum corps. So show up to your audition physically fit. Finally, be confident and humble and show the staff how much you want to be there! Musically, the Blue Devils are always pushing the envelope. In our opener, we played an incredibly long passage with different triplet diddle figures, all while constantly switching our feet between a half-note and quarter-note pulse and and while constantly changing our formation.
That led into a snare feature that incorporated quick changes between buzzes and diddles and a lot of of diddle patterns. Our next feature was an accelerando phrase that began with two snare drummers and added in more drummers as the phrase grew and grew to its climax.
My band Warpstar just released our first album, Live From Your Stereo , and I utilize a lot of rolls, paradiddles, and flam patterns at fast tempos to create my own sound on drumset. The tempo that gets drilled into our feet and minds from marching also helps me be confident in my own timing on the kit. But I think there is also a deeper lesson in the drum corps experience: the way that the community thrives when everybody is channeling their own work ethic for the betterment of the group.
Marching in a drum corps is pretty selfless. You pay money to give up your summer break and be away from your loved ones to create a production with the rest of the corps. But there are thousands of people directly involved with the activity that give up just as much to help the corps along the way—people who volunteer on the food truck as volunteers, the drivers, the instructional staff, and the supportive parents.
So I think the lesson in all of this is that when people come together and act with selflessness, they can create something incredible that positively impacts society.
How did the experience of being filmed for TV affect this season for you? Was there any added pressure, or did it enhance the experience? The Blue Devils are one of the most-often filmed drum corps in history. The crew was friendly and accommodating. They were never too intrusive and only asked for interviews during extended breaks. It was cool to know that our season was going to be televised, so we worked hard to make it extra-special. As I mentioned, I am in a band called Warpstar, and we just released our first album.
What else are you involved in beside drum corps, musically and non-musically? Photos courtesy of Fuse, LLC. Related Articles. Email Address.
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