Drumline: STEP Edition

Chad Selmek

Artistic and Creative Endeavor

  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. 

My STEP Project took my great passion: drumming and gave me the tools to better understand it and hopefully one day teach others about it. My goal is to teach drumlines and spread my love of drumming to others. I learned how to write music with professional software, I spent time at band camps teaching kids and gathered the materials necessary to be a drumline instructor.

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

During my STEP project I found that I am a very capable teacher and as one of my students put it “doesn’t give up”. This was a huge confidence boost for me, as I never really taught a large group of people before this summer. With the help of those around me I was able to begin to understand what it means to be a drumline instructor. I assumed the kids I worked with would have better understand of the art of drumming and I quickly realized not everyone had the same background as I, and weren’t fortunate enough to take lessons. So I got to work with many different levels of experience and was challenged to make it challenging for everyone at every level. While working with the School for the Blind so many of my views on the marching arts changed, I was blown away to see these kids marching and playing as well as they were. I learned how to teach blind kids music and that made me such a better teacher within one week. The challenges I faced were very unique and incredibly eye opening and more importantly inspiring. Music is something that everyone can participate in no matter what and that is why I love it so much.

 

  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?

Working with my drumline instructor was an amazing experience, I had one of the best percussion arrangers at my finger tips to ask questions and pick his brain. The best way to learn an art form is to study from one of the best and luckily that is what I was able to do this summer. As amazing as he was the most important events took place at the Blind Band Camp, where I met volunteers who were some of the most amazing and inspiring people; from all different musical backgrounds coming here to help these kids learn more. But it was during my individual teaching of sectionals that really transformed me. I was able to work with the kids one on one and hone their skills, and as much as they wanted to goof off I stayed true to what I know, and at the end I know the kids loved it. One even told me “Thank you for not giving up on me, I’m not used to that” and I was genuinely touched. From that moment on I knew I would be fine and couldn’t wait until my next band camp.

 

  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?  

This change and upbringing from a musician to teach is incredible because it means I can spread the word and share my passion with others. I strongly believe music is one of the most important activities a kid can be a part of growing up. I am going into a career in the health care field so helping people is what I’ll be doing my whole life. This gives me an escape from that, but still being able to help others. I will teach music to others and that has always been my dream.

 

For photos of my project please see my blog posts from throughout the summer 🙂 And I will have plenty at my expo!!

The Sightless Step

The week of August 3rd-7th I was privileged enough to work with an extraordinary group of kids at the Ohio State School for the Blind. For those that don’t know this school teaches a wide range of kids with visual impairments, from completely blind to just very near sighted. Not only do they teach kids, they house them and feed them throughout the year, and when they graduate they can still come but, until they are 22. But what’s even more incredible is the fact that the music program fields a MARCHING band every year, yes a BLIND marching band. These kids overcome all adversity to partake in one of the most traditional forms of music in the United States, and do it while not seeing the music or where they are going. Now, the students who need more help do have “marching assistants” who are volunteers which help guide the students around the field. My job was less of guiding them and more of teaching the kids their music for the week. Which in in-of it self was very complicated as half the kids didn’t know how to read music if they could even see it.

The human brain acts in very strange ways, and as one sense is taken away normally all others are enhanced. This is the case for these kids, they may not be able to see the music but their ability to listen and memorize parts and play what I play is incredible. I would break down songs and play their parts while explaining the patterns to them, all the while they are memorizing everything I say and play. By the end of the week the kids were marching to five different songs at various tempos.

This week not only offered me the chance to work with a drumline but it gave me a chance to learn how I teach others and to improve on my teaching skills. I had so much fun with this camp that I plan on  using all my resources from STEP to work more band camps next year, and with the valuable experience of this camp I know I can grow to be a great percussion instructor.

Please enjoy some pictures I took during the camp:

The Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band

The Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band

Rehearsal

Rehearsal

Full Uniform

Full Uniform

Percussion Section silly picture!

Percussion Section silly picture!

The Ohio State School for the Blind

The Ohio State School for the Blind

Marching Assistant helping a student

Marching Assistant helping a student

Marching Assistant helping a student

Marching Assistant helping a student

Marching Assistant helping a student

Marching Assistant helping a student

My first step

Date: July 12-13,2015

The Ohio State University Marching Band hosted a two day Summer Clinic for High School students interested in auditioning for the band in the future. We had over 150 kids from over 20 different states come to learn from members of the marching band. In the percussion section I worked with 17 snares, 3 basses, 6 tenors and 2 cymbals with the help of the other percussion counselors Scott, Megan and Alex. On Sunday our day started with training on how to spot child abuse, I can’t say this was a great way to start the day but I am glad no one spotted any signs and we didn’t need to use our training. Day one was all about fundamentals and we taught them all of them. Everything from Right Face, to Regual 8-to-5 step, Box TTR, Step Kicks and Hats off. The kids picked up well and although they got a little wet, by the end of the first day they knew the School Songs after our sectionals, and were able to march them up and down the field. Day Two was early beginning at 8 am and lasted until 9 pm, but was necessary as the kids learned more School Songs such as Hang on Sloopy and the Ramp sequence. At the end of the night we all took photos to commemorate the event and they even put on a show for the parents. I was proud of everyone for all their hard work. I was able to teach marching and lead a sectional for the first time, I have lots to work on but I now know what to do and I can’t wait for my next opportunity to teach. Here are some pictures from the Clinic….

Bass Drum Sectional.

Bass Drum Sectional.

Snare Drum.

Snare Drum.

Ohio Stadium.

Ohio Stadium.

Percussion Students.

Percussion Students.

The Final Performance.

The Final Performance.

Stepping with a purpose

Date: June 30, 2015

I have been selected to be a councelor for the Ohio State Marching Band Summer Clinic for prospective high school students AND I got a job through Mark to be a band camp instructor for the Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band. I am extremely excited for these opportunities and to finally get into the meat of my STEP project!

Stepping together

Date: June 29, 2015

The Drum Corp International All-Star Review was today and took place in Bowling Green’s football stadium. Every year some of the top groups come to northwest Ohio to showcase their performances and I had the opportunity to test out my new camera on moving targets and more importantly musical ensembles. As a member of the OSUMB we have photographers who travel with us and take pictures of the band, a job which I think could be very fun and so this is the first time I got to take pictures of bands and I can say I would love to do that for highschool groups, capturing music in a silent photo is very beautiful. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the event….

The Drum Majors.

The Drum Majors.

Crossmen.

Crossmen.

Carolina Crown

Carolina Crown

The Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers.

The Cadets.

The Cadets.

 

Pictures of my Steps

Date: June 22, 2015

Today is the day! I ordered my camera a week ago and it arrived today! I have always loved photography and now with the help of STEP I can actually have a nice camera to advance this passion of mine, especially through the window of music and band. I bought a Canon EOS Rebel Series SL-1 Camera base, with an 18-55mm lens and another 75-300 telephoto lens. I took pictures around my yard and enjoyed messing with all the different features this camera has! Attached are some of those pictures….

American Flag

American Flag

Lawn decoration

Lawn decoration

The Puppy

The Puppy

Stepping into music

Date: May 28, 2015

I have been watching tutorial videos on how to use the software Sibelius on YouTube, I think one of the greatest parts of STEP and the iPad house was learning how to use technology to my advantage. I have been using my iPad to look up videos while I work on my computer with the software, this has come in handy already. Most of what I have learned has been for writing music  for bands and not specifically drumlines though so I will need to meet with Mark to pick at his brain.

The Step before the Step

Date: May 25, 2015

I am in the setup phase for my project, I know what I need to get done so now I just have to do it. But before I can start my project I need to buy the necessary materials….1) The Software 2)The Materials 3) The Camera

All three of these parts are in the works or completed, I just downloaded the software Sibelius to my computer and messed around with it. There is a very steep learning curve and I will need to consult Mark about it.

I have ordered my stick bag, mallets and Dr. Beat metronome. All necessary to work and teach at camps.

I have researched the best cameras to buy and talked with friends and family who know about cameras.

I am getting excited!

Taking the first Step….

Hello All!

My name is Chad Selmek and I am a participant in the 2014-15 STEP program, I was accepted into the iPad house and continued with my project through the Artistic and Creative Endeavor section. Today is July 16th and I am about halfway done with my project, but I have been keeping track of my process so far and I would like to share with you my thoughts on the early stages of my work…so please enjoy the next few posts!