Tom Aungst is a member of the Cadets, Drum Corps International, World Drum Corps, and Winter Guard International Hall of Fame. His work is best known from the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps and Dartmouth High School, where he has amassed countless gold medals and drum trophies. Tom shares his journey from member, to instructor, to designer, and how he has stayed relevant in the drumline medium for the last 40 years.
Read the transcript of the podcast below.
Dan Schack (00:00:09):
This episode of that Dan band show is brought to you by the captain U recruiting platform powered by stack sports. Captain U is breaking into the band space to offer support to high school students who are looking to perform and at the collegiate level, with over 10 years in the recruiting industry and over 3 million student profiles created over the years, captain U has long been a leader in athlete, advocacy, and support. Now it’s time to provide that same support to band performers. Captain U creates a direct line of communication between musicians and college band directors. With the LinkedIn style file performers can put their best foot forward with searchable criteria like their position, academic info and test scores, audition videos, direct recommendations, and potential majors. Performers can directly message college directors to learn about scholarship opportunities, a university’s academic strengths, and ultimately place themselves at the right institution. If you are a high school band student looking to perform at the next level, go to captain u.com and create a free profile today. It takes less than five minutes and will save you time and money. And for a limited time, we are offering performers 50% off an upgraded profile by using the promo code T D BS 21. That right, 50% off an upgraded profile on captain u.com by using the code T DBS 21 at checkout sign up on captain U gain exposure and get recruited powered by stack sports.
Dan Schack (00:01:38):
What’s up, everybody we are rolling today is a very, very spec the day for me personally. I know this is gonna be big one for the listeners that have been, you know, following me on this journey, whether it’s in, in the current podcast or in the previous one, but the guest we have today is definitely one that I’ve been waiting to, to kind of prod and get on here and be able to sit down and, you know, some of my like personal questions from just coming up through drum core, being a snare drummer from the Northeast. So very glad to welcome today, Tom S before I ran Ray, Tom, welcome. Just talk to us a little bit about where you’re from, you know, what your background is and how that led you sort of into what you do today.
Tom Aungst (00:02:28):
Yeah. Well thank you for, for having me on here. I always get excited about this talking about drumming drum, core darkness, whatever the pageantry world, right. It’s awesome. What did it get started? Well, let’s see, I started back in in the seventies and it’s funny, you know, when my mom used to talk about the forties and, you know, I was whatever the sixties and seventies that when I say seventies to people, it’s probably that, that big of a gap, but right. I actually started my marching career in this Baton core called the boutiques and the colors were pink, white, and black, and it was, we did all parades and we competed against the sparkies and the Matador. And I played rudimental bass, which was just kind of a thin base drum. And we did you play a lot of civil root events?
Tom Aungst (00:03:22):
Like, so as a kind of a middle schooler, you know, I marched there got my experience. My private teacher, John rom who taught all of us at the boutiques, also taught us privately and then taught us at the high school. So I went to Wilson high school in outside of Redding, Pennsylvania. You pretty good program. And so he taught all of us and, you know, and then taught the drum line at Wilson and then taught the Buccaneers. So after marching in the boutiques he said, Hey, do you wanna come over? And, you know, marching the box. I mean, it’s in Redding. I, you know, Wilson was a right there kind of thing. So he brought a bunch of us over. I think I was when I tried out I was 15, cause we tried out in, I think it was November of 78.
Tom Aungst (00:04:15):
And so back then, it was like, if you showed up and you had some assembly of hold the sticks, you could play something you ran. So that was the tryout. And yeah, so I marched bucks 79 and 80. And, and then funny thing is same guy. This guy, John rom somehow was hired at Garfield through some connections that he had. And he said, Hey, same kids. Right. Or I think there were four of us that had gone up. So he said, you wanna come up to Garfield? And so my senior year in high school, I, you know drove three, I think it was three hours up to Garfield at the time. And again showed up and no real formal audition. It was basically, you know, again, you could play, you were in I know a lot of people were kind of like, you know, well, why are you going to Garfield?
Tom Aungst (00:05:04):
You know, cause Garfield in 80 they were 10th. And then I think 79, they didn’t make finals. So why aren’t you going to the bridge, man? Why aren’t you going to the Crossman? Why aren’t you going? And I think it was one of those, like, you know, my private teacher you know, I was connected to him and the same group that went boutiques to the buckers. Now he’s bringing us to Garfield. It just, you know, you go with your friends. Right. So, but it kind of worked out for me cuz a couple years later, you know, we win DCI and people like, oh, maybe you did make the right decision, you know? And then from there you, that’s why I mark 81, 2, 3 Garfield, the snare line and 85, I was snare tech cadets or Garfield 85, 86, 87 8. And then my first you know, book was 89.
Tom Aungst (00:05:56):
I became the caption head up until 2008. You know, then I thought that was it. I was gonna retire kind of move on, do some other stuff. And you know, ended up back at the blue stars for a bunch of years. Did some consulting with the Caballeros the hurricanes actually, where I think you did some of your, you know, first years of marching and then crown for a couple years 15, 16, and then you know, was asked to come back where it all started. So 17 came back to cadets and you know, now my role is basically I still write the battery stuff, but I’m no longer the caption head. I’m the kind of the program facilitator slash you know program coordinator, you know, for the group. So I think I’ve kind of some respects come, come full circle, but just all those decades of experience, I feel, I finally feel like I, I have some semblance of like, I know what I’m doing makes any sense.
Tom Aungst (00:06:58):
Like after all these years I kind of go, oh, okay, I guess this all, it all makes sense of why I went through the journey I went through for, you know, four decades. So in a couple minutes, that’s kind of the, my marching history of, of how I got you know, to where I’m at and you know, obviously a lot of, and you’re a Westchester guy, right? Yes. I went to but his funny thing I went to I wasn’t, I wasn’t great in school. I was kind of average and the guidance counselor said, listen, you know, I mean, you gotta imagine back then, it’s like guidance. Counselor’s like, well, you don’t have great grades. You know, maybe you should go either the business track or do you want to go to VO? You know? And I was like, well, no, I don’t wanna go to VO.
Tom Aungst (00:07:41):
I don’t really have those skills. And so I kind of went, kind of went the business route until the band director heard, well, what do you want to do? I said, well, I wanna kind of a career in music. And so he said, well, you need to do this, this, this, and this, and, you know, get theory and all this kind of stuff. So my band director at the time, his name Bruce Sophie’s really kind of guided me, but I was so in awe of him because at Wilson, he wrote the, the book, the win book, right. He wrote the drill, he could play every instrument. So I looked at him and went, there’s no way I can be a band director. I mean, I can bar, you know, I can drum that’s about it. So, so when I went to Westchester, I said, well, if I go to Westchester and it’s music, ed, I have my summers off to do drum core.
Tom Aungst (00:08:28):
Cause that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to do drum core. And so I said, okay, well let’s get the degree and let’s figure it out. Never thinking I’m gonna be a band director. And you know, I’ve been at Dartmouth 30 years, I was a band director, you know, I teach flute in the elementary school. So it’s just funny where you say, yeah, yeah, I’m not gonna do this. And then, you know, that’s, that’s you know, who I’ve kind of become is is a, is a band director, but I just remember going through college and, and you gotta remember back then, like, you know, if you, if you taught at a drum core, I mean, a lot of drum cores don’t play pay well anyway, but back then, you know, there were, there were a lot of guys, even in, even in Garfield that probably did a lot of the summer and was supposed to get paid and they did.
Tom Aungst (00:09:16):
So the word on the street was like, yeah, well, you know, how you gonna make a living at this? I mean, I, I heard it time and time again from friends, peers, professors, you know, like, well, something you’re gonna grow up and figure out that this is not gonna work out for you. Right. So I D know, maybe, maybe some of these people are listening on the podcast and I’ve been a pretty, you know, I’m not a millionaire, but you know, I definitely made a living and it’s a passion, right. It’s like teaching at Dartmouth is not a job. Sometimes I’m like, this is just really cool. They actually pay me to do this. They’d actually pay me to teach these kids to do something I love to do. So yeah, the Westchester to, well,
Dan Schack (00:09:59):
I know, I know I, I, I’m not sure it’s such a like ubiquitous fact that, you know, Han and you and George Hopkins and all of these kind of like badass snare drummers and drum guys came out of there. I believe it Darren Hazlet was some used to either mark. There was there who else went there
Tom Aungst (00:10:18):
Actually? Well, so when I went to Westchester, it was my second year in Garfield. So there was a lot of us Scott Litzenberg right. Who was the director of the core a couple years ago. Yeah, played, he played the quad line that played Tim his, his last year. You know, there’s, there’s a lot of people, there was a, there was van we used to take from Westchester up to Garfield. And I wanna say there were about four or five of us that used to get in that van and go up notable people. Yeah, man. Oh, Michael K. Geez, my roommate. There you go. Yeah, I forgot about that. So, Michael Michael and I were roommates when I was a senior at Westchester, and then I graduated, we kinda, we kind of stayed his roommates. And he was writing, you know, for the court at the time and I was Ana tech game.
Tom Aungst (00:11:11):
So, but we had to have a real job and a real job was Hollywood home videos, you know, like it was a video store. Yeah. So we’d work. So we work, we know it was like three in the afternoon to close. Yes. And then we bring a handheld video machine home. Cause the guy in charge was like, listen, you guys need to watch the video. So when people come in, you know what to tell if this is good or bad? So yeah. So of course, you know, get home 10 o’clock at night 11 or whatever, pop into, you know, two movies and stay up till three or four in the morning and then, you know, sleep till noon and get up and go to work again. And then whatever weekends we had drum court, we go do drum court. So you know, actually was really funny too in that same apartment complex was mark Thurston.
Tom Aungst (00:12:02):
So mark was one building over and he roomed with Brent Montgomery and Brent taught star of Indiana in the early nineties and then taught at the blue the blue stars. I wanna say middle or 2010, maybe I think it was cause that’s how I kind of got involved in the, in the blue stars at the time. So right. Yeah. He was writing. Yeah. So yeah. I mean, you know, I, you forget about some of those, some of a long time ago, I man graduated 85, December of 85 and who else came out there? Crew? Yeah, that was definitely,
Dan Schack (00:12:42):
That is a, that is an insane. So, and to, to go back to that moment where you are, obviously you’re marching in bunch of these east coast drum cores, you know, Recca still our house coming back strong this year, actually from a, a couple years off. And they’re, it’s looking, it’s looking solid for them. I was hearing about their turnout actually this weekend and it was pretty much massive and you know, obviously the cadets still a huge staple in this area. I’m, I’m kind of wondering like when you, when you transition to the teaching and in the writing role, like when I look at this moment in, in time, like for the craft of what we do, it just feels like this is where the activity turns or like takes a massive turn into something else that becomes like the contemporary version of itself.
Dan Schack (00:13:32):
It was sort of like the prototype to the, that contemporary thing, which you also owned from 2000 to, you know, 2005 that chunk of time where it was just like every year. You know, what, what did it feel like going, and I guess, you know, teaching obviously, but when you started writing, did it feel like we are doing something in a different direction, then how it’s been going? You know, I think Han had taken a step there, you know, thinking about the groups he was writing with. And I continue to write with obviously through the early nineties were you cognizant, like this class of people is changing this thing that we’re doing that we love to do? Did it feel like we’re just hanging on by thread and kind of living in it? Like, what was that kinda moment like?
Tom Aungst (00:14:20):
Yeah, so obviously you know, Hanham had a, a major influence on me as a teacher and a writer. He taught, you know, drum line 83, 4, and then we worked together for four years. And also George Hopkins, you know, he had a major influence on me. Not necessarily like the teaching of the technique, but design and effects and, you know, just ways of thinking big because John drug court is performing these big arenas. So sometimes in your head you might go, oh, that, that phrase is long enough, but you might have to add 16 more counts because in a bigger arena that needs to happen in order for it to be effective. So you know, I think with Tom and I’ll say, this is, this is always a bad thing, but you know, like when I marched it was like we were, we were running around, right.
Tom Aungst (00:15:16):
We were 83, 84, we were visually crazy compared to everyone else. So we were nothing like the blue devils, you know, very hybrid rudiment, you know, clean, tight. It was just like, it was impressive. Right. You had a bunch of scrappy guys trying to like, you know, March fast crab do things that drum drum lines had not do, had not done at that point. So I think Tom was just trying to figure out how to do that. And then he wanted to be musical. What did, what did that mean to him? Well, sometimes it was about space. Sometimes it was about how did we support the brass? You know, it’s not always about us and then colors and textures and, you know, a lot of things that drum lines weren’t doing, it was about, it was about the rudimental stuff. It was about the hands and Tom was yeah, chops, right.
Tom Aungst (00:16:05):
Tom was just ex exploring sounds and touches. And so when I got out, we, we kind of kept that going in 85, 86, 87 and in eight. So when I started writing in 89, I wanted to keep that right. I wanted, I wanted that thought process, but I had to throw my personality into it. Right. And we had a bunch of guys that 89 line was guys that I had kind of trained from, you know, 86, 87, 88, 89 was just a, you know, it was like Lee Edison there and Willie Higgins. And so it was, so I felt like we could do more. So how do I take Tom’s musical style, but how do we play more like, like a blue apples or like a Vanguard, you know, how do we, so it was like to those two sides and, and kind of marrying them together. So that’s what 89 was you know, when I was doing it and, and here’s the thing I did have a 10 tech and I had Steve Keefer, but they weren’t out there.
Tom Aungst (00:17:06):
I mean, back then, it was, it was like, when you went out on tour, I went out on tour the entire time. So it was me right. Writing and, you know, for the most part. But it was you know, like, I, I can’t remember exactly what was going through my mind, but for some reason I had confidence in myself. Like, imagine, I mean, I was only 26 years old, 27, so why would I have all that confidence? I just felt like this was the way to go. And I felt if I took H’s thing and my personality and put it together, we could make something special from the, you know, by, by that. And I, and I think 89 is one of my favorite lines, just because of that. Like, I look back at some of that stuff that I wrote and I can’t believe I wrote some of that stuff back then.
Tom Aungst (00:18:01):
Right. I mean, there’s some stuff like, like, wow, I should maybe bring some of that back, but right. You know, but here’s, here’s the other part. So I probably had maybe too much confidence in myself and there were other people that didn’t, so George was nervous. So, you know, Tom is around here and there and Tom was always like, eh, they’re not gonna be able to play that. Ah, that’s too much. So right. When people say that to me, I go, I’ll show you, they’re gonna be able to play that. Oh yeah. We’re to be able to do that. Right. and you know, I think that, you know, it, it was a challenge. Like I knew we could do it now. We didn’t win drums. Should we have, ah, I think we should have. I think that, I think that was some standard setting, looking back some standard setting material, they couldn’t tell that.
Tom Aungst (00:18:50):
Yeah. Maybe that’s what it was, you know, and again, we have to remember the visual aspect of things. We were still right. Running and gunning. And so eight 90 was, if, if you look at the 90 line, the 89 line, it’s such a difference in it. It almost looks like two people wrote the book. If you go back and you listen to the, to both the books. And I think some of it was, the music was different. Right. you know, 89 was late news and there was, there was just, you know, different ways that I could do things that I couldn’t do in 90. 90 was more dense in the music, you know, like indeed you know, fancy free, all that stuff was, there was just a lot of density. The thing I learned from H was the music will dictate how you write.
Tom Aungst (00:19:41):
So I think that’s what it was for me was like, oh, this is different music. So I have to write differently. And I’ve always thought that. Right. And I’m sure people hear something and they go, oh, that sounds like Tom. You know, that sounds like angst from 10 years ago. Right. sure. But I, I hope that I can bring a freshness to the book each time based on the music that we’re presenting as a drum core, you know? So that was all. And, and again, that’s, that’s stuff that I learned from H and then the other part of it, if you look at 91, so these, these three years were crucial for me, 89. Cause it was first year, my second year, just again, looked so different and sounded different. And 91 was one of those at, at the cadets. We thought we could do anything.
Tom Aungst (00:20:25):
We could play fast, play a lot of notes and we’re gonna figure this out. So, Hey, let’s get, let’s go out there and, and have 50 sets of quads right out of the gate. Okay. Now that was actually, that was, that was George Hopkins idea, you know, it’s like, yeah, let’s do it. Why not? Why can’t we have this? Why can’t we have the snares now let’s, let’s do three different, you know, like a high, a medium and a low, right. That was one of my favorite years, but, you know, we just struggled because you know, it was music, it was music that people couldn’t attach with. There, there wasn’t very accessible at the time. So, you know, I think people just didn’t get connect with the core, but there, I think there was some really cool stuff in there. You know, and then I think 92 was one of those years that we got back to the basics, Hey, we, we have to, we have to March, great.
Tom Aungst (00:21:18):
We have to play great. You know, we gotta make sure that, you know, the pacing and 91 was like, Hey, we can do anything we want. Let’s just, let’s just go out and do whatever we wanted to do. And then 90, who was on the design team at this time, Tom, who was like the who’s the visual and the, is it mark Sylvester? Is it Jeff? Like who was the team there? Yeah. So at the time, well, 91 was mark Sylvester. So the other thing that was really cool about 89 was it was mark myself CLE had left in 88. So CLE Ziga Hannah, they all left. So it was mark myself and then Robert Smith wrote the book. And I can’t remember, I don’t know if it was one of those that, you know, Robert could do partly time. And then, so we had to bring, so CLE actually came back and did a lot of the summer and changed a bunch of the stuff that, you know, always changes.
Tom Aungst (00:22:13):
Right. So then clash wrote 90 clash wrote 91. So it was clash. Again, mark myself you know, the color guard was really kind of starting to rise up. So a lot of the Colorguard staff back then were, or people now that are at the blue coats, you know, Greg Leggo you know, Jim Moore you know, actually John Vanoff was on staff. Right. So a lot of those people were part of the, you know, the, the color guard, leg legacy that had just kind of, you know, going on, I guess, in the front part of the, of the ninth. Right. I think they won like color guard, six times in a row or something back then. So, but it was, it was, it’s an interesting philosophy and thought, and that is, you know, we can do anything we want and we’re gonna try any, we’re gonna try anything.
Tom Aungst (00:23:05):
We’re gonna try to go faster. You know, we’re gonna try to play more notes because we’re gonna rehearse more, we’re gonna outwork people and we we’re gonna teach them how to do it, because that was our Mo we were, we weren’t very good in the beginning. Like, here’s an example, 90, 92, we went to bands of America symposium. It wasn’t called music for all, but back then it was bands of America. And we did an exhibition and we probably had about 10 kids out in the front with some kind of injuries, knee, not just the percussion, it was like the entire core. Right? Yeah. So, but I, that, that show, we marched five snares a tenor and four base drums. Right. Cuz we had, you know, eventually we went seven and three, but it was like five one. And and we were a total mess.
Tom Aungst (00:23:58):
So we had gone on and I was up top and I’m just like, whoa. And then the cavalier came him on. And they were polished and ready to go and was like, oh, like if they would’ve scored us, it would’ve been 20 points, 20 points. Now, fast forward to the end of the season. I, I mean, I don’t know exactly how far we, we were from almost beating the cavers, but it was maybe a 10th or two. Right. I think, you know, people say if we had maybe one more night, we might have, you know, we might have taken ’em in. So that was our thing though. We would just we’d figure it out. We’d make changes. You know, we’d clean through subtraction. Sometimes we’ll take that out. Don’t play that adjust the drill and, you know, take out two minutes that be because we were overtime, you know, we’re always overtime, so let’s take those two minutes out.
Tom Aungst (00:24:51):
And so that was our thing. And so we just, no matter how bad we were or what we were in the beginning, we were gonna figure this out. And that was the thing for, that was the eighties. That was all of the nineties, you know two thousands, you know? I think we looked at the cavalier and went well here, here’s the thing. They were, they came out polished and ready to go all the time. And, and you know, we were, they were like Muhammad Ali. We were like, Joe Frazier, you know, we were, we were gonna punch our way through the wall and they were gonna go around the wall, you know, two thousands. We started becoming a little bit smarter. I say a little bit. That’s the key word, you know? So but you know, I, I’m glad I went through all that because it, it, it, it made me know.
Tom Aungst (00:25:44):
I am, you know, I mean, I, I still like I’m, you’re at Dartmouth. I, I still run it. I still get in there. I still do the technique. And yeah. You know, there’s just so much, I, I, I learn from just going through, you know, some, some tough times, but some great times, you know, sometimes you, yeah. It’s, you’re like, why is this happening? Why can’t we figure this out? But now you look back and go, I go, wow, that’s, it’s a blessing, right. It’s a blessing in this guy, eyes that I went through a lot of, a lot of years, decades of just like man changing. And I don’t, I don’t think we wanted to do that. I think we tried to be on top of it, but for whatever reason we couldn’t, I don’t know what that is. And I’m, and I’m pretty, I’m pretty structured.
Tom Aungst (00:26:28):
I, you know, very anal and everything’s, you know, like, yes, you know, Dartmouth, the Dartmouth stuff here is, is the total opposite. I mean, we’re way, way ahead of schedule. My goal with Dartmouth is I always tell the kids first show we come out, I want a 90, because I want, you know, people pay money. I want judges to be able to assess what we’re doing. And if we’re not very good, they’re not gonna be able to do that. Right. So it’s like the, I think maybe I was just so frustrated sometimes with the cadets, because we were so bad so long and then eventually figure it out. I said, no, we can’t you, this, we, we it’s, we, we can’t, I can’t have the kids go through that. You know? So, but again, in hindsight, I think it was kind of a blessing because how much I learned from, from the mess.
Dan Schack (00:27:18):
I gotta think too, like, well, I, I worked with mark in a couple different contexts. I so when you were talking about sort of the process on my ears perked up, and I was like, I feel like that’s a time that mark Sylvester was there because he obviously has a certain style of, of doing things. And then the powerhouse of the team there, it’s like, you’d think that would make everything easy having this like stacked deck. But the reality is the more talent you infuse at the top end, you’re have to manage all these ideas and opinions. And I wonder just how much that it it’s like this ebb and flow of we’re making a lot of progress. We have creative talent and then it’s, we all have to agree. And we have to get to a point where like, our vision is shared for the way the design is, is coming out, being executed. And you know, if you are, if you are an organized person, then working with mark Sylvester had to be extremely difficult because he is just a creative cloud. There’s no linear process
Tom Aungst (00:28:18):
To it. Right. Well, it’s interest you say that. I think that, you know, given props to George Hopkins again you know, he was kind of a mastermind behind keeping mark on track and, you know, he knew how I was. He knew that, you know, I mean, I could fix stuff, you know, in five minutes in ensemble, you know, where some, some guys might take him, you know, five days and, you know, like I I’ll make a change and we’ll get it, we’ll get it done in 30. So like, and I have a plan, you know, the percussion staff used to, I used to, used to call me meeting man, because I used to like to meet all the time we meet in the morning. Yeah. Meet at lunch, meet before ensemble. And you know, and, and so I think what, what George did is he just said, okay, here’s mark, who has a talent?
Tom Aungst (00:29:06):
You know, he, he’s kind of a wild horse. But yeah, he should be like, Tom, right. Let mark do his thing. That’s the way he does it. Cuz he does great things. Okay. Let Tom do what he, he does over here because you know, he’s more the nuts and bolts and can make it all happen. Yeah, I think that’s how he kind of looked at the, the staff across the board. You know, he, even from the beginning means Zi was, you know, a little, little crazy, you know, trying different things. And then you had, you know, Jimmer and, and Donny and you know, then you had CLA I mean he had, I think he under understood that people have different personalities and different ways of doing things, but it’s the goal. It’s the end result. It’s, it’s being creative. You know, if we all get people that are, have my mindset, huh, maybe we’re not gonna be as creative.
Tom Aungst (00:29:59):
Right. You know, so I think there’s, there’s something to be said for all that. And but you know, at the same time too, I think if we don’t all grow and learn, then we’re not gonna continue in the activity. I think that that’s one of the reasons I’m still kind of doing it is I, I, you gotta figure it out. You gotta move forward. You can’t, you can’t teach and do the same things. You did 20, 30 years of going, so you have to grow and you have to figure things out or, you know, you’re not gonna be in it anymore.
Dan Schack (00:30:27):
I definitely agree. I mean, it, it’s interesting because there there’s different generations that are all kind of coexisting. I mean the fact that I work with Tom Han, you know, regularly, and he’s the person who, and taught you is a perfect example. It’s like, there is a coexistence of what has come before and what’s shaped the present. And the fact that you’re now running cadets is just a perfect, you know, a perfect kind of symbol of that. And, and I, I wonder too, like, cause I, you know, to, to for my background, you know, like you said, I marched perfect, but I was so all over the cadets thing, you know, and, and to be honest, like early two thousands Vanguard as well oh 3 0 4, Vanguard are just some of the best drum lines that, that have probably happened. But that, that what was going on over there.
Dan Schack (00:31:18):
But also, you know, when you look at the, I feel like part of the identity of what you guys were in the cadets for me, it was in that 97 I guess is where it maybe clicks in my head, thinking 7, 8, 9, 2000. And then 2001, 2, 3, 4, 5, like that 2005 years. Just very, I guess, a staple when you think about the activity, because the uniformity and the, and mostly when I say uniform, maybe of the approach, obviously it was insanely clean. That’s a goal for all of us, but it was like, you felt like everyone’s really doing all the same thing. Like they’re really achieving that singular thing in their mind, conception or metaphor, like vision of what it’s supposed to be. And it’s a like, wow, like you really can’t tell the difference between what’s going on person to person. It’s just really, and, and, and that’s, I think it’s changed, honestly.
Dan Schack (00:32:14):
I don’t know if that’s like what people go for anymore, but I just know that year. And, and really a lot of those years, you know, are, are so exact, so precise. And is that coming from, you know, when you’re writing, are you thinking about, here’s how I’m gonna make this part better than, you know, the other teams clean. I’m gonna get my clean further. Cause everyone who’s been on the road knows at the end, it’s like, everyone’s kind of clean, but it’s like, then it’s, there’s like the quality separation and there’s obviously the composition can dictate some of what happens at the end, but is it like you’re writing to get it clean? Is it the training? Because obviously like we’re talking about Chris VA years and you know, Sean McRoy comes in the fold and just working with him, I know how he is. And you know, I know Willie Higgins and some of these just super bad sasses are, are on the team. Like, is it the teaching? It’s like, what, what makes those groups, the ones that I’m remembering, I guess it is like the question I should really ask you. Well,
Tom Aungst (00:33:17):
I think it’s you know, when you’re right, you make choices, right. It’s, that’s, that’s writing is, and there’s, it’s a lot of choices that are involved. You know, I’m always thinking clarity, quality, cleanliness, and musicianship. Right. and so when I sit down and make those choices, I go, okay, you know, you wanna make sure that the you’re writing for the players, right. I mean, they’re coming there, that’s spending money. So you want to give them something again, going back to Tom Anne, the, the music will dictate you remember what I was saying about 89 where it was taken, what Tom did, but basically playing more. Right. So, so I think I’m good at we, we can really play some stuff, but it it’s appropriate for what’s going on, on, in the music. Right. I think I’m really good at that, that part.
Tom Aungst (00:34:05):
I learned from guys around me, like you’re working with Paul Lesack right. Two or three years that Paul was here. I kind of, you know, just not necessarily him sitting down and teaching me, but just watching some things that he, that he has done. So you pick up the, you pick up those things over you, years or decades and learn you talk about Chris Vale. Well, Eric Ward was my snare tech for five years who taught Chris VE right. And then Eric was taught by Willie. And so, you know, I learned a lot from Willie. John Burbank was like 10 tech for a number of years. And he was taught by Mike Stevens who was really, I don’t wanna send first check, but, you know, like was really committed to making the QB, I guess the choir line right. From, from the early nineties. So you, you pick up all those, those things from different people.
Tom Aungst (00:34:56):
And I think it’s, it’s everything that’s involved. Like when I sit down and write a piece of music again, and you’re, you’re making those choices is it’s like, okay, well, I look at the bra score and I go, all right, there’s a lot of notes there. So what do I gotta do? I gotta back off. It has to be more about keeping time for them. Ooh, that’s a con that’s a little bit of a window there where I can get a, where it’d be, oh, that’s like, someone will hear that. And it would really cool or all right, now it’s time to play some stuff and lay it on. So, you know, if you look at the oh five line, a lot of that, a lot of those, like 2000 up to oh five, hopefully people can hear and see that where, you know, when we had our window opportunity.
Tom Aungst (00:35:41):
Yeah. We’re gonna lay it on. And then, and then there’s, you know, a window of, Hey, I know this is gonna be 200 beats a minute. So I have to back off the parts. Right. Or I know that or a judge is gonna be, I mean, come on. It’s, it’s competitive. So, you know, you, you think about that, you think about the keyboard stuff. A lot of what I, what I do is I’ll sketch some stuff out for my guy now is Brandon Carita. I don’t know if you know, Brandon great. Just, I think he’s brilliant. But back then it was Neil. So Neil and I would have a lot of conversation. And you know, we worked together for 17 years. So in the beginning was a lot more near the end. It was like, he knew what I wanted.
Tom Aungst (00:36:22):
You know, he knew where the Tim needed to do something that went with, you know, a snare lick. And, but you know, like excellence, you know that that’s, again, it’s clarity, quality, cleanliness, musicianship. You put that all together and you, and if you do it at such a high level, it’s, it’s the wow factor. Like when you go, wow, that’s just, that’s incredible. Right. if you’re missing parts of that, if you’re missing pieces there. Yeah. It’s good. Right. You look at the independent world lines, right. These guys from top to bottom are playing a lot of stuff, but then you, you look at the top tier and you go, oh, they have all, they have the musicianship, they have the quality at the low end. They have the clarity, they have the space, they know how to coordinate with the front. It’s a, it’s a whole, it’s a totality.
Tom Aungst (00:37:12):
Right. one thing that just kind of came to mind at the cadets is we’re not, we’re not a lot drumlin. Right. And that comes from the eighties where it’s like, we’re getting ready for a show. The blue devils in the eighties. That was, that was a show that was a show before the show. Right. For us, it was to warm up practice, get better. And then we go to the show that mentality, I think is still there just because that’s just what it is. I don’t think that that’s bad. Right. so, but I think there’s some, I think the lot has affected the way maybe younger writers have written cuz now they think we’re gonna play in the lot. So I have to play this because you know, you want people to who and holler and what you’re gonna see on YouTube.
Tom Aungst (00:38:02):
But then when you get in the arena, maybe that doesn’t go with the music. Like a lot of times I’ll sit and you know, I’m always, I’m always trying to learn. I’m always trying to analyze and learn and and figure out maybe how I can use something in what I do. Right. I’m always learning from other guys. And so, but sometimes I’m like, okay, well what did that have to do with the music? Like, that’s the question, I’ll ask myself. What were they thinking when they wrote that? Because the horns of Christianity, when all of a sudden the drum line is just like, was the drum line, the lead, you know? So there’s, I think I do that. It, it’s hard for me to watch, watch drum core. Cause I’m always annual analyzing. I feel you I’m like, wow, that, that was really cool.
Tom Aungst (00:38:43):
I tell you a group I really enjoyed this past summer was the mandarins. The, the guy that wrote the book, I just thought had what I’m talking about. Right. Just like appropriate manage. He knew how to support. He knew how to like here’s eight counts, here’s a window of to play something they had to feel. I mean, it was just, you know, I think music, people that think a drum line is musical. It’s like they do hairpins right up forward down for, that’s not, that’s, that’s part of it. Right. But it’s, it’s being appropriate. It’s knowing when to, to lay it on or knowing when to support or what are you, what, what are you playing to support that that’s that’s key too, right? Like what are you playing when you support that? Or what are you playing when it’s time to lay it on?
Tom Aungst (00:39:32):
Does that fit stylistically? That’s another one for me. It’s like, you know, I think there’s ways to take the rudiments and make it fit. Like it’s in this style of the music or did you just, you just force a lick that you wanted to play. Right. or did you just alter that lick a little bit? So it fits in there stylistically, you know, so I think all those things are, are key. And you know, the oh five line was, to me, checking off all those things had the quality, had the clarity, had the coordination, had the appropriateness time to lay it on, you know, in, in such a, in such a different way, I guess. Right. Like that’s like, I don’t wanna be like, you know, Hey, I look at the blue devils. I, I look at the blue coats. I look at Boston, I look at like, I went and I know I’m ran.
Tom Aungst (00:40:24):
I know I’m going on here, but you’re getting me excited here. Right. So I went and hung with Colin at one of the shows and watched him warm up for about 15 minutes. And I was like, man, this is some cool stuff. I said, Colin, this is awesome. So I thought, well, how can I, how can I infuse some of that into my writing? Or how can I, you know, maybe there’s some technique things cuz I’d ask, you know, call, what do you do here? Oh, we just do, oh, that’s cool. Like I’m always, I wanna learn and I want to grow like when I stop doing it it’s because I’m, I’m done, I’m outta gas. I don’t wanna learn anymore. Right. That that’s when it that’s when it’s time. I just, even though I’m 58, I feel like I’m in my twenties mentally. Right. And, and how I want to go about stuff. So it’s just constantly, you know, absorbing and, and figuring out, but doing it my way. I, I wanna do it my way. Right. I wanna take what Colin has and what Tom RO has and you know, what, what these other groups have and go, all right. How do I do it my way? Right. So yeah. You got me. Yeah. I’m, I’m pleased to,
Dan Schack (00:41:33):
Let me tell you. And, and I think maybe a, a box that’s outside of the, the ones that you’re talking about is the inventiveness. Cause when you think of like, oh, I one, I think I could just, this whole podcast could probably be about that. Cause that’s probably a reason I’m even doing this. Cause O five was year one at her, for me when I was 14, very similar, you know, very young. And that was what I was seeing. And it’s like, you know, it’s almost like watching the NFL or watching the NBA. You’re just like, I could never do that. You know? And to the point where I felt like when I was auditioning at cadets, it was more about like trying to create that identity around myself than it was about playing or about like a technique. It was this embodiment of an attitude that was like just super badass.
Dan Schack (00:42:19):
That was attractive, I guess. Cause I’m, I like the physicality and athleticism of drumming and why I think I was very into your stuff and why I’m like, I, I like to see it. I like to watch the playing. It’s not just about what you hear from me. I’m not like a musician, musician. I don’t have a music degree. I’m not, that’s not where my strengths necessarily lie. So there’s something else outside of, even some of those prerequisites for like writing MA’s book is like the inventiveness or the athleticism or the the, the strength and power. Because I think when you listen that BJO track dance in the dark, I’m not sure anyone musically would be like, I’m gonna write the most like badass, like D roll, like tap accent, crazy thing. So I would like almost argue against those checkpoints and be like, there’s an inventiveness in that where like in liquid, when you guys came out with pick tips and it was like, you know, top snare on off like that stuff was like, man, that is like perfect idiomatic, you know, matching, whereas dancing in the dark, it was like almost like an Fu to the judging community.
Dan Schack (00:43:24):
Like I was always wondering like what your thought process was just for that. I know you guys did that this year, so it’s actually kind of relevant because that moment’s iconic like that, that like that stuff you’re like, I don’t think I would’ve or anyone would’ve thought to write that. Right. So there’s something else there’s like this there’s these other layers to it, aside from the ones that you’re describing. Yeah.
Tom Aungst (00:43:48):
Well that ballad, that was George’s idea. So there, so George, you know that what I was saying earlier, George and Tom were very influential in how I taught and, and wrote, but I think, I think with George, it was more big pitcher stuff. So we, the conversations that we would have, you know, I just remember the conversation about that ballot. It’s basically, you know, he would, he says, I hear the drum line playing double time in there. I think it’d be really cool. You guys. Cause he was always looking for a different way of doing things a different way of incorporating the drum line in with the horns. You know, he was, he was very creative. He, he wasn’t the, he wasn’t the technical guy, he wasn’t the guy to get, he wasn’t the nuts and bolts. He was big pitcher. So that was all him and I thought, okay, that’s cool.
Tom Aungst (00:44:36):
And so you know, and we, we actually had an idea that, well, I had the idea of like, well, we’ll do an add on like, we’ll do a build. So it was like one snare and we add and we add, and then we add the quads, add the base drums. So that, that’s really kind of how that came, but what’s interesting this, this past summer. So I got my, my handwritten charts out and I, you know, started playing it with, with the tampon. I’m like, okay, we, we must have adjusted that because I couldn’t play what I had written on the score. Like there was some really some fast things. So some of the stuff we did did year it’s, it was a, it was a lot of the same stuff, but there were little tweaks I’m assuming I I’m assuming back then I tweaked it.
Tom Aungst (00:45:20):
Cuz there was some really like for extended periods of time that these fast DLE get out para little things that, you know, then you went into another Dupal role and but so that, that ball staying on that, so that was George’s idea. I took it, you know, did the add on the discussion with Jeff SAC was, and this was the logical thing to do the horns, build the drums, add in and then the drums build into the horn line. Right? So, you know, Jeff, George got mad because when we first saw it on the field, the drum line was going the other way, you know, and Jeff goes, this is, so it was almost like one of those, like, we didn’t talk about this, but this is the brilliance of Jeff and Jeff going, I’m gonna do this because I think this is gonna be cool.
Tom Aungst (00:46:17):
And then really, you know, George getting and I, I was like, I went, Hey, this is pretty cool. This is gonna be really cool. And then it was, I mean, people were like, right, this is like the best sense and best thing since sliced bread. And I can’t tell you how many times that people thought, how do you do this? Like, how are they playing together? How is this the drum line’s going this way, the horns are going this way. And I go, man, it’s like the hardest thing ever to do. I, I swear to God, we never rehearsed it. It just happened. You’re the meetings. You’re like, yeah. This thing is just, you know, it’s even, even this summer, it was like, yeah, there were a couple times we had to rehearse it and we had to tell the drum major what to do, but it was basically the drum major, just staying with, you know, the feet of the snare drummer horns, right there, there was some listening that they could do, but it was, it was not, it looked harder than really you really what it was, but right.
Tom Aungst (00:47:17):
You know, that, that whole philosophy and idea of how, you know, George came up with the idea. I did the add on, we did this, Jeff did the opposite. That’s how a lot of great things have happened at the cadets where you maybe talk about something, but you have great designers and they, they go off and do something a little bit different. Right. And and that that’s happened time and time again, like the the 2000 drum feature you know, again, it was, that was George’s idea, but I wrote it and I wrote it in such a way that you know, I had indivi, I had individual players, I had duet, I had, I, I got everything. He didn’t, he didn’t like the way I did it the first time, but we played it at the camp. He was upset because I, I wrote it without his dis we, without having a discussion with him to the, to the point where it was mark CEL, Lester Jay, myself, and George, and we were in a restaurant and a diner in New Jersey.
Tom Aungst (00:48:22):
And I thought it was really cool. Like we played it and Jay’s like, man, that’s really cool. And I’m like, yeah, you know, I’m, I’m kind of giving myself props. And George George is like, nah, now that’s not right. There’s not enough space in here. And I, I, it was one of those. I go, what, and I’m not gonna swear on here, but it got pretty ugly. Now we’re in the restaurant. And I basically said, all right, get up. It’s like, I’m not moving. Cause I was on the inside of the the booth, right. I looked at, George said, get up. He goes, I’m not moving. I said, I’m gonna have this conversation right now. He goes, I’m not moving. I said, you either get up or I’m gonna punch you the face. So the owner of the restaurant comes over, you know, this is pretty loud.
Tom Aungst (00:49:02):
Right. We’re pretty, you know, pretty Bo right? Oh yes. He’s like, he’s like, guys, you’re gonna have to leave because the other people here we’re really upset that you’re making this, this ruckus. And yeah. So, but I get what George was talking about. He wanted space like, so people could applaud, but I just thought it was cool how it was all laid out. And oh, so there wasn’t space between each of the like ideas, right. There was some space, but I, I was very, you know, I figured, okay, we had Tim playing a snare solo. Right, right. Then I went to a snare and a bass playing. Right. Then I went to, I think I went to the, maybe the full line plan. I can’t remember the, but it was very strategic. And then I said, well, it’s cool. I like the, I like that bass drums play with the snares.
Tom Aungst (00:49:57):
I think I can D a lot of stuff and get some cool colors and sounds, and then I’m gonna go right back over to the quads, but then we’ll do a unison, snare bass thing. Right. And then we’ll go back to a, a quad for, and that quad feature that was up front, where they went behind the back. That was John Burbank’s idea. Qutech at the time that was him. And you know, we had, we had extended eventually throughout, you know, further into the season. But yeah, it was now stuff never cut. Let me put it this way. And I’ll say never stuff never really came together the way you thought it would. There was always battles, but somehow we figured some stuff out and it was better. We were better for it. Right. For sure. And again, you know, given George props, he kind of knew that he knew how to push some buttons.
Tom Aungst (00:50:54):
And it just that’s man. That’s what really the cadets were about. It was just, it was a, it was a God, I don’t say a cause did fight, but it was like, yeah. You know, but he knew, he knew that he told me something, I may do it and I may not. And that’s okay. Because if, if I did everything that he told me to do, it probably wasn’t gonna come out. Great. So it was, you know, it was kind of mixing it all together and going, I hear you, George, but I think it’s better this way. And then he would get upset and then we’d come back and go, all right. You know, like the Malaga stuff we did it. Oh three. Mm yes. Yeah. So there’s the one. So there’s the one drum line thing where they’re like do Jack.
Tom Aungst (00:51:40):
So originally that was not in there. And, and we had got, we were out on tour. We had gotten in a big fight, him and a, which was kind of normal, but it was, it was, you know, good. We respected each other. It was, you know, we just wanted things to be great. And so I was. And so I went into the, into the cafeteria. I just took a piece of paper cuz I don’t, I didn’t really even have that written down in the score. And I just took a piece of paper and I remember taking the pencil. I was like, I I’m writing this stuff. And the reason why it’s so violent and so intense, cuz I was. I was. It’s like I’m cracking, get another.
Tom Aungst (00:52:21):
And then when I talked the drum line that I told him the story, I said, this is, this is me being and George, but Hey, it came out. It came out pretty cool, right? Yes, it did. I love that part. I know exactly what part time I’m not even, and I’m not even sure. I’m not even sure if I could have written that at home. Like, you know, and I think, I think part of, part of it was he knew what he was doing. He knew how to put, he probably pushed my butt and I got off and he went on the bus lap. Right. Go on. He’ll he’ll write something good. Wow. Yeah.
Dan Schack (00:52:55):
You’re probably, he probably was literally looking for that kind kinda reaction. Wow. That’s a good point. Yeah. I have a very, very similar story to that that, that booth story, but it’s with rich Hammond and Travis. Oh, during CWP, it was new year’s day, 2016 CWP. The last year that that ensemble was around, but off camera, I’ll have to tell you, but rich had, he went in on Travis, the two of them got into it just in the middle of diner and Allen’s out actually, if you’ve ever been the sunrise diner, right. Where
Tom Aungst (00:53:29):
C2 used to. Oh yeah. I, it, yeah. Used to
Dan Schack (00:53:32):
Rehearse and we had a very, very similar interaction. I’m not sure if it was as productive as the one that you described.
Tom Aungst (00:53:42):
Yeah. Well, you know, I think at the time when stuff happens like that, you’re like, I’m done with this, that’s it? This is my last year I quit. I’m done. But you know, like again, like now being, you know, older and looking back, I go, well, you know what, it’s probably a good thing. I learned a lot from that that came out pretty, that may not have come out that great. You know, there’s just things along the way. So I, I, so when stuff like that happens now, it’s, it’s almost like, I, I, I’m always trying to find a, the, I guess the silver lining where I’m like, okay, Hey, that there was a reason why that happened and we’re better for that, you know, but Hey, when, when you’re doing it in the middle of it and, and come constant, like now here’s the other thing.
Tom Aungst (00:54:27):
We, we didn’t really have design calls. Yeah. We, we had, we didn’t have design calls at the cadets. We had here’s here’s I got tons of stories here. We can do a whole podcast on stories. So it was I wanna hear it. It was after 2007, when, you know, people were booing us, cause the voiceover stuff. And you know, I think it was prelims. Maybe we didn’t have the hashes and it took the core off and people started doing all this kind of stuff. So it was pretty intense. That was a, that was a great drunk court, by the way, that was yep. You, that was old cadets where we can do whatever we want. You know, we can March 220 beats a minute for three minutes and get away with it. And but anyway, so after this season was over, we decided that we would have a call and talk about, and this was one of the only design calls I could ever remember.
Tom Aungst (00:55:17):
So we get on the call and it’s Jay it’s myself. It’s Neil it’s J well, so it’s Eric, Eric Hitman, you know, Eric Hitman, right? Yes. So it’s Eric Kitman Neil Jay and myself. So George isn’t on yet. So we get on the phone and we’re talking about the Phillies, right? Like how they’re gonna be good and all this. And I still remember that. Jay’s like, oh man, you know, I land on a Braves. And so I go, Eric, where’s George. Oh, hang on, hang on, hang on, hang on. He’s gonna be on second. So Eric comes back and I said, Eric, we’ve been on, I don’t know, like for five minutes. And he goes, well, he goes he didn’t wanna he didn’t wanna say anything, but he, he has a DCI call and he forgot about it at the same time he was having the design call.
Tom Aungst (00:56:07):
Okay. Well that call went south. It was like people, you know, I mean, imagine between Neil and I on the phone, it was like, it was, it was pretty crazy. Jay was like out of his mind. And the conversation that we wanted to talk about was just like the voiceover stuff. If we’re gonna do it, can we just, can we be smart about doing it? Can we not fight the music in the voice? Right. But it ended up where people were just clicking. You could hear ’em hanging up with their phones. Right. Old, old type of phones, like bam, bang. But I think that might have been the only, like we had, we, he had, we used to go down to the beach and hang out for a weekend and have a design meeting at the beginning of the season. We’d go up to we up to clashes place.
Tom Aungst (00:56:53):
So we had those kind of starter meetings. We had a bunch, a lot of those, you know, but as the season went on. Yeah. I think, I think a lot of it was Georgia was doing 9 million dings, you know, as part of it, it, and I think that the method was, it was a lot easier for him to go talk to me and then go talk to Jay, sit with mark. There was something to be said for that, you know, we used to and complain that we weren’t all included. But there’s something to be said for that. Where if you have too many people in a room it’s like, there’s too many opinions and it becomes this, you can’t move, you can’t go forward. Right. We kind of struggled. The 2020 season before, you know, the, the pandemic hit, it was a lot of you were designing by committee, right.
Tom Aungst (00:57:43):
There’s, there’s just too many, too many, or, you know, under kind of under, I guess my, my tutelage or leadership, we’re, we’re trying to do a little bit of that where it’s like, I’m gonna have a conversation with Jay. I need to have a conversation with John bill and Jeff, you have a conversation with Brian Murphy and then let’s bring it to the table, you know? But yeah. It’s very dysfunctional, I guess, at least at the, at least you think about it. It was. And at the time we all, we, we were like, okay, it, you know, it was definitely different.
Dan Schack (00:58:14):
It may honestly, you would just never know because you look at some of the programs that really clicked. Like, I think there’s highs and lows. Obviously we can look at years where it didn’t click as much, but I think the highs are as high as they, and yeah, I think George is just has that, that ability to, I don’t know, create a singular vision, you know, and, and bring people together. I, I wonder now, like, you know, I’m, I’m doing that role, especially for, for George Mason. And it’s like, sometimes it feels like the demo process is like the only process that you can use, because that just feels like the world we live in is like, everyone should be allowed to like, have, give their opinion. And if not, you’re shutting down voices and blah, blah, blah. But like, you’re, you’re kind of bringing up a good point about just the ability to create an environment, which someone can actually give their, their opinion openly rather than sort of curb their honesty, because they don’t wanna like hurt someone’s feelings, even though it’s never about that.
Dan Schack (00:59:14):
You can criticize someone’s real without criticizing the person themselves. But when you put everyone in the same room, you’re like, mm, do I wanna deal with actually like having to say that to that person? Or can I say it to this intermediary individual, which is now you at, at the cadets to kind of put that point across, are you looking for a high quality apparel made exclusively for the marching arts that Dan band show is brought to you by lot riot apparel, lot riot was founded by a drum core alumni with a mission to create the premier apparel brand in the marching arts. And he definitely accomplished that goal. There’s no other brand out there, like lot riot, no matter what band event you go to. You’ll see lot riot clothing being worn by members, fans, and instructors alike. It is literally everywhere. Lot riot is the brand that bonds, the marching arts community together.
Dan Schack (01:00:09):
They have a passion for band and have a real stake in their customers and the activity with lot riot you part of a greater hole, a group of friends, a community. I love lot riot because they draw on a minimal street, wear aesthetic and use high quality materials to create cool, comfortable clothing. Their brand fits my personal style super well, which is why I am proud to have lot riot as a personal sponsor, as well as a sponsor of this podcast. Lot riot is currently offering listeners of that. Dan ban show, 15% off all purchasing is on lot. Wright.Com simply go to lot wright.com and use the code Dan band, one word at checkout, and you’ll receive 15% off everything you buy, but that’s not all listeners of the podcasts use the code. Dan band will also receive an exclusive lot riot that Dan band show, pin and sticker pack for free.
Dan Schack (01:01:03):
So go to lot ride.com right now to get 15% off your order and a free sticker and pin pack using the code Dan band at checkout, see you in the lot, looking at obviously cadets. And I want to hear about that. Cadets are present because it’s obviously interesting the journey you’re on and how it’s come full circle. And I thought about this when it, when it was going down, you know, for the 17 season, but to bring it to Dartmouth for a second, I mean, that is like the BA your baby. I mean, when you look at Dartmouth, it’s like all these kids being trained up. So many of them going to these competitive DCI groups, but it its own thing. And I, when I, especially, I guess, you know, when I look across the playing, I’m like, oh yeah, look what the cadets are doing. Look what Dartmouth is doing. I get it. I think the creative design and the niche Dartmouth identity is insanely different than the cadets. Honestly, the kind of maximalism, the you know, commitment to the immersiveness into the world building. And I wonder like, is this your thing? Is this you and Darcy working together? Like, and are you that person at Dartmouth where you’re like, I’m, I’m kind of holding it together as a director. And then I bring in all these like very
Tom Aungst (01:02:18):
Creative individuals and I kind of filter all of that. I, I just wanna hear about darkness, I guess. Oh, it’s kinda like what you just said. That’s exactly what it’s. I mean, I, you know, my process is is just bringing in good people, right. I, I know who my strengths are and then I know where I need, I need some help. So always having those people that, you know, like Jeff, right. You know, or Darcy or I have, I have some texts now that some young guys that are, that were in the line and now are teaching. So it it’s me listening. I have to be open to listen because here here’s, here’s my goal. I wanna have a great pro and I wanna have the kids I want to be, I wanna be great. And I want make sure the kids have a great experience.
Tom Aungst (01:03:05):
It, it’s not personal for me. So if, if someone says something like, Hey Tom, I think we should do this. I’m like, oh, that’s kinda cool. Now they have to show me that that’s it’s gonna work. Right. I mean, I’m not just gonna take what people people say. But I’m, but it’s listening to all of that. So, you know, this year’s show as we started to talk about what we were gonna do, I’m like, okay, I can do that. So then I go, went and found music. Okay. What do you guys think? Oh, that’s cool. That’s cool. And then I went, okay. And then I started to, I lay every thing out. So I’ll do a sketch of all, like, you know, a piano sketch with some hand drums and I’ll write the drum stuff to it. And again, I’ll start to ask questions who that is, you know, Darcy, whether it’s, you know, the techs or, you know, maybe it’s a parent because we have some parents that are building, so, you know, what can we do with this prop?
Tom Aungst (01:03:59):
And so it’s trying to take, trying to bring people in, ask them questions, you know, let them be part of the process with creating. Yeah. And I know I have to bring it. It’s all, it’s all about me bringing together. Right. but I can’t do it without those people. So the layout and the, the group is going to, you know, a certain direction that’s gonna, that’s gonna come from me, but it’s pulling all those, you know, those people together and asking, and sometimes, you know, we’ll have me, we’ll have meetings and I’ll listen to what, what they think about the music. And I’ll write it down. I have, I have a book, man. It’s just like, tons of use it. And then I’ll start listening to the pieces. It happened this year, started, started listening to some pieces, people suggested, and I was like, that’s cool.
Tom Aungst (01:04:52):
And then all of a sudden I found this, this piece and I went, oh, that’s kind of cool. So we had another meeting and I listened again. And I eventually just did what I wanted to with this, with this music I found, because I felt, I just think, and, and again, I learned this from George was there has to be someone that is, has the vision that has, you know, you, you gotta listen to different people. You gotta listen to what they think. And, but then at some point someone’s gotta make, make the, you know, make the choice and, and move the design forward. Right. for a lot of years when it was Jeff writing, the drill and mark was around, it was mark. It was mark making those decisions. Yeah, they they’re are a couple who are mark with around and George make those decisions, but it’s like, it’s talking to all those people, but it doesn’t mean that we’re always gonna incorporate all those things in there.
Tom Aungst (01:05:47):
Right. You have to have someone that has a vision about the way they’re gonna play, you know, how is it gonna look? When I’m writing, I am thinking what we’re doing visually. So the, I wrote the first I have the first four minutes laid out like a sketch keyboard sketch. And I wrote the first minute with the drums and the whole thing, I know exactly what we’re gonna do visually. And I know what you know, so this is what I do. I’ll write a lot of notes to Jeff, send it. So for Jeff, it’s just kind of following the instructions. I’m not about, and this is maybe this is the old school with me. I’m not about let’s show up on the weekend and see what we got. Right. So when we go learn, we’re learning it, like, here it is now.
Tom Aungst (01:06:32):
Oh, if it doesn’t work, we change it. Right. Or there’s some things where we’re gonna experiment. Yeah. But I, I’m just not about like the way a lot of indoor groups run it and I, and that’s cool. Like, it just, that’s not my, my thing. I wanna I feel like you know, how do you say it? Like a tortured artist where behind the scenes mean I’ve busted a couple sticks and I’ve broken some desks and hit my in my house and I, you I’ve throwing stuff hook up against the wall. But my thing is I would rather go through that and put me through that pain than have the group go through that, if that makes any sense. So we, when we put it out, it’s about 90% of what it’s gonna be. Right. And then, you know, you tweak and whatever, but you know, was who was I talking to that Mar someone that marched out at, at rhythm X and they were telling, was that TJ, Gus, he was telling me the process at rhythm X.
Tom Aungst (01:07:36):
Oh yeah. Yeah. So that’s, we’re, we’re on a opposite ends of the spectrum. Right. I come in prepared, you know, alright, we’re doing a half an hour on this 45 minutes on this, you know, 10 minutes on this to eat for 45. I mean, we’re gonna learn. I mean, I it’s, that’s, I’m just very anal with, with all the, with time, time is everything to me. And, you know, the way he was saying it’s, it’s like, you know, now they’ve obviously had some great success, so there’s different ways of doing it. But and, and again, maybe it’s old school because I’ve been doing it. I’ve been writing indoor shows since 1984. So, you know what your
Dan Schack (01:08:15):
Training students to you’re educating students, rhythm X is not a place of education really at its forefront. It’s that creative right. Finger painting and trying things live that you can’t muster behind the scenes. I mean, we literally, cause I March it for two years as well. And in 2011 we would, we learned three beats at, this is all on site, like learning three beats site, reading three beats, a drill next three beats, three beats, a drill like literally going back and forth from the music stand and then going into the dots. And it was like, what? It’s, it’s the anti process. So when they hit big it’s things that I don’t think other groups can achieve through methodical planning. Like when I look at a pulse, I’m like, wow, they are planned out. You know what I mean? So there’s like, it’s like the process and then the product it creates. And I think when you look at Dartmouth, you’re like, how are those children playing better than half world class drum war? And like, what you are saying is how it gets there, that you get these eighth graders to be in these drum lines that are honestly, you can’t tell how young they are or experience or inexperience. It’s just like, they’re just good. It’s like just good period. Yeah.
Tom Aungst (01:09:33):
So, well, it’s, it’s a lot of and it’s a lot of work, man. It’s a lot of dealing with adolescent kids, you know? And again, just be open to trying things and willing to, I mean, my process in the last three years is different than it was the three years prior to that. And then it’s different. My, you know, when, when I first started going to WGI, the drum line in the fall was the drum line for indoor, you know, process for me for the last three years is we retool. So for the fall in March five five snares, four tens, four bases we marched was it 18 or 19 in the pit? We had six more. And so what we did is we took the upperclassmen that were, you know, the stronger players and they were all of our Maro players.
Tom Aungst (01:10:27):
Then we took our eighth grade arm freshman. And that was the back row. That was the, we had seven vibes, right. And, and his ILO and bells, bell player was the seventh grader. Right. But the marching band now and marching band was alwa we were always trained the kids for indoor. Right. But now we’re more detailed. So in the, in the drum line, when we had auditions I took two of the snares and I put ’em in the baseline. So now I’m gonna do six. The baseline for marching band was two freshman, a sophomore and an eighth grader, but now taking the upperclassmen and moving them into the baseline, it’s gonna upgrade the baseline. Right. So it’s, you know, it’s moving, it’s, you know, how we compete in marching band is way different than how you compete in indoor indoor is, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re in the world class.
Tom Aungst (01:11:18):
Right. You know, a lot of times marching band, it’s like, we’re not even noticed. Right. It’s like, you know, I have to remind people yeah. The percussion you’re out there, you know? So just the whole process and the mindset has to be different. You know, kids taking lessons, you know, I, I, I can’t force kids, but they kind of know that take private lessons. You’re probably gonna make the SNA Tana mine, if you don’t, you might, but you’re gonna have to really step up to the play. Right. You know, I’m not gonna just put you in there. So just little things like that, that you know, I used to, I, a couple years, I did, I think I did five years with the Tom Toms. Right. That was good. It was good. But then I realized it’s like, well, is there, is there another way where I can get them to get the experience, but not carry these Tom, Tom, because it’s, they weren’t, they were eighth graders.
Tom Aungst (01:12:14):
So I say, well, I want them to be well rounded, percussion. So I, I kind of said, you know, they can still get the experience and the culture, but maybe not trying to move when the drum line. So this year I just moved all those kids that I would put on Tom, Tom in the pit. And my baseline, like I said, was an eighth grade or two freshman and, and a sophomore. And I didn’t have to play as much. Right. Marching band have to do it now I have to do more. So I move those kids back. So, you know, and I think people don’t understand this, but we only have about 980 at the high school in Dartmouth. Mm. So small. Yeah. So you’re, I mean, these other world groups, you’re talking 2,500, I mean, you know, a lot of these California groups are 3000.
Tom Aungst (01:12:57):
We are Midwest Indy, large schools, large schools. So I, you know, it’s, I gotta do it my way. I gotta figure out how to deal with the, with, with the size of the high school. You know, start I’m in elementary school in fifth grade. I’m in the district obviously. And so but here here’s, what’s in our, and if you follow me around middle school, I try to get all my, I want all my kids to be really good mal players because I can get kids to play in the drum line, but to get, if, if a kid goes to the high school and he is, he’s an eighth grader, a freshman, and he’s probably not gonna play in the drum line and he can’t play mals, then he’s, he’s gonna get frustrated. He’s probably not gonna play. So if you looked at the marching band this year, I had, I brought up I had nine eighth graders that came up that whole back row was, was all eighth graders.
Tom Aungst (01:13:54):
But if they didn’t have that mal experience, I wouldn’t have those nine kids back there. So my number one goal at middle school is I got to get them feel comfortable playing now that’s and then, you know, you see some kids that have really good hands, that’ll pop out and say, you know, I’ll move those, those, those players into the drum line. So there’s always a, I have a plan. I mean, I, my, my kids right now, I look at my sixth grade in my head, I, I know where they’re gonna plan the drum line. I know where they’re gonna plan the pit. That
Dan Schack (01:14:23):
Is honestly, I, I, I think amongst everything else, like having your eye on, on literal, who is going to be in the group, it’s gotta be an advantage that is unfathomable. I mean, like, I, I did not have that experience at all. And I came up into a good program as you know, like Norwalk, Connecticut, especially now with being at you know, is, but I didn’t been a percussion instructor in middle or high school outside of the marching arts. You know what I mean? It’s like, we didn’t have a percussion director. We didn’t have a percussion specialist teaching us mallets or teaching us techniques on any of the orchestral equipment. It was literally like I had my caption, had my techs. Those are the guys that taught a hurricanes, but otherwise it was snare drum or bus. And I was kind of doing that through the internet and just marching locally.
Dan Schack (01:15:16):
So that’s, I mean, that is so wild. And I, it kind of makes me think like when they get to you and then they’re finally like, all right, I’m in the SNA line one, they’ve gotta be advantaged by that point. And then two, like, what does the training process look like? You know, I’m now in, in the snare line at dart myth, you know, what is the type of training that you bring them through? Cause I know like the scheduling and the rehearsing, it all sounds very methodical. It sounds very structured. There’s frameworks, there’s scaffolds. There’s lots of thought behind it when it comes to being in the rehearsal, how are you going through and training in the skills that you feel are the ones that you need? You know, there’s, there’s like those big five, you know, if we talk about legatos double strokes, multiple strokes, accent, tap, playing roles, Paradis FLAS and then you just kind of that’s everything. Right. I don’t know if I missed something, but what, what are you going through to build them into this place where they just have these like insane chops or just control or consistency? What does that look like? Well, all the,
Tom Aungst (01:16:18):
All the stuff you just said is, is at the middle school, I have a packet that I put together in each grade is different. Right. but when now I have, let’s see how many, how many eighth graders? So I have, so I brought up nine. I have a, so that’s pretty good. Nine of 11, not all of those kids are gonna be able to play some of the advanced stuff that’s in that, in that eighth grade packet. Right. but pretty close. So I’ll do some stuff where, you know, we’re through three grades, we’re, we’re learning flam accents. Right. But it’s really slow. And then maybe the next year we’ll do a, the next year. We’ll try to incorporate it into the 16th nuts and you’ll start to see some separation. Right. You have some kids that will be able to do it, but then you’ll see some kids that will start to kind of, you know, I guess start to play mals and really iterate.
Tom Aungst (01:17:07):
So that’s that when I start passing out music, they’re like, oh Mr. Can I play the Roomba part? I’m like, oh yeah. You know, Hey, go play. Oh yeah. You know, so it’s the way the packet. And everything’s kind of set up, it starts moving, moving students around as far as the high school. So one of the reasons I do match grip is if I have a 10 player that I wanna play snare, move, ’em over. You just, you just move over. Right. And you’re gonna pick up a lighter drum. OK. A lot of the exercises, I don’t split the quad parts up, they’ll play the snares and the quads will play the same thing. So you won’t have this kind of T accent stuff and no, it’s it. And it’s training the flat drums the same. So I want my quad players and my snare drummers to be here.
Tom Aungst (01:17:52):
I don’t want it to be like, well, now it, it, it always doesn’t work out like that, but it it’s, it’s training a group, the snares and quads instead of, you know, training the snares and then training the quads to be quad players. Right. The bass drummers, a lot of that stuff that I write they’ll play the snare stuff. So if you look at the exercise, there’s a bunch of unison stuff. That’s like the snares, when they play splits, they’ll do basic splits. It’s either DLE, it’s either triplet or co triplets because that’s pretty much either in, in a single double, triple or a four pattern, it’s either in, you know, BU bump, bump, bump about four drag, triple drag, triple or so. I take that basic idea. And I, we beat that up during March band. Right. and you know, I have a lot, they have a lot of action exercises.
Tom Aungst (01:18:52):
They have to learn, okay, now we don’t Inc. Cause marching band, like for most people, it’s like, all right, you’ve got 15 minutes to warm up. You got five minutes to stretch. Let’s go, cuz all you have left is two hours and a half. Right. So I figured out a way to get all the exercises in that I need. And one, I need ’em to develop this, the, the players, whether it’s a thing called it’s a para little jam where I might just take the first part of that. Or if I got something in the book where it’s, you know, we’re working on inverts, you know, might take something out of the flam exercise or I do a lot of, lot of breakdown exercises. So I might have 30 breakdown exercises. And so, you know, inverts, cause we did a bunch of inverts this fall with those inverts.
Tom Aungst (01:19:42):
I have three different exercises. And to me it’s all, it’s all about just doing, you gotta do it again and again. So you can’t just teach the invert exercise and then you don’t use it again. No, you have to use it again. Have to use again. So every part of the show there’s breakdowns, they know how to break down the rudiment, the pattern, they know how to break down a part. Like if I get to a park, it’s not rudimental. They still know how to break it down. Like a part, like we had this part where it was like dumb, we’re gonna get done. We’re gonna get done. Get up. So I go, okay, all right, let’s add in one snare, we’re gonna get, get up or I do an AB thing. So the, and the piece will play the part dumb we’re right.
Tom Aungst (01:20:35):
Sometimes it takes a long, long time to get the breakdowns. But once you get to a part in the season, I can break down a minute and a half of music in the 20, 20 minutes. I mean the kids, I don’t even, it’s funny. I’m like, all right, first breakdown. All right, here we go. They play. All right, good. Let’s add in you. Good. Next one. All right. Next one. All right. Good next breakdown. Okay. Go back. Add those four bars. Right next one. And, and you were talking about earlier, like how let the cadet thing, that was always a cadet thing, which is a, when, when you’re doing the breakdowns, you’re working on the detail of the music. You’re working on technique. They’re playing a lot, so their chops are developing. They’re playing a lot. They get a lot of endurance everything that I’m one of these guy kind guys like I’m gonna teach you how to shoot the three pointer and I’m gonna give you to, and we’re gonna talk about it and then that’s it.
Tom Aungst (01:21:31):
We’re gonna every day, shoot, 203 pointers and shooting those 203 pointers. I might say four things. That’s it? Mine is. Nope. Do it again? Nope. Keep that down. Yep. Do it again. I’m a very fast, you know, kids. No, it’s like, here we go. Rep time, you know? So as far as chopping out, like playing a role, we chop on chop out on the breakdowns, right. By the time they’re through all this stuff, it’s like, they’re doing so there’s so many things that, you know, that, that they’re getting by these breakdowns. You know, we do that same, same kind of thing and say, I think some like a might owe son, March blue devils, they call them primers maybe at RCC or something like that. So but it’s I, I think it’s, I think it’s the way to go. It’s like, man, you teach the music, teach.
Tom Aungst (01:22:24):
‘Em How to do it. You, you show ’em a couple of exercises, but then as you go along, you have to go back and you have to do the breakdowns. And here’s the thing I don’t want. I don’t want the, the kids to think about what I’m telling them to do. So there’s some instructors, like you stand in front of the line, they go, all right, cut. All right. Hey, you’re slow there. Okay. All right. Nope. You gotta keep that down. All right. Do it again. Now it becomes this verbal thing to be like an like, I guess you’re just like instructing, like for me, it’s like, I’m not explaining this well, but it’s like through the repetition and through the development of these breakdowns, it forces them to do it without me constantly telling them. And I never want to get a kid in the law, you know, kid on the end steering.
Tom Aungst (01:23:14):
Right. Hey, come on. You gotta keep that down. No cut. You gotta keep that down. No, come on. You gotta keep that. Not cut. Yeah. After, while the kid’s like, well, his self confidence is gone the way this, these breakdowns work. I never have to work on that because the breakdowns force that kid to get in there. It’s, it’s almost like if, if you saw the process, you’d kind of go, wow, it’s amazing how, when the kid first played that pattern and he couldn’t do it, but now you use, you’ve done those breakdowns. All of a sudden, everyone can play the, a pattern. There’s just so many things along the way. It’s,
Dan Schack (01:23:49):
It’s, it’s self it’s kind of self cleaning in that way. Where you, because I think to your point, it’s spot on is like, if the kid doesn’t know it doesn’t understand the reference point of slow or fast saying they’re slow. There’s no relat to anything. It’s a moving target in their mind. Right. Don’t understand the rhythm versus all right. We have like this triplet role and we’re gonna like build in each like dittle partial, and then the accent pattern or whatever. Right. You’re gonna identify like the dittle be early or slightly late or too wide or too tight because you’re just isolating that one ditle you can really hear and feel, or they’re gonna put that or like, you know, each variation and then you go down each partial that each can have a different tendency. You build that in and then you put it together.
Dan Schack (01:24:38):
Right. So it doesn’t require this. Like, I think what you just said is actually brilliant verbal kind of commanding, right. Just a intuitive and sort of like player friendly process and making it more about drumming than it is about having to coach them into doing it. Right. Because their mindset’s perfect. Like they’re not ever gonna be in a good mindset period. Right. Like drum core is horrible. Right. You know what I mean? Like you always are tired. So it’s like, if you understand what it feels like to play the width of this ditle in your hand, your mind has nothing to do with it at that. That’s right. That’s right. You’re just do, you’re just doing it automatically.
Tom Aungst (01:25:17):
Well, here’s, what’s interesting. I, we don’t do a lot of individual playing. Ah, yeah. I don’t do a lot. I think, I think it’s, I think it’s good. There’s a time and place for it, but that that’s not part of my cleaning process. No. Like I have ’em in class and I’ll take the drum line and I’ll say, all right, Hey, you I’ll say, Hey, Julie, whatever. Hey, you know, let hear you play that. Okay. Keep that down. So there’s instructions on how the day individually have to do it, but that’s not my cleaning process. Again, it’s building their confidence and building their, I it’s almost like I’m, I’m beating them. I’m beating it into them. I’m like, I’m just, I’m I’m yeah, you’re gonna get it because we’re gonna do it so many times. You’re just gonna get it. And I don’t want you to think about it. Like when I marched it was a lot of, and this is no knock on Hannah, but you know, all right. Play that 10 minutes later, right. Play that, you know, bunks play that. Do you hear that? No. Well, you hear that? No. So it was like 10 minutes on each drum. Now when we played it together, did we, was it better? Yeah, but I’m not sure mentally we were, we were better.
Tom Aungst (01:26:31):
You know? So again, it, I was like, but, and that was kind of, part of the cleaning process was like, you get every individual to look and sound the same again, I, I do some of that, but it’s not, I’m not cleaning. I’m not, that’s how I’m not gonna clean. That’s how might teach something to a, a student, right. Hey, you know, and I might play along and I do know too, as a teacher where it’s like, whether it’s you read their faces or you go, yeah, I gotta let that one go. Right. Moving on. I’ll get that one. Right. That one’s, you know, cuz there is a point where you’re gonna make it worse, but the process that I’m talking about just, it, it, it avoids all those things. Right. It’s like, I, I don’t know how else to explain. I guess you have to kind of see the, the, the process where it’s just, and you know what, we don’t just always do the same type OFS. So we’ll this part I was seeing earlier was, was 180 4. So we’ll start at one 60. Okay. Make sure now I’m instructing. Right. Keep that down. Yep. Taps down. Right. Make sure you do okay. At the next thing on. So it never becomes, it never be, never becomes a personal attack. You know, it’s always like kind of big picture stuff. And then, and then right. Move the, tap up, move the tap up. And then, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s kind of getting them to feel, getting them to do it without losing their confidence. Right. Losing their, whatever that is, that performance, you know?
Dan Schack (01:28:08):
Yeah. I mean, I feel like what you’re saying is what you’re, what you’re describing is so player focused, you’re not centering the whole process on you being there and having to motivate them through every second of it. And I feel like there is much of that drum line. The second you get in front of a drum line, you’re like, I’m the conductor and you have this. And, and because people come from in more orchestral background where you’re like, I am the conductor and I should be shaping and crafting this like a conductor would, but drumline isn’t an orchestra. And if it was, it would be, but it’s not right. So there’s a way where you can get more structured and mechanical and you can decent to yourself. So when you press play on them on the field, they’re just going. And you know, I marched cavalier, which like you said, could be more different than the cadets for that period of time.
Dan Schack (01:28:56):
But you know, when I marched there actually, you know, Tim Maynard and Brian tinkle were my two main educators. So Tim is like the most psychotic, you know, person that ever taught me from a methodical standpoint. Like he, he is so even keeled, but he is, well, he’s pretty funny, but and he would dig into us, but like his process was, was what you’re talking about as micro as I’ve ever experienced it and tin as well. Like I never cleaned a triple roll with eighth notes before I had marched cavers with tin because he introduced that idea of like, if you can play a triple role with eighth notes underneath, you’re actually playing the second partial time. And you’re like, we, we were really playing real rhythms in time. It wasn’t like this like organic thing where, you know, the met goes off and it’s, it gets to sway and flows.
Dan Schack (01:29:45):
Like, no, like we are playing in time and we’re like, we’re like building this into our rhythms and into our drill. And then when you take it out, we stayed right there. It wasn’t, it wasn’t that like allowing it to, to, to fluctuate and that’s gonna happen. There’s no question that, yeah. There’s ebb and flow in music and that’s gonna have like there, I think the bigger challenge is having them maintain tempo, especially I think to go back to your background all the way back when you’re one of the earliest drum course to turn the med up to the levels, you’re turning it up. Well, I don’t think, you know they’re not gonna automatically keep their feet in time marching at two 20. There’s gotta be part of the training that institutes, their consistency physically. Like that whole thing is, is the PHY, like you’re talking about free throws and or about like say, you know, hitting a baseball or pitching or like you have, have to get beyond like your, your brain being yep. In every way. Yep. It has to, you have to get outside of it where it’s like, I don’t, I’m not thinking about this. Like I, I don’t remember the last three, you know, 2011 specifically, cuz we, we were good was like, I don’t remember a single second of those run first. It was like the first note and the last note and it was just like we push played and my feet started going and I feel like that requires a type of training. It can’t just be slower, faster, louder or softer. Yeah.
Tom Aungst (01:31:15):
Well it that’s exactly what it’s. I mean, I, I want the, I want the, the, the, the line and the players to perform, not worry about how to play clean or play in time or what I said to them. I just went them to do it. It it’s, it’s gotta be part of their DNA. It’s gotta be, it’s all, it’s all about to me, it’s all about muscle memory. Right. And we, we were talking about like you know, self-teaching and cleaning. I’m all about this. And I, I, I talked to my, even my high school students, like we just set a camp with the cadets and you know, I talk about a checklist. All right. So when we’re playing this, each you’re gonna have a checklist. It might be different based on your hands, based on what you have to do. So when you’re playing that exercise, you gotta go through that checklist.
Tom Aungst (01:32:00):
Am I using my, my primary fulcrum? You’re using my secondary fulcrum back fingers are relaxed. So when you play that, you always think of what you have to do to play that. Okay, now I gotta do this. I gotta do this. So the time you’re done with the exercise, you’re mentally exhausted because you’ve, you’ve checked all those boxes off. Right. Then you’re then hopefully you’re gonna get to a point where you’ve done it enough that you’ve checked off the boxes that you just perform. And so my, I always have these like things, I don’t know what they wanna call ’em keys to success. Right. So I have my, my girlfriend got me a cup. It says, play the Heights, play the tempo and play the technique. Those are the three things. And I tell my kids when you’re doing a rep, if you think of the tempo, you think of the dynamics, the Heights, right?
Tom Aungst (01:32:49):
And then you think of what are your hands doing? Cause drummings about, it’s a feel, right? And once you get that feel right, you know, and you got the Heights and the tempo, then you can perform. So we’ll do a lot of that in the met man. It’s like, you gotta be perfectly on the met and I’m gonna do one of those. And I’ll say, all right, let’s take the, let’s take the everything away. This is performance. Now. I don’t want you to think about anything. I want you to go for it. I want you to use drum line ears. I want you to balance and blend and we’re gonna do it together as a line, as a team. So now we might do, I don’t know, a hundred reps on something with the met. All right, let me hear that three times, three times without the met you perform you balance, you figure out how to fit in, you know, forget everything that we just did.
Tom Aungst (01:33:32):
You just do it and perform. So I think that’s the, that’s the whole thing behind is eventually you get to the point where, like you said, you’re, you’re in the zone. Oh man. You’re like, you’re like checking out the audience, like yeah, look at that. Guy’s hat. Oh, that’s kind of cool. Right. You’re just like, and I, I remember being like that in the line where I’m like, I’m playing and I, I, my eyes just start to turn. I’m like, God, the me phone player. Wow. You know, her pants are too short, you know? Or I’m looking, you know, like, because it’s, it’s so like the convers, you know, like I tell, I tell the kids, it’s like, you don’t, you don’t, you don’t walk down the hall at school and go, all right. Left foot, right foot. No, you just go. Right. And you might be talking to your friends and then you’ll stop.
Tom Aungst (01:34:15):
And that’s what we want it to be like, like it’s just part of who you are. So you just pick, like you said, you picked up the, the, the sticks, you know, Joe major went and boom, and you’re gone and, and you’re not, you’re not thinking about what you just, you know, had done, but it’s like, you’re performing, you’re, you’re, you know, you’re bringing who you are and you’re, you know, you’re connecting as a group and, you know, cause if, if I was think, if you’re thinking about what you just rehearsed, all right. Well, this is where Tom said, we have to plan time. Hi, you’re, you’re screwed. Yeah, man, later in the show, you gotta think about this. I’ve heard that before
Dan Schack (01:34:57):
Later tonight in the show, you gotta think about this part. Well, I don’t know if I can do that
Tom Aungst (01:35:02):
And I’m not much into speeches before it, you know, and I told drum, I was like, listen, we’re gonna do it enough. And I’m gonna rep it enough that I’m not sure if I got anything to say to you, that’s gonna make it better. So stay it relaxed. You gotta, you know, and then when, when it’s, it’s like, you know, it’s like turning on the car, zoom, here we go. Boom. And you, you just, you go and do your go and do your thing. Yeah. So it’s it, it’s funny, we’re talking about this because this is, it’s a process that I’ve, you know, I think I just kind of did it in and I’m not sure how, I’m not sure how I learned all that. Tom wasn’t a lot like that. He was, he wasn’t really, he was into, like I said, sound and the music and I was into process.
Tom Aungst (01:35:49):
I was into method. I I’m into system, you know, everything like I’m thinking. So, so these great football team was like, like Nick Saban, man. How is that? Like, they’re great all the time or Tom float, but why is drum line it’s great all the time? Why do they do? And so I, I, I almost like came up with, I said, well, I think this is what they do. And it was a system and a method. And then that kind of became how I taught right through repetition. Do it again. And now I don’t know really what Nick Saban does. I’ve had a few conversations with Tom float, but it’s almost like watching from afar. And then you just, that just kind of imagine. Right. And that becomes who you are. So,
Dan Schack (01:36:40):
Yeah, I, I feel like when you look at a drum line, like a team, it makes perfect sense that you’ve gotta create a consistent structure around it, or else everyone’s individual traits are gonna just get this to happen because it’s, we, we all are drawn away from each other in a way it’s like, I don’t think our instinct is to always be like, I’m gonna work with you. I’m gonna meld with you. I feel like we are all like, I’m a, you know, I have been individual and I’m have these special qualities and this is what makes me, me. And then when you get a drum line, especially in a snare line, you know, we both, or snare drummers, like what it takes to get nine SREs to play together is like an act of God. And if you are coming at it, like, yeah, man, today, like let’s just chill and we’re gonna like play this.
Dan Schack (01:37:31):
And then the next day you’re like, all right, here we go. We’re gonna be jacked up. Like I had a, I had a tech at one point I’m not gonna say what you’re aware, but every day was like a D energy. And it was like vulnerable. You can’t, you respond as a player. So it’s like when you come at it. And I think, you know, for me, when I’m listening to you, it’s like Mac mode. I’m sure you’ve heard of Mac mode. But like when I watch Sean teach, I’m like, oh duh, like, you know, it’s very much, here’s the foundation. Here’s the next layer. Here’s the third layer. Here’s the chunk. Here’s the, here’s the next chunk. First layer, second layer, third layer, fourth layer. Here’s the chunk. Here’s both chunks together. Here’s the next it’s, it’s all you can predict. What’s coming next as a player.
Dan Schack (01:38:13):
And as a teacher. So one, it requires way less of a teacher to, to make it stay afloat. I feel like I’ve watched drum lines and they could be blown over like a feather. You know what I mean? Like there’s no, there’s no framework behind it. It’s just like, we’re showing up. And someone’s like yelling instructions and saying like, let’s go or whatever, versus this very clear, like concrete that’s behind it. And like, you don’t need the met to be on to play in time. I mean, that’s really what, what we’re looking for. So I like that that thought behind it’s coaching, but it’s not that verbal cue. And I feel like when we talk about coaching, it’s very much like the words you say in the speech that gets people jacked up. But what you’re actually saying is it’s like, you need to run this route until you physically can’t run it wrong. Right. And then you just that’s right now. And then you, you can zoom out into higher level thinking and analysis in, in a way that’s, it’s not disturbing your, your flow as a player. Right?
Tom Aungst (01:39:14):
Well, something, when you were talking, I was thinking, so if you, you know, we haven’t been to WGI since 2019, but if you came and watched Dartmouth the day of finals, you know, WGI finals, it would be like, right. First set it counts. Okay. Add a set. All right. Let’s tap back. And I do this thing. You, everyone, every, you know, band sometimes tap back. Well, the story behind the tap back was in the nineties. When I got there, they talked all the time when I said reset. So it was like a minute or two. So we kept tapping back. But now it’s part of the process because when, and, and I like to be quick, man, I tell you, it’s like, Hey, you gotta keep that down over there. Hey, come on, room is a little faster, right? Tap back, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.
Tom Aungst (01:39:55):
Matt’s on. Cause I have, you know, my remote now my phone right. Re the met goes, I wanna, I wanna be good, fast. And I wanna get in more reps because I think there’s, you have to have an energy in the rehearsal. Right. If I’m up there talking for five minutes and then I, I expect the kids to March at 200 and playing, they’re not gonna, right. So you know this. So again, if you were there to, you know, you’re watching this all right. First day counts, all right. Let’s tap back. All right. Add the next day counts. Because what I, I feel it’s important to always break it down and remind them the road that they have to take. Right. Because, and if you do that again and again and again in, and again, and it’s just like, now it’s like driving your car and you go home.
Tom Aungst (01:40:42):
Like, I don’t think about, well, I gotta make a left on you know, fair Haven street. Now I gotta get you just go. Cause I’ve done it so many times. So I, I know it drives some people like some staff, people crazy. I did it at the cadets. You know where I’m there. I’m like, all right, let’s add a set. No, go back. Let’s say, okay, because what it does too, is it, it helps the, I, I want the players to clean themselves. So sometimes I will say nothing, but I’ve trained them to go, oh yeah, that’s supposed to be I’m supposed to be here. And I ended up here like in their head. Right, right. Tap back. They know that now they made it. I don’t have to. I tell them, I’m gonna, if I tell you five things, but each of you say five things to yourself that you’re gonna fix as we’re doing this.
Tom Aungst (01:41:27):
Well, that’s 10 times the amount of people that are on the floor. And then we do it again and again. And man, the, the level of performance goes like this. The level of excellence goes like this. So, well, it’s always breaking it. It’s what I was just saying. The breakdowns, right. It’s going through and right. No, here’s the thing I tell my kids. You, when you clean your house, you have to clean it again. You can’t just clean your house on a Monday and then you, you let it go for the rest of your life. No, you have to clean it probably again on the Monday. Although my house looks a mess cuz I’m writing. But like it’s, it’s that same thing you, you, I don’t like to call it cleaning. It’s like you’re developing, you’re maturing the sound and the quality. And but man, it’s like, again, you, you know, you gotta do it again.
Tom Aungst (01:42:14):
But the process to get to that level to me has to be the same. And I think it’s, I don’t know. It’s it’s about, it’s about muscle memory, confidence being part of who they are. And you know, I think at some point I should write all this down. Like I feel like not just this conversation, but it’s something I’ve done for such a long time that I probably thought other people do it. And maybe that’s why cuz that’s what it was. I was like watching these other groups going, man, I want to be like these groups. So how do they do that? Well, they have to do this. Well of course they have to do that. Why do they sound like that? And then sometimes you find out out that they do none of that, but I’ve made that up in my head. Yeah. And that becomes my process. I’ve learned that, you know, it’s like, so I’ve learned a lot from everyone. Maybe it’s not true. And it’s probably some of it’s a lot of, it’s probably not true, but it, it has. I wanna thank everyone cuz it has helped me. I’m stealing from you. But I don’t even, you know, like maybe you don’t even do that. You know? So. Yep.
Dan Schack (01:43:21):
I feel you. I mean, like I I’ve been the last couple years I’ve been getting more into watching basketball, you know, Travis, big Sixers fan and I live in Philly. So you know, paying attention to the NBA the last couple years, man, like, that’s been actually helpful to me about everything with drum line because you, you want, you want your guys in a certain mindset, you want them to feel a certain way. You want them to believe a certain thing about themselves. You want them to feel that they are reliable, that they can rely on their team. Like I feel like coming up in drum court and I’m guarantee, you’re definitely gonna empathize. It’s like, I just feel like I was getting yelled at all the time and I didn’t feel like the drum court environment was about confidence building and performing.
Dan Schack (01:44:09):
It was about like grinding down, calling out individuals. And that’s how I taught when I first got in, you know, I was just up kids, asses, you know, like really kind of digging into them individually because that’s what I experienced. And then some of the kids absolutely prospered. Like, I’m not gonna tell you it doesn’t work, but I was tired. Like, I didn’t feel like I was enjoying it. I didn’t feel like a lot of the kids are scaring, scaring away. And then it’s like, you know, I don’t need more of that. Cause I’m like, I mean, I just like, kinda like you, like, I came up in the drunker world, so I’m already like high energy and aggressive because I’m Ana drummer part of our idiosyncrasy. So like learning how to, how to have a different process, I guess. And like design for me, designing is different.
Dan Schack (01:44:59):
Like I don’t, I’m not as process oriented as a designer, as I would be being a battery guy or being a snare tech, for example. Yeah. But just learning about what you want out of this student and how you have everything to do with that. Like rich Hammond said to us one time that’s UWP. Like if they’re ticking, you are letting them tick. You are, whatever you’re doing is facilitating, not what you want and you’ve gotta do something to get them to perform how you expect. It’s not, they don’t know what to do. And honestly, being in a drum line, you can’t tell what what’s going on. Right. So that’s such a I’d say a particular and thin thing that you can puncture so quick, man, like one wrong comment or one wrong tone of voice or whatever. It’s just like, you can see the kids like, oh, I don’t believe you anymore. Like I see that happen on yeah. Well
Tom Aungst (01:45:52):
Think you’re right. It’s then this is no knock on instructors that taught me. But you know, a lot of it was through intimidation. Right, right. And yeah, it come out and that’s, you know, because you were taught that way. And, and the thing that, the thing that I’ve tried to do over many decades is okay. I’m a, I’m a big guy. Okay. I have, I have a lot, lot of energy when I teach, so I can be scary anyway. Right. it, it it’s, it’s, it’s funny. I’ve tried to, I try to be goofy and I try to tell bad jokes because I want the kids to feel like, like, like I don’t want them to be afraid of me. Right, right. Cause know again, I’m intimidating enough anyway. So it’s like, I mean, you ask my kids like, yeah, he’s got these stupid dad jokes, but I want the kids to be relaxed when they’re doing it.
Tom Aungst (01:46:47):
And, and like you’re saying, I don’t want someone to freeze up. Right. And we’ve always, we always made, we’ve made that mistake where it’s like, and in my head now, as I’m, I’m older, I’m like, I just let that go. Cause if I start pushing that student further. Okay. You know, and I, and I, I know too, so especially with, you’re talking high school and middle school, it’s like, man, that’ll be better next time, you know, kind of thing. But so I think this system and process I was talking about, that’s why I do it because I never wanna get in the middle of like, you know, like, well, did you hear that? Dan? You’re like what? I said, no, seriously, you didn’t hear that again. You ticked that Dan. Right. Okay. Really? You’re gonna, you know, so now what happens is, is this I’ve chain, my mood I’m off.
Tom Aungst (01:47:31):
You’re like, I don’t wanna listen to you anymore. Okay. We’re done. You might as just put the drums down and go, go home. You know, I never want to get to that. But if you get into the process of like, again, the breakdowns, here’s the system. All right. Let’s chop out, okay. Watch your feet. Like, like these almost like bullet point instructional, verbal things, you know, that you do. And I tell my kids too, like I don’t even take attendance in class grades, everyone in the percussion gets an a cause. If they can put up with me and the, and, and, and the rigorous experience, you’re getting an a right. If you tell me that you’re not gonna make rehearsal, then I trust you. If you say you have to go to the bathroom, I’m not gonna give you a hall pass. I trust you.
Tom Aungst (01:48:19):
So there’s, there’s a, there’s a, a trust. I wanna, you guys wanna be an adult, right? The adolescents, they all wanna be in adults. So if there’s just trust that that goes on. And I, I didn’t have that when I first got at the Dartmouth, but I feel like my kids they’re gonna do the right thing, not their kids, but they will, if something goes wrong, they usually tell me. And I, and I said, sometimes, you know, it’s, it’s okay to say, I’m sorry, but just tell me the truth. It’s when I don’t know. And you haven’t told me the truth and you didn’t tell me you weren’t gonna be at rehearsal. Okay. That’s when you’re gonna get the wrath amongst, you know, and it’s usually once, maybe once a year. And it has, it’s not on a particular kid, but it’s like, I might do stuff like, all right.
Tom Aungst (01:49:02):
So listen, I’ll bring the whole group in. Someone told me an administrator told me that there was someone that was roaming the halls. Now, if someone goes to the bathroom, like for instance Jonathan, let’s say, and I know it’s Jonathan. I said, Jonathan, let’s say you go to the bathroom and roam the halls. And a principal sees you now he comes to me. And then he says, you’re kids. I said, Jonathan, even though biologically, you’re not my kid. You’re one of my kids. Right. You can’t run them on for 20 minutes. You can’t just, so there I do a lot of those. And the kids are like, yes. Okay. You know, but I want this, I want this trust. Like, if we wanna be great, you have to wanna be great. You have to be motivated. You gotta get a hundred on my exam.
Tom Aungst (01:49:49):
You know, you go to English class, Jonathan gets a, a, B you know, like Shirley gets an a, and you know, Tom gets a D whatever in this class. And it’s honors AP five star percussion class. We either get a hundred or we get a zero. Yeah. That’s it. So you’re in eighth grade, you have to rise up and you gotta perform like a high, like a senior seniors. You gotta set the bar. Ho you know, it’s like, like those kind of conversations I try to have with the kids. And I say, guess what? You’re Dartmouth. People expect a lot outta, outta you. Yeah. So you can’t just go out and, and just, it’s not red. You’re not regular high school. This is beyond that. And this is how you get to excellence. You know, this is where you need to, this is how you have to think this is what you have to do.
Tom Aungst (01:50:35):
And, you know, you have to wanna be in first position correctly all the time, go through your checklist. Are you in first? Like, if I have to tell you in March, you have bad first position or second position. Well, then I don’t know. I don’t know what to say. Now. Some kids will, but it’s, it’s just trying to move everyone up. And I, and I’m all about everyone will achieve. Everyone will achieve. And if they don’t, that’s my fault. That’s not their fault. That’s my fault. So if there’s a reason why that concert based kid is late again, so this, did I write it wrong? Is there something that he has to listen to? So I do a lot of that. I blame myself, which I, I am a teacher, right? I, that kid can’t do it. That’s on me. That’s not on, that’s on the kid. That’s, there’s something that’s missing that I, that I need to do a better job. You know, I mean, I’m, I’m way harder on myself than I think a lot of people would, you know, imagine now the types of, like, I talk to myself, I’m like, Tom, really? You couldn’t figure that out. That should have been soft. Why do you have the pit? You know, like, I it’s like these, these voices in your head.
Tom Aungst (01:51:50):
Some people that know me, they’re like, you have those, like, see Neil and I are like, brothers, you know, Neil might say, you have those voices. I’m like, yeah, it’s talking to me. It’s like, God, I can’t believe I screwed that up. Right. So, yeah.
Dan Schack (01:52:04):
So I wanna ask, I think you’re, you’re going into, if I did my math right around your fourth decade of drum core between marching and teaching, I believe that’s right. What has changed the most about the marching percussion activity from your perspective? You know, you’re on this thing, you’re, you’re teaching middle schoolers, you’re teaching and designing and directing at the high school level. You, you are still writing now program facilitating at a world class core level, of course, arranging still. When you think back to let’s say your early days, teaching and writings, especially what is the
Tom Aungst (01:52:44):
Biggest thing that’s like, this is not the same anymore. This has changed a lot. Look, it’s I’ll start by saying, I think what is the same is excellence. It’s playing great. You gotta play great. I mean, that’s always from whenever, like 87,000, you gotta play great. Right. We still talk about out that Neil and I it’s like how do we get out of where we’re at? You know, ninth plays. We gotta play great. It’s the bottom line. You gotta play. Great. No one, you know, have judges going, Hey, can you, can you write a hard apart there? No. It’s about clarity. Quality, clarity is musicianship, right? So that’s, that is always there. I think a couple things, I think the kids have changed way better players. I mean, the talent, the kids that, that come in now here, here at my high school, well, they don’t, they don’t come in, but they they’re able through social media to have an image of what it should be.
Tom Aungst (01:53:43):
Like the other night I had a parent meeting, well, we had a, we had an unveiling meeting of the show Monday night. And so there’s 45 kids in the group. And there’s some dancers, so we use dancers. So there’s nine dancers. Now, some of those dancers are just from this school, but they have a, they just went online, looked up Dartmouth. Right. And they saw, and they had to have a, they have a, in the old days, we have to, you know, put a video up and have the kids watch. So the level of, of all of the kids have, has, has risen just because of that with the drum core, I mean, indoor has changed the AC the drum, correctivity a lot of things for the better, you know, maybe not be some for not the better, but the level of the kids that come in and play in the eighties and the nineties, we weren’t really looking for kids that have experience in indoor.
Tom Aungst (01:54:38):
Right. You were just now, it’s like, well, you got, you know, you March mystique or rhythm X or whatever. Yeah. You’re in, I mean, that’s, you know, that’s, that’s your kind of your golden ticket. So I think the yeah, the instruments, I think the other part too has changed. Like the fr ensemble has gone through the roof, you know, obviously the electronic stuff, but just, you know, you look at the 80 electronic stuff or not electronics, but the keyboard stuff, right. To, you know, got better in the nineties and then going on now people probably don’t realize this, but the eighties and, and up until 95, if you played in the pit, you could play, potentially play all the instruments. So you might play Timoni on the opener and then you go to Mareba 92. Wait, when I wrote, I wrote everything from 92 93, 94 up until 95.
Tom Aungst (01:55:35):
So I wrote everything and we used to have like, all right, you’re playing Tiffany now. All right, you’re going over to Marba. Cause it was this philosophy of being well run and percussionist in the front ensemble. Right. and I think really the cavalier had changed that where it was like, you’re gonna focus on a specific instrument and that technique you know, so now that’s what, you know, kids come in to be room players who come in to be vibe pit players, or even know the drum line. You know, we used to take SNA players and put ’em on quad, right. Used to take, you know, snare players and put ’em on base. I mean, those, you, you could do that. You know, I don’t know if we’ve done that, but now kids come in, try for bass drum, quads, snare, and Mareba and you know, our temp or whatever.
Tom Aungst (01:56:18):
So I think, you know, the kids, the instruments I think the other part too is designing. I think you know, we, we design with effects and snippets of music. We don’t, we don’t care about it’s like playing music that, you know, people can sit there and dig. I, I, you’re gonna see, I think this year with the, with the that’s, I think that’s important. Like I want, I, when I’m part of the design team, I want it to be a, I want people to enjoy it, be entertained, whether you’re five or you’re 55 there’s gonna be depth in the orchestration visually and musically. That’s gonna be some cool effects, but we’re also gonna play some music. I mean, Jay Boko and I, and you know, it’s like, so how do we get to one, you know, place is important. You’re gonna hear music that isn’t like, just, I don’t know, sound in the background of a movie, like you’re gonna hear music.
Tom Aungst (01:57:21):
And I think that’s, that’s important. That’s what kind of the cadets have, have been about. And some of the, like, you know, some of the groups have kind of gotten away from that. You know, I’m not, I’m not saying, I’m not saying that’s totally bad, I guess, but I think that’s what sometimes, you know, people that come and listen, they’re confused because, I mean, imagine you’re on the radio and you know, lady Goggle comes on, you hear 30 seconds. And then all of a sudden you hear the bridge. And then we go to, you know, duke Ellington, what is this station click? Now you wanna hear the too, right? You wanna hear the music? You wanna hear the words, there’s a story being, there’s a story being told in the music and the words. And when we don’t play enough music and we just play snippets, I feel like, you know, we lose people.
Tom Aungst (01:58:12):
And I feel like, I think, I think what it is Dan, I think, and this is, I’m not, you know, dogging on the visual people, but the activity has turned very visual. So, you know, like, this is what we’re gonna do, visually. This is what it’s gonna look like. And the music becomes just background to that instead of the music being in the forefront. Right. And then the visual, it, it’s a lot more of watching a movie and the music is making you feel a certain way instead of going to the Boston pops and you’ll listen to the music. Right. So, but I think with the cadets, you’re gonna hear, you’re gonna hear music. You’re gonna, you know, I mean, you know, we’re not gonna play this like last year was just, Hey, let’s play charts. I mean, we’re not doing that, but to me, it’s important. You gotta play some music. It’s gotta, I mean, I don’t know. I wanna hear it. I wanna have some fun with it. I don’t wanna just hear like, you know, four measures of the intro and then you go to the bridge,
Dan Schack (01:59:12):
Like you gotta, and then it’s random sound effects and then it’s a voiceover. And then if, yeah, I, I, I feel you. I, I like the integration of more things into drum core, beyond marching and playing. I think we all like that. We all like cor choreography me personally, and I have publicly advocated against the purchasing of hundred thousand dollars props. I stand by that. I don’t think we should be allocating massive funds of anyone’s budget into inanimate objects. I think we should invest in what gives the students a better experience, which is ultimately great instruction, food, housing, et cetera. So I I’m with you on that. And I think too the turn towards coach cohesive musical package is it’s different because much of the writing going on even today is like movement 1, 2, 3, 4, I’m using source a, B, C, D.
Dan Schack (02:00:13):
And it doesn’t again, to go back to just the conversation we started with is like, what is the nucleus of this idea? What is thing that’s keeping everything gelled? Or is it just like, you know what I mean? I don’t know. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s looking back, not just that construction, but at the art and what you want the art to say and how you want to speak as a cohesive holistic idea, not just movement. One is this song that I like and movement two is this song that’s gonna allow us to have section features and movement three is a ball and movement. Four is a reinterpretation of movement one. Yeah. You know, formulaic type
Tom Aungst (02:00:56):
Deal. Well, and, and here’s the other thing, too. I think the, you know, you have designers like myself that, you know, you do the indoor and you do the drunk, do the marching band. And so and I think sometimes like in, to me an indoor percussion, you don’t have to play the piece like you can do, you know, it’s different. It’s just, it’s just, the arena is smaller. You know, the drumming is very visual. I mean, there’s just so many things that are different. Right. And so, but so it’s take that into like marching band or drum core. Sometimes doesn’t, doesn’t always translate as well in, in that bigger arena when you’re like, you’re up there going, what, what what’s happening right now, you know? Cause it’s just, I think you have to think about designing for the, whatever the, you know, the pageantry is, whether it’s marching band, indoor drum core and then the arena.
Tom Aungst (02:01:52):
Yeah, I know Dayton’s big, but it’s, I mean, imagine taking, you know, the indoor and putting them in Indian, right. I mean, you’d be up top going, okay, what’s go. What’s going on? But you know, when you do it in Dayton, it’s big, but there’s enough intimacy where you, you can see the performance faces. You can, you can sense the energy. I think, I think the, I think the arena, I think Indianapolis is too big for drum core because you miss that connection with the performers. I mean, I love, I love going to shows where it’s a smaller venue and you’re like, you’re right there, man. You can feel the, I don’t mean volume, but the energy of the performance and you can see the kids and, you know, you get into, into even, even in I’m up in the Yamaha, both which is not even up up level or higher, the top level it’s the core is just there’s that you’re missing that piece, I think. But Hey, I
Dan Schack (02:02:50):
Mean not to, not to mention we’re in a do.
Tom Aungst (02:02:53):
Dan Schack (02:02:53):
Yeah. That’s which is just, yeah.
Tom Aungst (02:02:57):
Yeah. I think, you know, the upside to that is, you know, everyone gets the same temp. Right. You know, it’s like we, we go, we go down to Jackson and it was humid and I think Madison went on, it was pouring and then it chilled out and we went on and you kind of felt bad for the groups that are, you know, in the humidity. And, but this is like, it’s, you know, you’re in, in 72 degrees and even the warm up, you can warm up inside. So there, you know, but I, I do agree. I think there’s, you know, you’re, you’re in that dome and it’s not, it’s not really meant for that. Right. It’s like, you’re, you’re, I think there’s some stuff that you’re missing.
Dan Schack (02:03:34):
It’s a little washy in there if you ask me, but that that’s you know, the grass, the grass is always greener, but we are we’re two hours in. So that was, that was fricking a blast. I mean, we could keep going, I gotta pee. So I think this is a great that’s
Tom Aungst (02:03:50):
Dan Schack (02:03:51):
Okay, Tom, I just wanna thank you for giving us your precious time. I mean, that was the clinic. So I hope everyone that listens is, has their minds rocked as much as I do, because there’s much to be inspired by take away from that. So, Tom, let me thank you on behalf of my my, my childhood self and on behalf of everyone listening for jumping on here today. Yes. Well,
Tom Aungst (02:04:11):
You’re welcome. And, and you know, I hope you can hear that. I’m excited and passionate about, about doing this still at, at 58, you know, years old. And you know, like I said, I think I just wanna continue to learn from see what, what designers like yourself are doing and, and picking some things up and maybe not necessarily like talking to you, but seeing what, what goes on and go, wow, how can I, how can I bring that to what I do? So that’s just been fun. I, I love doing these, these kind of things just cause I love talking about, you know, the, the pageantry and thank you for appreciate fantastic everyone. See you next time. Peace.