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!!

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