Drumline Review

I recently read over a review of a movie I enjoyed, Drumline, since it was touted as generating a lot of hate mail from marching band lovers around the country. It was written by Larry Carroll and I must say that it was so brutal it was…funny…to me at least and I’m a marching band lover.

I spent all 4 years of high school dedicated to the marching band as a drummer and was even the drumline captain my last two years. From reading the review, it’s quite apparent that Mr. Carroll is certainly not a band person and has no appreciation for it whatsoever. With that in mind I can understand his review, but probably think he was more critical of the movie than it really deserved.

I find that most movies have highly questionable aspects to them if you truly take the time to forget about “suspension of belief” and begin analyzing the movie truly as real life events. I thought the movie Drumline was enjoyable for most including kids and didn’t need a Star Wars level plot to enjoy. Nick Cannon was a jerk in the movie – no doubt. But not un-typical in real-life he still got the girl being one 😉 Carroll’s review also criticizes the R. Kelly music being played by the band in the beginning. He obviously doesn’t recognize that despite R. Kelly’s situation and Michael Jackson’s, their music will always be enjoyed by plenty of people

While he praised the musical content of the movie and the presentation of it, as a former marching band member, drumline captain, and someone knowledgeable of Drum & Bugle Corps International(DCI), that was the content I found somewhat worthy of fair criticism. Depending on where you go to college and play in the marching band, the style and musicality of what is played will differ drastically. What is constant however, in my expert (lol) opinion is that DCI is the highest level of play and competition for marching band style music. No where else is it required that your skill level be amongst the highest in the country, your physical fitness be able withstand a grueling schedule and athletic performance, and you’d be considered lucky to even get to audition to be down…

But anyhow, check out the review here if you haven’t already and let me know what you think about it 🙂

4 Replies to “Drumline Review”

  1. Your are right in that DCI would never hold a competition like BET did Lenfu. DCI is very competitive and has full season of competitions actually leading up to a big championship every summer that is usually televised on your local public broadcast channel. Many people that are aware of DCI try to participate just so that they can take their skills to the next level.

    The movie Drumline was more characteristic of southern-style HBCU college marching bands while other typical college marching bands have a more traditional style of play. The latter I actually prefered because as an instrumentalist it was important to me to advance my skills as much as possible versus being able to dance with my drum. Before I decided to become an engineer I considered being a percussion instructor at a high level so my skills had to be tight…

    The very end of the movie actually showed a higher level of difficulty than the rest of the movie as far as the drumline was concerned but most of what was displayed was actor-turned-drummer level music. Everyone in the DCI corps is under 21 (age-limit).

    Anyhow…I can talk all this band talk forever – lol. I’ll let someone else have the podium 🙂

  2. I have yet to see Drumline. I hear that what they drum and what you hear don’t match most of the time but I think you have to know what to watch for to notice. Being a band director, I think that drumline is key to helping kids see that band isn’t just for the geeky, nerdy kids. Anyone can excell and be successful in band. From what I understand, the movie is quite Hollywood and not necessarily accurate but if it makes kids look at the band world (and it IS a world in and of itself) in a more positive light, good for it.

    DCI is a different form of competiton and intensity than that of the black university bands. There are several mostly black universities that have HUGE Battle of the Bands like they show on Drumline (I did see a snipit of that part) and the competition is harsh there but it’s more a competition for social reasons than musical ones. I have worked for a drum corps and have students currently attending Texas Southern and Grambling and I get to hear many stories. I’m sure they are much more fun to hear than Drumline is to watch. LOL.

    Someday, I’ll sit down and watch it…..

  3. Very true Benford! I think the movie serves it’s purpose which is along the lines you described. I have appreciations for the black university bands, DCI, and predominantly white unversity bands, but the source of appreciation is different for each. I love DCI personally and would have enjoyed participating but I choose to take advantage of a long-term summer internship program right out of high school instead. I did audition for the Colts though which was fun. DCI is intense and you learn much faster and gain confidence quickly in one summer than you do in 4 years of high school marching band in my opinion/experience. I didn’t learn of DCI until I was a senior unfortunately though…

    Anyhow, welcome to the site Benford! Where are you a band director at?

  4. I’m a band director at Stony Point HS in Round Rock, TX. We’re a fairly new school (next year will be year 7) and it’ll be my 2nd year there as a full time band director. Before last year, I was an elementary school music teacher (K-5) and a marching/brass tech for Stony Point. It is SO much fun working with those kids. I’ve got 2 marching Revolution (a Div 3 Corps) and one alumnus who is DRUM MAJOR for Revolution. That’s the corps I used to work for but they got their spots all on their own. I’m such a proud band momma…..

    Okay, so I just gave you my resume. Sorry about that. I just love what I do and never mind sharing with people who may be interested. 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.