On this episode Dan hangs out with Cameron Halls, former Blue Devils & Carolina Crown snare drummer turned Battery Instructor for the Madison Scouts and Percussion Director for Bellbrook High School. Cam and & Dan discuss the contrasting approaches between various drumlines and how to get the most out of your students.
Read the transcript of the podcast below.
Dan Schack (00:00:09):
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Dan Schack (00:01:39):
Well, everyone, welcome back. This is the second installment here of a that Dan band show, new project on the horizon, and super excited to welcome a friend and past student and a confidant cam all is on here, cam, what’s up.
Cameron Halls (00:01:56):
How are we doing? It’s good to see you.
Dan Schack (00:01:58):
Good to see you. We are doing super well. Where are you located right now?
Cameron Halls (00:02:02):
I am right now, uh, in Dayton, Ohio. It’s Southwest, Ohio. Yep. In Lansing about a month ago. Um, I was there about there for five or six years. And now I’m stationed in Dayton.
Dan Schack (00:02:14):
Where are you living? I lived over there.
Cameron Halls (00:02:17):
Okay. So I’m living right off of, uh, uh, Alex belt, Alex Bell road. People get off by 75, exit 47. About two minutes away from there. Yep. Yep. I’m doing, I am the percussion director at Bellbrook right now.
Dan Schack (00:02:33):
So many people I know I’ve literally had, I know
Cameron Halls (00:02:36):
Your name has been brought up as one of the, one of the people who used to teach there and design and do some choreography and stuff.
Dan Schack (00:02:43):
L I a little bit. I helped out when I was living with Tom when he was doing that Tom Gasperini. But, uh, so for our listeners, you know, obviously I literally know your entire background and I know both of your parents. So for our listeners, can you guys talk a little bit about your marching background and like how you got into marching, percussion and kind of where you went with it and sorta how it, it, it brought you to where you’re at now?
Cameron Halls (00:03:04):
Sure. So I was always kind of from a musical family. My, um, my grandfather was a band director and my grandmother, both of these, uh, grandparents on my mom’s side, Michigan state musicians, both of my parents went to Michigan state. Um, so I was kind of always down that road and I was always going to do music, but it was just kind of like, well, how involved am I going to actually be in this? Um, my dad was a, was a drum Corps person. So he is kind of the person that started kind of pushing me to go to shows probably around seventh or eighth grade is when I really started going, I think 2010, the Kalamazoo show I saw the Cavaliers, you were at the first round Corps show I ever went to. That’s really weird small world. So, uh, so yeah, so I was actually, uh, I think, you know, this, I was a flute player for awhile.
Cameron Halls (00:03:47):
Um, I did like, I did like flute sacks for awhile. That was kind of my main thing. And then eighth grade I joined my high school’s indoor ensemble. Um, so I did that and then kind of drum line throughout high school. And my first independent group was with, um, motor city percussion, my snare tech, Brad Perry, the chieftain, the one, the one shout out Brad Perry named route. Um, so motor city, that was my junior year of high school. And then I went on to do north coast academy for a few years. And that’s when I also started getting into Michigan state doing the Michigan state drum line. Um, and then there, I really kind of jumped in to the, to the world-class. I mean, north coast was a world-class ensemble, but when they, um, folded unfortunately rest in peace, north coast, we missed north coast. Shout out that’s when I joined rhythm max, I did crown and then aged out at blue devils. So that was kind of the very, very brief summary of how I got up.
Dan Schack (00:04:44):
What are you doing now? I mean, you’re still obviously involved in activity, so it kind of, what is your current and you, you graduated is that music ed
Cameron Halls (00:04:52):
Degree from Michigan state
Dan Schack (00:04:54):
From Michigan say, and so now you’re doing the percussion director thing at Bellbrook. And who else are you? Are you working with?
Cameron Halls (00:05:01):
Yeah, so I’m doing the percussion director gig at Bellbrook high school, and then I’m working this summer, uh, with Madison Scouts on battery staff there, and then this upcoming winter, there’s going to be indoor group professional Scouts as well, which I’m also going to be involved with.
Dan Schack (00:05:15):
Nice. So we’re plugging in a new, uh, I believe you told me it was going to be an open class, independent
Cameron Halls (00:05:21):
Germline, independent open.
Dan Schack (00:05:23):
And where’s that going to be located out of
Cameron Halls (00:05:25):
That is going to be in the Dayton Cincinnati area. So the drum Corps is going to continue to function out of Wisconsin and I, and I believe that’s kind of the path forward with that, but yeah, the indoor group, um, the co-directors of that are Ryan Ellis and Matt Hahn who are also kind of local Dayton people. So, um, that’s going to be kind of where we’re stationed for the, for the winter.
Dan Schack (00:05:44):
Crazy. So yeah, I know you have a storied past with drum Corps just because like your dad, like he was a snare drummer, right? I mean, so he was probably like, camera’s not playing the flute,
Cameron Halls (00:05:57):
You know, and after going to all of these drunk horse shows, I had to pick an instrument, right. Flute was not going to be an option. Saxophone is not going to be an option. Um, so it was either pick a brass instrument or start playing drums and started playing drums. My dad was a drummer. My grandfather was also a drummer, um, and the Michigan state band as well. So kind of a lot of history doing, doing drum line. And that was kind of just call it destiny, if you will. I don’t, you know, I’m not super superstitious or anything, but, um, it was definitely a good, good path to follow.
Dan Schack (00:06:27):
Like, you didn’t really have a choice, like, you know, um, similarly, but not eggs. One-to-one like my dad was a child Broadway actor. Um, and my mom was like in the ballet troops and stuff in New York city. So it was just like, I wasn’t like I’m going to be, become a performing artist or whatever. It was literally just like, I never play, well, I did play sports, but, uh, I’m five, six. So that eliminates a few of them seriously. And then like, I just despise team sports. Like I’m just not, I would be skating and then GoDaddy getting into a drum set and then getting into snare drumming. But it was just like, that’s just naturally how it happened. So like, it’s not surprising that, you know, your dad’s a drum Corps guy. So like, I mean, you’re at Scouts now talk about like rooted in tradition and, and that kind of thing.
Dan Schack (00:07:16):
But I do want to ask you about sort of, cause my perspective is like, so for people listening like cam and I met because he tried out for crown for the 17 season and pretty much made it at the first camp. If you asked me, I mean, you were pretty much one of those main people and it was like you and you have a bunch of experience leading up to that point. But I feel like you were one of those people, you, Sean Reese, couple of other people coming in just like really prepared and really standing out in terms of like, I know I have a like confidence and I have like a pretty solid idea of who I am as a drummer. So like, were you always like that? Like, were you the type of snare drummer that would just like constantly be playing? Like, is this something that was embedded in the culture at Michigan? Like where does that kind of come from?
Cameron Halls (00:07:58):
I think a lot of that kind of comes from actually in 2015 and 2016 season. I actually got cut at quite a few places. Um, and I think that was kind of the first eyeopening experience of like, oh, maybe I’m not as good as I think I am, you know? Um, and I understood that that was always kind of a possibility. Um, but I had made, you know, this motor city group I made north coast, my first audition and then I really started going to drum Corps auditions, um, and getting cut and then realizing, man, I really got a, I got to put my foot on the pedal and really start going. Um, so I ended up marching actually music city in 2016, I filled the hole there really late like April or may or something. And that was my, my first drum Corps experience.
Cameron Halls (00:08:39):
And that was when that drum Corps was still an open class. Um, and then, you know, the following season, I just think for crown, you know, that kind of was like, I really don’t have any other option. Like I am going to just, I’m going to go all in at this drum Corps, I’m going to, I’m going to audition. I’m going to practice. I’m going to go for all this material every single day. Um, and I, you know, for a lot of my students where I, um, that I teach, I always recommend, you know, you should watch, I’ll just met a drum Corps that you, that you really, really, really want to be a part of and not, you know, whether that’s Carolina, crown blue devils, Madison Scouts at whatever drum Corps that is, and then maybe a drum cord that might be a little more achievable.
Cameron Halls (00:09:16):
Um, so we’re, I was at that point in time, I feel like I was, I had the skills to make crown, I knew Phil Andrews. He was a connection that I had there. Um, and I was, you know, I kind of just went all in and I think that’s really important. You can’t, you know, like I said, it’s great to audition at different places, but if you really want to make a group, I think you got to kind of put all your eggs in one basket at some point in time and just say, you know what, I’m going to go for it. And if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. And then I’ll try again next year. Um, but I, you know, it takes an insane amount of time to, you know, obviously depending on the material, but sometimes it takes an insane amount of time to build that, to build that confidence.
Dan Schack (00:09:52):
I think that’s, uh, the, the focus part of that is big because it’s not necessarily obvious to a younger student that they shouldn’t go to multiple groups and sort of diversify and make more connections, like in a way, taking a more grandiose approach where you’re like, I want to get to know all these different stabs with the re the reality is they’re spreading themselves so thin over the audition is your spreading yourself too thin. That is not going to happen. Like it’s, we make the connections almost a year to year. Um, you know, it’s, it’s seeing some, a comeback, not someone come in for one camp and like be really in our face and then, oh, but I’m going to this, that, and the other drum Corps also, we’re like, that’s like red flag, you know, like I tried out for cadets and blue coats in oh eight, both groups definitely couldn’t play either beats for either group. That’s like, I, like, I like the cadets, the blue coats. I want to go like, try out your like, try to make it, or like, just see what it’s about. And like, yeah, it didn’t really like have a focused or like intentional approach. So it sounds like you were just like, this is the one packet I’m learning and I’m going to like learn it. I got to play it down.
Cameron Halls (00:11:08):
Yeah. For that 17 season. That’s what I, you know, then 20 15, 20 16, I would get cut, go to other drum Corps, get cut and go to another drum Corps, get cut, you know, and realizing, man, this is a lot of music to learn and prepare. And it’s like, man, if I just, if I really put all my eggs in one basket right now, and I know that that phrase sometimes is used in a negative negative context. Um, but I mean, yeah, really like saying, you know what, I’m auditioning for crown that’s, you know, I have no other option, you know, and similarly from age out, um, I was auditioning, I blue devils and, you know, um, at that point didn’t really quite have a plan B you know, obviously like I had marched from the previous year, um, I knew people at other places, but it was, I mean, it was my age out.
Cameron Halls (00:11:51):
It was like, well, I gotta, I got to go for it. You know, you gotta, you gotta really just be willing to commit yourself. And, you know, failure was not really an option at that point. Um, and I think when that, when you have that mindset, you’ll, you’ll practice more, I think, and you’ll find more time to practice. You know, a lot of people say, oh, I can’t go to the gym. I don’t have time. I don’t have time. It’s like, if you really want to do this, you’ll find time. You’ll find time to do it.
Dan Schack (00:12:13):
Yeah. That’s a, that’s a really good point. It’s like, you need to have a purpose behind that sort of thing. It can’t just be legatos for an hour and then double B and triplet rolls. And it’s like, why are you putting the hours in? You know, what is the thing that made you want to do this? You know, what are you striving to do? Or are you striving to wear a uniform or are you striving to play consistent and perfect perfectly? And that will allow you to wear that uniform. And I think some of that’s sort of underneath what we’re talking about that I’m interested in is this ability. And it’s something that most people can’t do cause it’s really hard. And it’s part of what we’re discussing is all of these groups have these extreme technical and like visual nuances. So like when you came to crown, you’re probably like, I need to like look and play and like be a certain way. Did you feel like going from crown to devs because you were like more advanced player that you were just like, yeah, I’ve seen the blue devils play and I can get this right. Cause I am, I’m always hearing like they want people to come in and just like, get it and that you don’t really talk about. So like, what was that process like? Or like, was there a process? Am I asking the right question? I think I am. Yeah,
Cameron Halls (00:13:32):
I think so. I think so in, in the easiest way that I can explain it is that the blue devils, the, the focus is way more, I think, on like the ensemble as a whole individual kind of process. And that has to do, I think with the creation of the show, with the rehearsing of the show, but even at the audition, I mean, we had an entire day where it was basically just visual. Only you go with the Vish people. There are no drum people there at all. You just were not wearing drums, you’re dancing and you’re doing across the floors, you’re doing all kinds of physical stuff. Um, and I wasn’t really quite, quite ready for that. Um, in terms of, I mean, physically, I think I was ready for that, but I, I just, I didn’t expect that. I, you know, I, I knew that the visual stuff was really heavy there.
Cameron Halls (00:14:15):
Um, but I didn’t really expect to be doing a visual audition. You know, my, usually when you go to a drum Corps camp, especially with, with the battery, you might do one big block or something, doing some marching and playing some circle, drill, some cross drill or something. Um, but this, I mean, yeah, the entire day, you’re not even with the drum stacks, you’re just with the dish, people doing learning dances, learning across the floors, which was definitely outside of my comfort zone. Um, and, and I have a little bit of experience with that stuff with indoor. Um, but even then, you know, I definitely was not mentally prepared to like do all of that stuff and it ended up being okay, you know, I think I was set up really well, but that, that was definitely a weird experience.
Dan Schack (00:14:53):
So I love that. It’s like, you literally get you do everything you’re supposed to do to get to that highest level. And then you go to the core and you’re like, yeah, we’re going to drum and like play these crazy legs. Cause it’s literally blue devils. I would say what they’re known predominantly for are the licks. Like whether it’s a battery concept, add in roll visual, you know, BDO three, like go back to what they established, then they’ve done this, you know, they’ve had this evolution of like, you’re gonna play some crazy stuff. You’ve definitely never played before, but in order to like even get your foot in the door, you need to dance. Is there something special about that? I’m wondering if like there’s like a key in there where it’s like, if you, if you can get to the final boss, like you’re ready. I don’t know.
Cameron Halls (00:15:38):
Yeah. Well it, I mean, that was, I remember hearing about this from, I actually took some private lessons with Nick RC. Um, before I, before I, you know, obviously I had to kind of learn the style, you know, it wasn’t that different from, from what I learned before. Um, just kind of little nuance things, but yeah, you told me, you know, like, just so you know, I mean, it’s very possible that, I mean, you know, we can have drummers that are just insanely exceptional drummers and they just can’t move their feet and they can’t dance. And unfortunately they just, they, they can’t make it sometimes now that being said, it doesn’t happen that often. I think usually the people that audition there and ended up making it are really smart and are able to adapt really quickly. Um, but yeah, I mean, for the, I mean that was, that was pretty nerve wracking knowing like, oh, well, I’m just going to have to go dance for a day.
Cameron Halls (00:16:23):
You know, they don’t, they don’t expect, I think that everyone’s gonna be perfect. Um, but even then, it’s interesting learning how a lot of these, these people out there and out in California, they’ve been dancing and doing this stuff for like forever. I mean, that’s just, that’s just part of what they do. Um, and I think that’s something that’s definitely different than more east coast approaches is just that dance background just isn’t there a lot of the time. Um, it’s you can tell that sometimes with the BD choreography and stuff, it’s like, it’s not what you would call, you know, band body, you know, for starch, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that. It’s like actual dances that are choreographed by, by these people. Um, and that was just very interesting, just very out of my, out of my comfort zone.
Dan Schack (00:17:07):
So you’d had such a different experience. I’m sure. Just like to speak visually, like crown is nuts and bolts muscle. Absolutely. We do drill, you know, we move in play like that is such a important side of drum Corps. And I think crown is really like the best at that. And then on the flip side is, you know, maybe not flip, like it’s not binary, but really polar, especially in terms of competitive drum Corps, you have what BD does. So like what is the process with the way that the staging and the choreo is coming out? Like, is this something where it’s like, you’re really learning all the layers upfront? Is it more, let’s get a broad approach to how this is going to happen in the staging. And then the Korea goes in, like I would love to hear, cause I know it’s Scott Chandler is kind of mastermind behind that, but you know, from your perspective, like how did that sort of unfold in the season?
Cameron Halls (00:18:06):
So a lot of it starts to the first thing that we choreographed I think was at one of the camps. And that was that giant kind of circle hurricane thing. We learned that in a gym that actually the way that we learned is that was they taught it to a color guard member and they broke everybody off in pods. Like just random people in the core with the color guard person. And they’re like, they’re going to teach you this dance. And it was that. And we kind of learned it in the gym. And then that, that part of the show was kind of, um, evolved throughout the course of the season. But in terms of the actual drill, the thing that is pretty insane, that a lot of people, I guess, may or may not know about it is there’s no drill charts, no dots, no corn.
Cameron Halls (00:18:42):
I mean, obviously you have spots that you stand, but there are no printed coordinate sheets. There are no like the actual drill files. They don’t exist. They’re all, it’s all just completely staged. So if you’ve ever done, I mean, obviously you have a, for anyone listening, if you ever done staging where, you know, you don’t have your dot card in front of you, if someone’s like, Hey, you’re going to stand here. It’s basically that. Um, but with an entire drum Corps, um, so sometimes that process can be pretty slow. Um, and I remember myself obviously were at crown for two years. I was used to finding my dots, standing on my dot and that’s it, that’s all I have to worry about. Um, so I definitely, I was like, what are we doing? Like what’s going on? And I was really freaked out by that.
Cameron Halls (00:19:22):
And the vets and the drum line had to tell me like, it’s cool. Like just wait, like, you’ll see, it’s going to be fine. Um, cause there’ll be times, you know, we’re going to work with the brass on this set formation movement thing for like an hour. And it’s possible that the drum line will just be sitting kind of chill and doing nothing for 45 minutes to an hour. Um, and then they’re going to come to you and give you something and they’re going to go back and they have lots of projects going on in the field and then kind of out of nowhere, they’re like, all right, let’s take the top to letter D or something. All right, we’ll see how it goes. And then you can take a look at the final product from up top. It’s like, oh my God, like, where did this come from? This is amazing. Um, so trust the process is definitely a phrase that came up a lot, which was like, you know, obviously, like I said, coming from my background where it’s like, you gotta worry about yourself and just go into your dot. That was different. Like, um, I was super freaked out. It was like, man, we’re learning this show so slow. I don’t know what’s going on. Um, but then after a month of spring training, you know, you have this final product and you look at it and you’re like, oh, that makes sense.
Dan Schack (00:20:22):
That would not be achieved in PI where
Cameron Halls (00:20:27):
Yeah. Some of the stuff that they do, you could, you just couldn’t, you couldn’t, I mean, you could technically, I guess to figure it out in highway, but it would be, I mean, it would be, it would be a mess to do in pilot where
Dan Schack (00:20:38):
Yeah. And I feel like it’s cool with them because the expectation of the training or of the aptitude is so insanely high, that you can undo all the processing that we’re taught, you know, as snare drummers and as band people and color guard is so it’s so process oriented and that is great when you’re learning how to learn. But when you know how to learn a band show at the level of someone who is in the blue Delos, there’s in rhythm X, you can just undo all of these processes and just go let’s, let’s take a more interpretive or subjective or like flexible approach to like even teaching it. And that obviously shows up in what the product is. I just can’t believe how coordinated the stuff is. Like I would love to hear like, is it David glide? Is Scott Chandler, like who is holding that thing together? Because like you just said, like, it just seems like there’s so much happening and so much detail, but it’s always working together. There’s always a coordination to it. Like how is that happening without drill?
Cameron Halls (00:21:48):
Yeah. I don’t, I don’t know, uh, you know, a ton about the up top, but from what I’ve heard, it definitely seems like Scott Chandler is kind of the, the mastermind behind a lot of these things and he helps I think design the uniforms and stuff. And he always has a lot of obviously really great ideas, but I think in terms of the core, the choreography and blending everything together, getting the show to be cohesive. I think a lot of that is, is yeah, that’s Scott Chandler. Um, but in, you know, in turn, I mean a lot of the admin what’s, what’s great about not necessarily admin, but the people up top they’re on tour. A lot of the time, you know, like a lot of the instruction that we’ve got, um, from people like Scott Johnson, um, you know, we like, he would, a lot of what he did was really big picture and Scott is on he’s on tour pretty much every single day he’s got
Dan Schack (00:22:33):
A trailer, right?
Cameron Halls (00:22:34):
Oh yeah. I don’t, I don’t think I’m trying to remember if he brought it much on tour actually, but I mean, yeah, he’s there a lot of the, a lot of the higher up people are there a lot of the time, which I think, I mean, when you’re trying to design a great show, when you’re designers that are a hundred percent of the time, I mean, it makes sense that everything is always really working smoothly
Cameron Halls (00:22:57):
Every day, every day. So varies very, very similar to rhythm acts in the way that it’s just like, oh, we have a show today. All right. We’re putting the change in here you go. I remember rhythm X on finals day in 2018. There’s like a few arrives before the, and we’re like, Hey, we’re going to add a few things that, okay. I guess so, you know, we’re going to do it, put it in. So, I mean, yeah, pretty much every single day, I think maybe the last day or two, you know, they really wouldn’t add much. Um, but yeah, pretty much changing stuff all the time.
Dan Schack (00:23:25):
Yeah. RX 11, two thirds of the drill changed finals week. And then we won the visual capture and it was just like how,
Cameron Halls (00:23:34):
Yeah. Sometimes you got to do it. And the great thing, I think that we talked about not having it on pie, where is, I think pie where puts you in boxes sometimes it’s like, well, I have this, this block, I have this line, whatever the curve, whatever the form is. And it’s like, well, you kind of, you’re stuck to something. So I gotta have this and I gotta have this. Um, and you’ll notice sometimes, um, in some of these blue devil shows where the mix shows he’ll sometimes have like individual people or smaller groups of pods, kind of doing things that kind of lead them into the next set. Um, which when you’re thinking this is a pie where it’s like, oh, if I have one person run off and do this one thing, that’s going to look weird. But if you design it right, and you give people choreography and you have all these ways to fill in the space, kind of a lot of those issues are resolved. You know, you’ll find little people just kind of doing, doing their own thing sometimes. And it looks fine.
Dan Schack (00:24:22):
It’s the same with Sabellius. I mean, there’s ideas that you’re not going to be able to articulate using Sabellius there are limitations with the way that that platform is put together. Same with PI, where there are certain intervals at PI where we’ll flag as too small or whatever, like yeah. You watch certain drill moves that these indoor drumlines do. And you’re like, you can’t express the way that that snares turning in opposite directions is going to create space for you to, to fit together. And that’s, that’s super critical. And like one thing I learned a lot about, uh, especially with X and likely similar with devs, I would guess, but like Tim Jackson straight up writes drill, like whether he thinks he does or whether Tim Fairbank’s like, thinks about it like that, like in 16, Tim Jackson was like, you go over there, go over there, like all the choreo moments. It’s not like they’re standing there going like beat, beat, beat eight V eight D D it’s like this super integrated thing. Or it’s like, Tim, Jackson’s like, oh, you’re gonna do this over here. And then Fairbanks is like, this is the, you know, the number or like the interval that you need to be thinking about. And that’s that, in-house part of it. You know what I mean?
Cameron Halls (00:25:36):
Yeah. Well, and another thing that I think is cool is that it’s, it’s also possible to have both of these, like, you can have some parts of the show that are drill and some parts of the show that are staged for some more complicated things that you just can’t, like you said, you just can’t get to work in a program like PI where, um, but I think what’s also sort of realized is I still have dots. Like I still have to, like, if I’m on the yard line to behind the gap, like I still got to stand on my dot. Um, and, but what’s cool about that is once you figure it out and you have the parts where it’s like, okay, this isn’t a dot, you’re just going to kind of run here and take this shape, you know, and you have checkpoints. And when it’s not on a dot card, I think it gives you more ownership of your show.
Cameron Halls (00:26:12):
And that’s something that we started to do at Scouts, as well as, um, no Bellamy’s writing the drill like staff. We have, we have drilled like drill, um, drill sheets. Like we can see the forms. There are some things that are kind of staged. Some, some choreography that we have, but the kids don’t have.cards. The kids are taking ownership of the show and they’re remembering their dots. And I think you can’t do that with every group, but that is a great thing. If it’s possible, you know, it really gets the kids to take ownership of their show. They know I’m here, I have this spacing. Um, and I just, I just that, you know, and I think that’s another great way to, to ingrain the show.
Dan Schack (00:26:47):
Yeah. And on the flip side is you can March literally dots exclusively and be clean and do insane things like the Michael Gaines Cavaliers approach. And like, dude, I, trust me, I’m not like a visual Wiz with dots and with math, like I don’t really care for that too much. And marching Cavaliers, like literally don’t say the shape of the form you’re standing in. You can not say circle, you can not say line. You can’t say form. You don’t say guide. You don’t say interval. It’s a mathematical dot that’s on the, on the field. And your pathway is the hypotenuse of a right triangle. Just like it was so insane. It was like, how is this actually gonna work? And we were so bad. And then like July 17th, we’re like, boom. It just like everyone starts in their dots. It’s just a, it’s so cool that like, those are competing groups.
Dan Schack (00:27:45):
Like one group is in this corner and one groups in another and like the Vanguard to the blue devil is different is so cool because it’s, it’s such a different approach and that’s, that’s acceptable. You know what I mean? So I wanted to ask you, you were talking about, um, you know, talking about like Tim and Tim and I I’m, I’m genuinely interested in, I don’t know, but like, so your first year X was 18, correct? Correct. And yeah. So that’s the, all the, world’s a stage show. So for people who haven’t seen it, you should check it out for the next 2018, like no floor, a bunch of mobile kind of stage props that could like move and swivel and were dynamic. And just this really interesting, like open palette. So like, I would love to hear, I mean, you’ve been put through the ringer now you have the crown thing for two years and that drill, then you went your first year at rhythm X there’s no floor. Right. So talk to me about that. Like forget devs. Cause by devs, you were prepped, you had done a year of red, the Mac, so you were actually fine. What, talk to me about that 18 year.
Cameron Halls (00:28:47):
Cool. So with 18, it was pretty interesting. Cause like part of the time we would, we would have, uh, we wouldn’t have a floor, but we’d be a game on, or you’ve been to game on down in Cincinnati.
Cameron Halls (00:28:59):
Yeah. So on game on, it happens that on one of the floors, they actually have like foot tiles, like foot, foot by foot tiles. So, but 10, six foot grid, um, you can see, we can still kind of get all that drill to work. So it rehearsals what we would have. And if you ever see any rehearsal videos, you can probably see off on the side, like snare stands and quads tens and they stay every six feet. Um, so at the shows you would actually go and set it up. So we would have, um, some just people on staff, whether it was, I don’t know, Josh or, or somebody, you know, they’d carry just spools of string that would have, you know, every six feet and they would just put something there. Um, and, and all those props, like whether it was the piece of the drum set to a high hat, um, or I kicked her out or something, um, those are actually positioned on a coordinate.
Cameron Halls (00:29:45):
So most of the stuff that we did was still on the grid, you know, but a lot of times if you’d say like, oh, what’s your dot, you know, don’t really ask that question. But the answer of is like, okay, do you go to your dot or do you to go to, or do you go to the form? You know, the answer is yes to both of those questions. So a lot of times you look at the drill, the drill functions, like the battery is doing something it’s not like, oh, the snare line is. And sometimes it’s like that, you know, but usually it’s the batteries in a form and we have a corresponding, you know, that’s going to be three foot spacing. That’s going to be two foot spacing. Um, now where that is in relation to everybody else on the floor, like obviously we’d rehearse that kind of stuff, but that’s less important.
Cameron Halls (00:30:26):
It’s really like, we’re focusing on this form and that this form looks good. That’s kind of, that’s, that’s gonna work for us. Um, so, but yeah, I mean, a lot of the times it would definitely be, you know, am I, am I really in my dot everyone else looks right? You know, it’s like, everyone else looks fine, so it doesn’t really matter. And especially when you get to a show, it literally doesn’t matter. Cause there’s no floor. Um, as long as you guys, as long as everyone blends and goes to the forum and makes everything look right. Um, it works. And again, that’s like taking really, really, really smart people who know how to work with each other really well and just saying, do it just, just work as a team, just do it, just make it work. Um, and most of the time that that ends up working, working out pretty well,
Dan Schack (00:31:10):
Not recommended to the Scholastic A-class groups, for sure.
Cameron Halls (00:31:14):
No, no. Yeah, no. And same thing with blue devils. Like not any, not any drum Corps I think could do that process. Um, I think, I think only specific and it’s, they’ve just been doing it for so long and they have that process, um, process going. And like I said, we’re kind of doing, I think some similar things at, um, at Scouts right now, a lot, a lot of the team is a lot of blue devils alumni, people who have taught at blue devils. Um, so we’re trying to try to make the best of both worlds. Like, okay, we’re going to go to our DOP, but we’re also going to take ownership, know what this form is, know what’s going on. Um, you know, like you can go ahead and I think in, uh, we just had Scouts previous show, there’s this big, you know, everyone starts on a vertical, vertical front and they turn the whole thing. Like obviously you can’t just go to your dot, you know, you’ve got to make sure you’re working with the people next to you. So I think there’s ways to make both of those, most of those worlds kind of work in tandem.
Dan Schack (00:32:08):
So wild. Yeah. Like I, I really liked written X because of how wild that is, because it’s not about boundaries and rules. It’s about what feels good and what like is expressive. And really that gives the like groups like that, a special flavor every year, each, each group’s going to have a somewhat different sort of looking and feeling about them based on like who the leadership is. Like, it’s very much about the members in that way. And even in what you’re talking about is you just make it fit. Like you just make it clean. You just got to hit like be in the form. Like that means that really only one person has to get it right. If it’s, if it’s your guiding left or you’re guiding right. Or your guiding center, that’s your person, everyone else go with them and we’ll address them.
Cameron Halls (00:32:56):
Yeah. A lot of it has to do, I think with the ability of people, to just one being able to flip the switch. Right. And that rhythm rhythm actually is definitely a huge thing. Like you can be same thing. I’m talking about a dev. Tim could be working with some section on something and you gotta be able to be doing nothing for like 20 minutes and then just get right back in it and pick up where you left off. So part of that is being able to like anticipate the pace of rehearsal, the ability to just not ask questions and just trust yourself to answer questions. You know, a lot of the times, even if somebody messes something up, the only time when, when Tim or Tim would get frustrated, it’s like, well, you made, you made a mistake, but you didn’t go for it. You know, you were, you were, you were acting soft about it. And you know, if you’re going to make a mistake, go for it, like go in the wrong direction and, and believe in yourself to do something. Um, and I think the ability of everybody to do that is, is really, really important. You know,
Dan Schack (00:33:47):
Isn’t there some story about Brad Perry, wait a second. I think there’s a story about Brad Perry literally like going completely, like literally what you had said in 2013, like the drill move went like this. And he just like went fully the wrong direction, which dude in 2011, I believe we had a, this dude, Isaac, who was a, he Vanguard March pulse. And he was, he was split center with me and 11 and we literally did a drill change. Like, and it’s, it’s the same mindset, you know, but we had this drill change where it was like, we used to go this way. And then we went this way and this fool, like, we all went this way and he was just like, and I’m saying, playing the part, marching the technique, like fully committed to it. Like just literally as wrong as you could be.
Dan Schack (00:34:39):
But it was just like, yeah, like that’s a great philosophy of a group’s culture is just like, don’t waste a rep having bad individual quality or performance, or like, even if you’re messing up, why wouldn’t you? And I think devs are, are to me, they hang their hat on something like that, where it’s like, you don’t catch people in that group looking like they’re not pros. I don’t know what they talk about, but it’s like, they all just look massive and tall and they just move gracefully. And like, I can’t find weakness out there.
Cameron Halls (00:35:11):
Um, kind of the, the answer, I guess it’s not really a question you’re asking, but the answer to a lot of this is like, what’s the alternative, you know, like this person goes off and marches in the wrong direction and they started shaking their head and freaking out and looking it’s like, bingo. Like that person made a mistake. And that’s definitely a thing that I have to keep telling my students is like, if you make a mistake, don’t tell me that. Don’t tell me that you made a mistake. And I know that’s definitely something I got in a bad habit of doing a lot of, I think a lot of people at crown got gotten the bad habit of like, sometimes we would like hit our carriers or something like, oh, I messed that up. Like, you don’t have to acknowledge to me that you made a mistake. Like I know you made a mistake. Um, and that’s definitely a thing we’re talking about auditions for people that want to go to auditions. If you brake on something, just keep moving your hands, you know, like convince people that you’re, that you don’t make mistakes. And if you look confident, you know, a lot of times that looks better than admitting that you made a mistake in a way, you know,
Dan Schack (00:36:01):
I feel like that’s like exclusively what I did as a member. I was like, I’m not that good. I kind of don’t hit my dots, but I’m like, okay, whatever. But like I just made it look cool. You know what I mean? Like I’m not the best player in any single one of those lines. I was like one of the better players probably by the end, but like, literally, and I feel like I talked to you guys about this all the time at crown, which is just like, just make it feel cool and you will look cool. If you feel like a rockstar, then at least you’re trying to give off the right impression. If you feel like you’re in a shell, you’re in a shell, you’re going to look like that. And it is literally it’s perception based. And it was just like, make yourself look cool.
Dan Schack (00:36:46):
Like literally at rhythm X, like Travis was outside of me in 2011 and I would be, you know, we’d be beef. And like, we’d be learning something completely on the fly. And I would just be like, not playing a thing. And like, Josh was just like, look over. And I would just be like this, like, why are you Travis? He’d be like, oh yeah, he knew it was me. Whatever. But like you can’t one. Why are you taking it seriously to also like hitting your K your end of your carrier? Like, oh, like you’re like going to be mad. Like, I don’t know. That’s just not, it’s not going to make you play better.
Cameron Halls (00:37:16):
It goes back to, you know, this is obviously a very famous Scojo quote, but like, if you’re not having fun, why are you doing it? You know? Like why would you sign up for something and then have a terrible time and hate yourself every time you made a mistake, obviously people are going to make mistakes, like shout out. A lot of, I don’t want to name, drop Brandon oleander, but like Brandon old later makes mistakes sometimes. I mean, like everybody makes mistakes, you know? But the people at the top they’re really, really, really good at making their mistakes just look correct. So, um, obviously, yeah, I always tell my students like, step one, don’t make a mistake. Step two, just convinced me that it didn’t happen. Um, and I think like you said, if people, if people give off that vibe, like, Hey, I’m confident I’m going the right thing.
Cameron Halls (00:37:56):
Like a judge might say, Hey, I don’t know what’s going on here, but this guy is going for it. You know what I mean? I love that, you know, um, that I’ve in WTI 2016 semifinals. My drum broke off of my, of my Randall, my harness, like the little pole attachment, literally snapped on our, on our snare break. It’s a, the last part of the show. I just had to carry my drum and I just kept vibing. And the judge saved. They’re like, yeah, like that’s such a bummer, but he’s going for it. You know what I mean? Like what would have happened if I just froze and like tried to hide, you know, that would’ve looked awful.
Dan Schack (00:38:28):
Yes. You made a preferable decision though. Not preferable to the drum, not breaking or falling off for sure. So along with sort of the conversation we’re having, you know, what do you feel like you were able to take? Cause I, I have my own opinions on this and you know, we have crossover like with our experience and it’s like, what do you feel like you’re able to take from these experiences you’ve had between some different cultures? You know, I think crown is so process oriented. If you’re into like a meticulous detail and into just like, and I’m not, I actually don’t think like a drum line of drum line approach isn’t necessarily that I I’d say that’s a different conversation, but like the core, like the culture of everyone and the way that, that works together, like it’s very process oriented. It’s very much like we rehearse super consistently the ensemble timing and the verticality is like super important.
Dan Schack (00:39:21):
Then you branch off, you’re going to group two groups really that are so different in like the way they just treat artistry and treat construction. And now you’ve been filtered through it. And I went through a very similar process on various levels. Like, what do you take from that? You’re now on this education side. And you’re now speaking on behalf of, well, you were just a member and now you are already teaching GCI, which congrats, obviously that’s dope. What do you make of that? Like, like where do you see yourself? Like kind of landing with everything.
Cameron Halls (00:39:52):
Yeah. You know, I think, um, this obviously is probably like superstar cancer, but I think the biggest takeaway is that one isn’t better than the other. You know what I mean? Like obviously both, both sides of that have their merits. Um, and I think one of the biggest misconceptions that I think a lot of people have about blue devils is that like they don’t rehearse hard. Um, and I think, I think if I could take the biggest takeaway from all of this is that, you know, like you can work hard and also chill at the same time. You know, like when blue devils are on the field and they’re going for it, like, there’s, like you said, there’s not a single rep where people aren’t going for it every single time people are in it. Let’s say we’re going from top to, you know, they don’t have to, you wouldn’t call them pages, but like top to the trumpet feature or something, we know that that rep everyone is going to go for it.
Cameron Halls (00:40:38):
We’re going to get, we’re going to work super hard. We’re going to rehearse. Okay. Water break. Cool. Let’s chill. Let’s, let’s take five minutes and take a breather. Um, so I think the ability to work super hard and then take a break and just turn the brain off. Maybe not totally turn the brain off, obviously, but be able to just kind of take a step away and then come back to it is super, super important. You know, things like, I still, I feel like when I’m working at Scouts or I’m working with my high school, you know, stuff like Mac mode, Mac mode is great for learning dots, for learning where you’re supposed to go for putting music to drill. Um, I love working super hard on Mac mode for 20 minutes, 30 minutes. All right, let’s go chill in the shade for five minutes. Let’s get some water on the strengths and Gatorade. I think that way, you know, the kids are able to process and say, all right, I just did. I just worked my off for 30 minutes. Like, let me at least think about that. Um, I think sometimes if people start like race into water and race and back out of the field, like that break in that ability to grasp what’s going on and what you just did kind of doesn’t happen. Everything kind of just gets mushed together at times.
Dan Schack (00:41:39):
I don’t care for that personally. I’m I’m not, you know what I mean? I’m not wanting to do that. I actually, we were pretty crazy not with water breaks, but like resetting when I was marching, just because I don’t know why, but I do want you to expand on something. I don’t know this. We might be the first in recorded history, but I want to hear from your perspective what Mac mode is because yeah, because we hear like the vocal at crown and like, I think people just hear it, but like, I would love from your perspective as a two year member of the group, like, what is it like, what does it entail? What is, what is it for like,
Cameron Halls (00:42:16):
Yeah. So, so I would say math, I could, you know, obviously this is, this is Sean Shawnee, Matt, good old Sean mass approach to I’d say all of the above teaching drill, learning, drill, and putting hands to feet. And obviously like sometimes a lot of Mac mode, I guess. I mean, even the rehearsal process kind of our crown is basically Mac mode the entire time. Um, but I’d say that in super, super, super intense level of focus, like thinking about where you’re coming from, where you’re going, where you are right now. Um, and I think that’s a lot that is super, super helpful for like talking about minus ones, plus ones transitions. I think a lot of drum lines where they start running into issues. It’s not like, oh, I don’t know where my daughter is. It’s like, I don’t know where my next.is. Like, I don’t know I’m going to this set.
Cameron Halls (00:43:03):
I don’t know how to get from this set to this set. So a lot of what Mac mode was to me was like bridging the gap for a lot of these things. Like we’re going to take page one to page two. All right. You’re standing in page one point to page two. Look at it. Think about it. Think about what your daughter is. Okay. We’re going to mark the page two. We’ll do trips, few reps of that. Two to three, two to three, three to four. All right. Can we go one to four now point your first stop once your next stop. Where’s your minus one going to be, where’s your plus one going to be at the end of the ramp? A lot of the questions I think that people don’t typically ask are those, all those questions are answered in Mac mode, you know, and then same thing with the visual. It’s like, okay, we’re going to do visually one rep. We’re going to do it again. We’re going to do a music, one rep, okay, we’re going to put that together. Where’s your plus one. Where’s your minus one, basically dissecting every single part of the music playing and marching experience, I think can kind of go into tobacco mode.
Dan Schack (00:43:59):
I literally have never been taught by Sean. So like, I am just a observer of what that is, but like, I think you kind of put it great. And I think the words that came to mind for me were like process and scaffolding. It’s like one plus one is two, two plus one is three, three, you know, it’s just like this constant adding up then going back, connecting, going back, connecting, going back, connecting. And it definitely services the music and the drill insanely well, and it’s super logical. And I think like in 17 we got that super consistent clean drum line because it was just like, you know, I mean, he was like him and I were like splitting the role, but like, that’s not me. I don’t think anyone would really describe me as process oriented, uh, necessarily good, bad. I’m not even reflecting on that.
Dan Schack (00:44:55):
I’m just saying I have a different entryway into how I think about drum line. So with him and I together, I just remember like the consistency of the Mac mode. And also now we got into the, the fluidity and the visual reality and the swag, you know what I mean? So like that year was super bad-ass. I feel like that’s a special, like when people think about crown, like you were literally at the, the year, one of what is now, you know, and we’re kind of back to, uh, that generation’s gone and now we’re sort of restarting and they’re just trying to look like you guys, which is really cool. Like I noticed going in there, I was like, oh, these are all the students that watch cam and watched Phil and Sean and Sam and everybody like do that. And now they, they know it better than you guys did when we started, which has been super trippy. I don’t know what I think about that, but you know what I mean? It’s like, they, like, they were the students when, when you were doing it and they’re, they’re just, it’s really cool. I don’t exactly know what to make of it. Cause I was only in there for nine days, but I was like, okay. Like it’s not bad. They got it.
Cameron Halls (00:45:58):
Well, it’s definitely interesting seeing that, like seeing people on the snare line, like I don’t recognize a lot of these people and it’s interesting still seeing the same stuff happened, you know, still doing, still doing this one, you know, I’m like, I’m like, man, like I can’t believe some of this stuff is, you know, and I think a lot of that actually, Michigan state as well, sometimes like alumni would come back and they’re like, oh, you guys still do that. Like we did that 20 years ago. You know? Um, that stuff is very, very cool to see us as alumni, whether it’s Michigan state or rhythm, extra blue devils. And obviously I’m a very recent alumni of a lot of these, a lot of these places, but it’s definitely interesting to see kind of the transition of the years and the evolution of what people are doing now.
Dan Schack (00:46:38):
Wait, dude, just wait. Yeah, it honestly is. It’s very trippy. Like one, I think it was 2016. I didn’t do that much of the road cause I was working with FJM and I went to the Cavaliers, their finals rehearsals site and it rained and I pulled the hole. I was with Russell Wharton. You probably know him. And he literally pulled the whole snare line into my like FJM van that I was like as a 15 passenger van. And we were like talking. We were like talking about old times. We were talking about like, we were doing that whole thing. And it was just like, this is pretty cool. Like, you know, as much as like, you know, once you age out, I personally, because I’m myself, but like you have to undergo a process of like rejecting the things like you’re you’re you’re so your tendency is so much to just do exactly what you did as a member that it’s like that.
Dan Schack (00:47:32):
And the rejection of that, it’s like kind of being a kid with parents is like, you both become your parents and you reject them as well. You know, basically. So it’s like, I both was so like, this is exactly how this has to happen. This is how Brian tickle did it. And Tim Mainer did it. So that’s what I’m going to do. But at the same time, as like, I don’t want to do exactly what the groups, I was just, I don’t want to just do what Tim Jackson was doing. Uh, and it’s this weird thing. And like, I mean, I’m sure you’re, you’re going to be going through that. And you’re teaching even. I mean, I didn’t, I didn’t teach world-class right away. And it was just like, what do I actually believe? And like, what do I actually want to do? Like, you don’t want Madison Scouts to just be the blue devils drum line for various reasons. So it’s like tough because it’s like, you’re find out like, what values were important to you when you were like absorbing all that stuff. And honestly, all this stuff you just don’t have a clue about as a member, because you’re like, you should be like right here. And then as you age out, you like open up a little bit.
Cameron Halls (00:48:29):
I think one of the biggest people to help me with this was, uh, Ryan Alice, who’s now the captain head at Scouts and the way he approaches a lot of, I think the educational stuff that we try to preach at at Scouts is pretty much asking yourself why to every single thing that you’re doing, whether it’s drumming, whether it’s learning drill or marching drill, um, or operating in a drum Corps, you know, drum Corps world, like pretty much asking yourself why for everything. And I think that’s important because drum Corps is definitely a tradition based kind of thing, whether it’s traditions with, you know, like I know Cavaliers have a lot of personal traditions, I’m sure Scouts have a lot of, a lot of long lasting legacy stuff today that they buy into. But a lot of like, just the way that drum lines operate in the way that drum Corps is rehearsed, I think just operate off of what they’ve done in the past.
Cameron Halls (00:49:18):
Um, and I think if you take a step back and you actually ask yourself, like, why are we doing this? You know, like, why are we doing a gush and go, you know, these kids have just been on the field for 45 minutes. Why are we asking them to go and get water and not take a break? You know, things like that are like, you should really be asking yourself why for everything. Why am I teaching my students this surface specific thing with my hand? Why am I teaching them that my hand moves this way? Like, I think a lot of people just teach what they’ve been taught because it’s worked for them in the past. And I think 90% of what I’ve been taught, I still, I still teach to this day. You know, I, lot of, pretty much, I think 95 or two, if not a hundred percent of what I was taught by Josh at rhythm X, you know, I still teach my students about like, why my hands work, like the way they do the physics of everything.
Cameron Halls (00:50:04):
Um, but I think it’s still important to ask yourself, why am I doing this? Why am I explaining it this way? And sometimes like your ideas might not even change. They might just be extrapolated upon, you know, I think definitely you can get pretty, pretty science fair with a lot of the drumming things. And I think that’s okay in private conversations, but obviously, you know, I I’ve been doing that a lot on my own so that when I do teach my students, I know what I can say. And I, I want to keep that information small. So a lot of the conversations that we’ve been having at Scouts have been like in-person, or, sorry, not in person, but with a staff, let’s get as detailed as we can. Let’s ask ourselves why for all these things. And then when we teach our students, it can be all right, we have X, Y, and Z for you to focus on. So in private being super, super, super specific. And then when we’re with the students, teaching them what we want them to know, and I’m trying to be as vague, but also as specific as possible, you know, I guess I’m, what’s the word, all inclusive. The stuff that we want to teach should be all inclusive for a lot of things.
Dan Schack (00:51:05):
The simple reality is like sometimes going like way too deep. There’s just really no reason for it. I mean, like our hands aren’t the same, you know, our, uh, everyone’s bodies are different. Like you can try to over define anything you want, but like, I am this tall and he’s that tall. So is it really 22 and a half inches? Is it when your legs cross? Is it still? No, it’s not. You know what I mean? Like there’s every step of the way there is a paradox that makes you go, why are you trying to just turn into your, your hand has to be closed when you’re playing stairway and there can’t be any space in your hand. Yes, there can. There definitely can. And, and, and if you can play better with some of that, who’s to care, if you sound great who’s to care.
Dan Schack (00:51:49):
Right. And so I agree that the convention of, you know, it’s like, it’s odd because when you have students, you want them to buy in so much and create a identity for them as a player and as a performer where they’re just like, this is super cool and I’m super into this, but that also brainwashed them into believing. There’s not another way to do it or think about it. So I definitely see what you’re saying with like, having them ask why on the flip side, something Tom Panama always talks about is the inmates running the asylum. If you have 150 students asking why the reason is those five people who designed the show know why, and you should trust them. So there can be, you know, like we’ve run into problems where like, we give people too much flexibility with, with that question asking, and then it’s like frivolous question asking, because that’s, what’s cool right now is to just analyze everything and be negative.
Dan Schack (00:52:45):
That’s like the flip of that is like, you know, I think you were talking about this before with people like getting mad. Like if you’re having fun, why aren’t you doing it? Because some people just live to be miserable because that’s the intellectual thing to do. Look at what’s wrong with the world. Everything’s wrong with the world. And I noticed all of it, look at how this is problematic and they’ve got this it’s problematic. It’s like, what’s going on with you? You know what I mean? If the whole world is against you, what’s happening inside. So it’s like a really weird balance. And like every student is so different, you know what I mean? Like every relationship you have, the student, there’s no like way to just be like, I’m the snare tech like really you’re working with like nine or 10 individuals. And your relationship with each is different, which is like, not totally what we think about education because we come up in this like corrupt system of like, you know, public school and stuff.
Dan Schack (00:53:37):
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Cameron Halls (00:55:46):
Well, I it’s, uh, I’m in the Dayton area. So obviously a lot of people that I still talk to and a lot of the people that are on staff at Scouts are also also rhythm X people. But no, it’s, it’s definitely, it’s definitely weird. And it’s, it’s weird being involved. And like I said, it’s weird seeing people that I don’t recognize in groups like that was a same with Michigan state, especially with this pandemic. Right. We lost like an entire season right. Of, of, of students. Um, so even going back and seeing some of the like Michigan state snare, Cheryl-Ann rehearse, I’m like, how do any of these people, man, like, wait, I don’t know any of these guys. So I’m like, what’s up with this. So I’ll let you know how it goes in a couple of years. I’ll see how I’m feeling.
Dan Schack (00:56:25):
It’s weird, dude. I just remember so much like, you know, the Omaha video and like I
Cameron Halls (00:56:32):
Think a million views, right? Yeah.
Dan Schack (00:56:34):
It has like a ha like 1.3 million views and like, you know, teaching and people just being like, you’re Dan is like, but you don’t really know. You don’t really know who I am. And I don’t really know either, but it’s like, you got stuck in that weird thing of just like the band, YouTube fame, the cloud, the cloud. And that did a lot of wrong for me. Like the cloud thing, like I never consciously was like, I don’t need to like expand or like worry about anything because like, I want drums as a center or like, whatever. Like, but I do think like, inevitably, that’s going to be with you and then you have to deal with that. You know what I mean? Like you got to deal with being a world champion and not scaring people away.
Cameron Halls (00:57:17):
Yeah. On sometimes sometimes people bring that up and I don’t know how to react. Almost like, oh, what’s up, it’s not a world champion. I’m like, yeah, I guess so. You know what I mean? And I think one of the biggest things that has been different going into teaching is that I definitely feel almost more ownership now being on staff, definitely being, being a, being a, being a member. Obviously I can only do so much. Right. I can, my job is to hit my dot and to play clean with the guy next to me. And that’s, that’s really all I have to do. And being on staff, obviously there’s different responsibilities, but you know, when the drum line is clean, that makes me feel good. And that makes me feel almost better than being a part of it. You know? Cause it’s like almost I I’ve helped make this happen. So almost, you know, the ownership part of it. I almost feel like I have Mo more ownership. Um, when, when teaching as Scouts and teaching with my high school, cause it’s like, this is, it’s not mine. Obviously there’s other people working, working there with me as well. But it’s interesting seeing your product versus your product as a member,
Dan Schack (00:58:18):
I’m following you a hundred percent. Like when the blue devils are doing poorly or, well, you are one, 150th of that. If the snare last plain clean or dirty, your one ninth of that when the snare line is plant clean at Scouts, you’re kind of like solely responsible. It’s almost not the member’s responsibility basically at all. Because if, and this is a great lesson that I was told from rich Hammond, who was our original program coordinator and director at CWP. And he’s like a legend, but like he was basically always telling me and Travis, like they tick, if you let them tick and that’s not like you forcing people to play well, it’s, you have to have a strategy for when what you’re doing, isn’t working, you have to do something else. And if you ever blame the students for being bad, you’re just excusing your own responsibility. And I think that’s what you’re saying is like, you should feel more pride in than playing clean because if they’re not, you should feel full responsibility for why they’re not.
Cameron Halls (00:59:16):
Yeah. Well, and on that point, I it’s, it’s almost like none of this happens to me, I guess all the time in the past, but like I’ve had people that I think are great instructors. I’ve had people that I think are not as great instructors. Um, and I think a lot of it is, you know, I think this is with leadership as well, but like your teachings, I guess also slash leadership ability is kind of on this like X, Y axis. I don’t know if I’m backwards or not, but on one axis you have how good of a player you are. And then on the other axis you have how good of a leader, how good of a teacher you are. Right. And I think ideally if you can get both of those, it’s great. Like you, you, you’re a great player. You can, you can show yourself as an example what you want and you also have this great teaching pet pedagogy, um, as well.
Cameron Halls (01:00:00):
And I’ve had great teachers that are not super great players. And I’ve also had teachers that are really, really good, great players, but not super great teachers. I think I said, I think I said that, right. I think a lot of, you know, a lot of what I was thinking about, obviously I wanted to teach drum Corps even when I was marching. And I was like, I know I want to continue with this. I’m a music major. Right. A lot of that was like, I need to start figuring out myself as well. And I think that was a big part of starting to jump into, like I was, uh, you know, in the leadership team at rhythm X, my age out year didn’t get to finish, unfortunately, because of COVID. Um, I found myself way more focusing on like the personal side of me more as I got closer to age out, then my hands, you know, at that point, you know, at a certain level, your hands are good enough.
Cameron Halls (01:00:46):
You know, I think at that point when I was marked in blue devils, it wasn’t like I needed to totally rethink my technique. I needed to totally rethink how I was playing. But what I, I think I didn’t need to rethink is like how I was as a person, how I am as a teacher, how I am, if I’m going to be a leader at rhythm X next year, how can I be a great leader? Um, and again, I think trying to figure out ways to get yourself on the furthest point on this, you know, you’re a great teacher and a great player. I think that’s what kind of can make the best teachers and the activity invest in best leaders as well. You know, like the center snare is not always the best narrow drummer, you know, I don’t think at my age out your rhythm X, I don’t think I was the best drummer, but it’s not always about, obviously everyone at rhythm X is pretty good sinner, drummers, everyone.
Cameron Halls (01:01:29):
There is definitely good enough. I think everyone on the rhythm Exner line was good enough to, it was good enough to be the center snare. You know what I mean? Anyone could have been in that role. Yeah. And, and, and played the part. Um, but I think, like I said, you know, it’s not always about, who’s the best player it’s about who can be the best leader and also be the best player and be the best example people are going to be on time. That kinds of stuff is, is I think just as important and sometimes more important. Like I said, great teachers who are maybe not the best players anymore, you know, they aged out 20 years ago or something, but they know everything.
Dan Schack (01:02:02):
I mean, I definitely think like just teaching crown and, and you know, and Mason, honestly, just back and forth for the last five, going into six years, I will 100% advocate on behalf of a student who’s further behind is a player, but who can interface with us in the individual who isn’t frozen or isn’t faking it or isn’t trying to be something they’re not, I like the student. Who’s like, they’re not there yet, but they can take it. They can take the pressure of it. Um, because you know that you’re going to be able to, like, one of those is more fixed than the other, you know what I mean? In a way, like, you know, you’re, you’re playing, like you said, the level of, of playing against a certain point where like, you can play everything well, but that leadership access you’re talking about and the personality access, you could keep developing your growth.
Dan Schack (01:02:52):
And if like, you’re going to get to where you go with your hands, but if you can keep moving yourself along, you get people like you getting hired straight out, you know, where like Ethan spot, who like is literally just age out of crown is marching Mason, but he’s basically on staff and he’s going to be on staff at crown. And it was just like, I saw him develop as a person and he became my friend and then I just want him to be around, you know what I mean? And it’s like, he’s good. He’s an amazing drummer. But like, everyone’s good. If you think all you have to do is be good. Forget it. There’s been thousands of amazing DCI snare drummers, but how many snare techs are there? How many of us are left? How many purple cobras are out there still doing this? You know, Travis and I talk about that as man, like the purple Cobra, like alumni thing is so wild.
Dan Schack (01:03:43):
I love it. It’s really dope. Like there’s some legends and like, to be included in that is like, absolutely dope as hell, but where they’re not all out there, you know what I mean? And they were all as good or better than us. So that’s, uh, that’s pressure. But it’s also like you realize sort of what you have to do. And I was going to, I was going to connect back to your point about asking why you were talking about accidents. Like that’s not necessarily a group where you always want to have the students act asking why, because of the complete on Orthodox way that they design and that they’d go about teaching their programs, you got to just roll with it. It’s a wave, you got to surf the wave and you can’t be going in the opposite direction. And I feel like that’s a difference. You know, I’m going to ask why, and I’m going to like analyze and be present in the reasons that I’m doing what I’m doing. But also like simultaneously, like how do I just like be a, a complete like bulldog and not let myself wander off? Like, that’s a weird balance
Cameron Halls (01:04:50):
And a big part about that is understanding kind of the chain of command and how those things work. You know what I mean? I think sometimes there are, it’s like, it is okay to ask questions. Like I know that’s one of Tim, Fairbank’s big things. That’s one of my big things when I’m like teaching drill and stuff is like, don’t ask me any questions. Like I’ve done this enough. I know what I’m doing. Like if someone’s going to get hurt, like tell me, you know what I mean? But please don’t ask me questions. Like, I know what I’m doing. We can make this work. I just need everyone to trust me. Um, knowing the chain of command. It’s like, if I’m the center snare, like some person to people outside of me, he doesn’t need to ask him like, what’s what foot this said is going off of, like, you want to say, Hey Tim, this is, this is, this is, this is this off the right foot.
Cameron Halls (01:05:32):
Like not important understanding like what the purpose of the rehearsal is, is, is super important. So those kinds of questions, it’s great to have like, you know, strong section leaders, you can say, Hey, so-and-so is this going to be right footstep off? Like, yes, that in the doc can avoid so many issues and, and, uh, roadblocks in the learning process. Um, so having strong leadership team, I think is also really important, a strong leadership team that can also communicate with those people, like Tam. It’s like a lot of times those kinds of questions, like that would be my responsibility or someone else’s responsibility. Like, oh, Hey, the snares are literally gonna jumble up and hit each other. If we don’t figure this out, it’s like, Hey, can we take a second to figure this out? That’s usually a better way of going about it. And I think, yeah, and like asking why, like, why am I asking this question? Like, is this an important thing to figure out right now? Is the ensemble going to implode? Even if I don’t get my question answered, is this rep going to explode? If I go, if I’m off the wrong foot, is this gonna be a bad thing? Not really.
Dan Schack (01:06:32):
If you, as a snare line hit each other, you’re probably going to be fine as well. You know, like that’s, and that’s definitely something that is like a cultural thing. People figure out. And it’s certainly something that I like worked hard to instill at the groups that I’m with is if you’re worried about your pinky toe and we haven’t even done a rep you’re so far away from like, where, like you’re not in the frame of reference Ironman, you need to get with me, I’m in the, do this, try this overall gesture, like feel this music like this, I’ll get to you what your toe does or I won’t. And it doesn’t matter because no one cares. It’s just like, and that’s like a mindset change that will give the students that ownership that you were talking about previously when they can just have a reckless abandon and try, just try, don’t be a calculator.
Dan Schack (01:07:32):
You know what you mean? Like just be a race car or just be a powerlifter, use the technique, use your training, but just do just blast, just do it. You know what I mean? So like, it’s, it’s, it is something that needs to be, again, educated into you that this is the type of group where we just go for it. And then once you’re there, it’s like you elevate everything that ownership quality. Like I remember a lot of people telling me in those first years at crown, that you were in, you watch them play and you just know exactly who they know who they’re supposed to be. You know what I mean? A lot of people told me that and I was just like, I don’t necessarily know if we talk about that, but certainly I’m up on your feedback as a student, you know? And I watch cam move a certain way and there’s an intuitive way to go about it. I’m letting you into my process. You know, I’m not telling you cam you’re a choreographer, but like you are, you know, you’re telling you’re, you’re giving me a vital piece of feedback and that’s, that’s just super critical. And I think that the groups that you see that build their cultures for a long time and like are excellent. That’s the expectation. It’s just, you go hard for the group, like be a soldier for the group. Yeah.
Cameron Halls (01:08:46):
And again, talking about the why, and like, sometimes it can, you can run into trouble when you ask the students like, Hey, I want everyone to come up with something. But you know, sometimes that is sometimes that can work. When, when you have the time in place, I think I’m thinking, um, uh, Scouts, like we needed a visual. I was like, Hey, everyone takes, take a minute. Like think of a visual, like show me your visual. I’m like, oh, I liked that one. That one looks kind of cool. I think that kind of stuff is great. And that kind of stuff, like you said, can give ownership. You know, there’ll be plenty of times at crown where like, Hey, just do what feels natural. Like, oh, look at Sam, look at Shaw, look at Dakota. Like they’re doing, they’re doing that. Like everyone do that. That kind of stuff I think is super useful. And it, it makes the kids want to be there too. It’s like, oh, that’s cool. Like I did something I contributed to this, you know, that can be awesome. Sometimes for students,
Dan Schack (01:09:30):
I think too, like you put two drum lines next to each other, you put two groups, you put two dancers, you put two, whoever next to each other, they can do the exact same thing. But the qualities that they do it with are going to be so dependent on what got them there. You know, it’s like, I can remember the visual moments where I was just like, this just feels dope. And that’s going to make me perform this harder, you know? Or like, this feels completely counterintuitive to the part. I feel awkward, you know? And like you might’ve composed it with the accents on the score. Right. And you might, you might have made it like on paper work from a visual judging perspective. But as a player, like it’s not clicking for me. You know what I mean? And like finding how to get the students, like obviously with the visual part, but with the music and just with their in the rehearsal, day-to-day is like, you gotta find the sweet spot where it’s like, it’s working for all parties.
Dan Schack (01:10:33):
It’s not obvious in any way. And it’s very hard to do that. So, um, it’s, it’s certainly not frequent, but like I can remember moments like, um, like our opening, like choreo moment in 2012 for the next off, like all those weird, left-hand like five pair of [inaudible] and it was like this dope layered thing. And our heads were like split and I was just like, this is sick. Like we all were just like, yeah, this is lit. Like we didn’t have to no. One’s like, if you have to literally say like, perform, like it’s kind of on the designers.
Cameron Halls (01:11:08):
Yeah. Well, I definitely, you know, on the staff side of things, I think it’s, I’m starting to learn like, it’s okay to admit that you’re wrong sometimes, you know, sometimes like I’m like, I’m really determined. Like I really want the snares to do this one thing. And then when I feel like I’ve the only reason that I want them to do it is because I told them to do it in the first place. And I almost don’t want to admit that, like I did something that’s not cool. It’s okay to just like rethink and be like, okay, this isn’t actually as cool as I thought it was. Um, and I it’s sometimes a top. It’s like, it’s an ego check for myself to think like, all right, maybe that’s not as cool as I thought it was good. Good to have great ideas, but also good to acknowledge when, when your ideas are not great, like it’s okay to go back to the drawing board on some things,
Dan Schack (01:11:54):
Dude. It’s tough though. Like we’re talking basically like the kill your baby problem, which is like, it’s so hard to assess your own creative and like personal stake in things on any level. Like, I am not going to be able to assess the effectiveness of my choreography as much as Travis is. So it is insanely important to me when I’m like doing something and he’s standing there and he’s like, oh yeah, no, that’s great. Except that one tiny little thing is going to fix it. And I’m like, I can’t, I’m trying to just like brushstroke and this. And like, I can’t see it. I can’t feel it. And then someone was like, oh, what if we did this one thing? And it just like clicks. So it is like a matter of like, it’s not wrong or right. Like maybe it is wrong sometimes, but it’s like, you’re, you’re you’re right. And like, if it’s about your ego, you’re not actually trusting like your perspective on things, you know, what’s cool. And what’s not cool.
Cameron Halls (01:12:49):
Yeah. Like, and even, even with things that are like cool or not cool, but like things that just work or don’t work, you know, a lot of, um, you know, I’m finishing up writing, um, music for discussion door packet. Um, hopefully a lot of that’s going to stick around for the summer. Um, and I have to just, I have to admit to myself, like I don’t play clots. Right. I, I need help writing some of these quarter rounds. And I think stuff like that when you’re up front with the people that you’re working with and you’re like, Hey, you can tell me, you can tell me if this isn’t cool and you can tell me if this isn’t wrong. Like a lot of times, like, I think, I think he knows Brett Junis is unfortunately couldn’t March with BD to summer. Cause they’re done in constituent, he’s on quad staff at Scouts.
Cameron Halls (01:13:28):
Like sometimes I’ll send him stuff. I’ll be like, can you tell me everything that’s wrong with this? And he’ll say, oh yeah, like that doesn’t feel quite right. And I’m like, oh yeah, that makes sense. And a lot of times I’ve, I think in a previous life maybe, or even not even a previous life one or two years ago, I wouldn’t have done that. I’d have been like, no, I think that this is right. You know, I think that that what I’m writing is going to work and it’s, it’s okay to be wrong sometimes. Like it’s okay to step away and just say, maybe I’m not as good as I said, you know, it’s okay. Like I’m trying, I got my, got my quad pad over here, learning, learning how to play quads. But you know, a lot of times I just, you know, some, some stuff to bread or send some stuff to one of the rhythm X, quad players that I I’m still talking to you. And I’m like, Hey, can you, can you show me what’s up with this? I don’t play quads. You know? So that’s been really helpful is asking for help. Like sometimes I I’ve in the past, I’ve definitely not wanted to ask for help. I’m like, no, I want to do this. I want to figure this out on my own. It’s okay to ask for help. Like, it’s okay to admit that you don’t know as much about something that you, that you think you do.
Dan Schack (01:14:27):
Yeah. How else are you going to learn about it? You know what I mean? Or like just, you have to go through the process of trial and error and sort of discover what also what your tastes are because like, maybe it’s a taste difference. You know, maybe it is a technical thing. Maybe it’s a functionality thing. Like there’s so many different ways. Like you arrive at these choices, but like you certainly, if you’re, if you’ve got a great world-class quad player in your pocket and you’re not accessing him or her whomever, that’s just a wasted resource period. Like I don’t see why you wouldn’t ask for secondary feedback, but like certainly some people, you know, and maybe you will get to a point where you’re like, no, I’m good. Like I feel, I feel now, like I can, like, I want to do this myself.
Dan Schack (01:15:14):
Like, it’s not, it’s also not wrong. If you, you develop to a point where you’re like, I need to take a whack at this myself and really embrace figuring this out, like the drum lines playing this. And these are my quad rounds and these are my quad parts and it works or it doesn’t work or whatever. So it’s been weird. I wrote the, I wrote the book at the hurricanes. I ended up just like taking them on literally first battery book I ever wrote, um, like fully. And it was just like, oh, all this stuff I like never have to think about. I’m like thinking about and like having to worry about, you know, fitting the talent level and making it cool. Having, like, it’s not, it’s not as simple as when you’re a player, when you’re a snare drummer, like licks, it’s like playing licks. You’re not thinking about all the things that, you know, the, the melody over here of this one section coming over here into the snare voice or into this voice. And then how there are so many layers. So like, I mean, it’s just, which is cool. Like we’re talking about an art form, even running an exercise packet, we’re never going to arrive at we’re done with this.
Cameron Halls (01:16:20):
Yeah. And I’m figuring that out now, like coming up, like the goal, you know, I think is that, you know, with Scouts, indoor and Scouts, outdoor, I think ideally where we want the packet to be in the same place, you know, we will, but there’s going to be, I think changes year to year. I mean, different players, different, different program, different different goals. I mean, I think ideally, and I’m sure this is the way it is at JMU and crown. Like, there are some things that are going to stay the same. Like there are some things that we like him, but you know, we can change things and we’re asking yourself the why question, you know, like Sam right apart, like, no, like this squat around like, oh, this is kinda where this is kind of weird. Like I, and I’m probably going to have some of these conversations with, with Brett or whoever’s going to be teaching quads at some point like, oh, well, you know, why isn’t this part working?
Cameron Halls (01:17:04):
Oh, well this, this needs to happen this way. Well, I want the drums to go down. I, you know, bass drums are going down. It’s like, you’re right. There’s just these things that you just don’t even think about. Like symbol music. A lot of the times, you know, obviously I’m a snare dormer. You don’t think about symbol music all the time. Well, what do I want the symbol to be doing this? You know, WTI symbol lines. A lot of time Scouts has a symbol line now. Um, most time I think Scouts is that a symbol on the past, but that’s something I haven’t even thought about. I was like, oh man, I got to start figuring out how I want to incorporate symbols into a lot of this stuff. Um, so you’re right. Definitely. It’s weird thinking about things that you have never even crossed your brain before.
Dan Schack (01:17:41):
Yeah. The, the drum, like the, what you can play part is so low on the totem pole, like oh, right. Left, right, right. Left. Right. Left. Left, right. Left. Left. Right, right, right, right. Left. Like, okay, cool. How many ways can you stick a beat a 16 notes, but that’s like 10, 15 layers down. You know, like I, I remember being told or like hearing like Paul Renick, like hands out his music with no sticking, they’ll literally write the sticking on site so that it’s fresh. And so that the students and the techs are really the ones helping determine that. And they do that kind of live. And like in a way I think that really helps the musicality of what they put together, because he’s not sitting there, like with this rudimental mindset of like, we gotta play like paradiddles and flambe, drags and cheeses. It’s like, this is just music, like concert, percussion music doesn’t have fricking stickings in it for the most part. Sometimes it does. But like not, not in the way that it’s so Orthodox in the percussion world.
Cameron Halls (01:18:45):
Well, Tim Jackson is another great example of that. Like just comes up to your drum is like, here’s your new part? I remember, um, that 2018, the very first solo that we played in the show, it was just this weird Iyanda kind of rhythm. We used to have like a written lick there and Tim just came up to us and was like, no, this is your new part, played it. And everyone kind of figured out that you’re right. That’s, you know, I think there’s some merits to both sides of it. Like really well thought out. Like I was sitting here in the lab right. In this part out. I really want it to be this, but also it’s okay to like, I want this idea, like, what can you guys do? Like, let’s figure out something cool for this. Can we put a crossover here?
Cameron Halls (01:19:23):
Can we put a, you know, some of that stuff even happened that, um, crowded 17, right? When that not co stuff that Tom wrote Travis or Tom wrote that part. But I remember like we’re adding in like some cool flashy stuff to it. And it’s like, not always there, but, um, you know, little details we can add here and there. But a lot of that stuff is like, Tom is a great example of writing for the core. Right? Like everything that Tom does is just set up for the group to be successful, like is placed for the horn line to come in right with us. Um, it’s the stickings and stuff. You’re right. Are just so many layers down. Like not even concerned about that really with a lot of times it’s like, oh yeah, I got to figure out the sticking for this nearest, but this is kind of the big idea. I it’s you’re right. As a member, you don’t, you don’t think about those things a lot of the time you don’t think about the big picture.
Dan Schack (01:20:14):
No. And like, you know, I think Tom has been great in training all of us to just be like, don’t be playing in a vacuum. Like he he’s all about like the battery needs to know what the baritone part is. The front ensemble needs to know what the snare part is. Like. We, the more that you understand that the more of a relationship you have to the full core. And I mean, it’s certainly worked for them. They got MAA trophies across the board. Well, no trophies, but capture the words across the board. Um, but then on the flip side is we like to just, we like our toys, you know what I mean? Like I just want some times to just like, be amazed by some choppy, crazy, you know, some of that crazy stuff that you guys are like, Colin does some times or whatever, like musicality is it effect, it’s not the only effect.
Dan Schack (01:21:06):
There’s also the magic trick. You know, there’s the, there’s the, I’ve never really seen someone do that. And that’s its own thing. Like I don’t necessarily like it, it doesn’t always have, and those things don’t have to happen at once. I think devs are such a great example of like, here’s your window snare line, blow everyone’s minds. Here’s your style. You’ve got to fit cabaret, Voltaire, you’ve got to fit ghostly. You got to fit lady Gaga. It doesn’t matter. But in those parameters, do whatever you want. And it seems like it’s just like, let’s make the best snare drum moment we can make.
Cameron Halls (01:21:39):
Yeah. And a lot of that snare solo was written by members as well. Like a lot of that was like, Hey, so-and-so come up with a bar, come up with a bar or come up with the bar. So I mean, literally like how hard can we make this thing? We have, we have 20 counts. How hard can we make this? Like give us your best stuff. Um, and that’s another great thing. I think that, um, a lot of great drum Corps do is like, and especially now that field percussion judges can’t even go on the field, uh, past a certain point is that you don’t have to be playing super crazy stuff all the time. You know, that’s, I think about the rhythm X 2015 show the, um, the door show, like some of that stuff is like, I don’t want to call it rudimentary.
Cameron Halls (01:22:20):
Like obviously there’s 11 snare numbers playing it. You gotta be pretty good to play a lot of that stuff, but it’s like more basic stuff, um, that just fits the ensemble. But then when the snares need to play and they need to show off, they’re able to do it. Um, and I think a lot of, not a lot of people, but I’ve heard some people will be like, oh, you know, they’re playing like super easy beats. And sometimes I think that, you know, some parts in the BD ballads, like sometimes you get some easier battery music and I’m like, what is this? Like, I want to be playing only playing some hard stuff. And it’s like, no, stop take, take a step back. Like, watch this, see what’s going on right now. You don’t, you don’t need to be doing that. It’s not necessary. It’s not worth your time to clean all this stuff.
Cameron Halls (01:22:57):
When in reality, it doesn’t matter. Like this moment is to be cool. This moment is like, I can think of some of that in the 2017 blue devil, the metamorph show like a lot of that stuff during, um, but [inaudible], I can’t remember the name of the song. Um, but battery’s just jamming playing some, playing some easier music. Um, everything must change. Everything must change to what it is. Some of the batteries playing like some not super hard beats, you know, but you look at it in the scope of everything that’s going on. And it’s just the coolest thing in the world
Dan Schack (01:23:29):
To your point, watch a Eddy band and watch the drum set player. The drum set player is spending either zero or very little time showing off what a drum set can do. Virtual authentically. They are there to provide support and motivation and voice leading and phrasing and timing. So I think the blue devil is doing an amazing job, picking the right music and then orchestrating the battery of the percussion a way where it’s like, this is the drum set moment for the battery to easy swung, but effective in that it’s kicking, it’s given you the turnaround it’s providing the dynamic, it’s dropping down, come at. Like, you can’t necessarily achieve that. Like, like there’s drum set players that just shred. And I’m just like, I don’t come on. Like some of those bands, like I like progressive metal and like tech metal, but it’s like, do you really need to be playing as dense as possible? The entire [inaudible] like, just blast beats. Like, and there’s groups that play the equivalent of blast beats the whole show. And you just can’t even like, breathe can’t process it. And then you watch groups that play with space and you’re like, ah, like sometimes it’s nice to just do.
Cameron Halls (01:24:55):
Yeah. Some of the cool, like we’re talking about, um, broken city, like the left hand shots, you know, like literally nothing. I mean, it’s just two, two left-hand shots ends up being like the moment of WTI that you’re, I don’t remember what year that was. Um, but like, yeah. Asking yourself again, cause other the question. Why, why is the drum line doing this for part of the show? You know,
Dan Schack (01:25:16):
It’s because the music asks for it being, being, being, being [inaudible] pop like that is all it needs, you know, it does it, well, we were talking about like drum set and the way that devs sort of orchestrate in a very smart way where your big moments are fricking 11 and a half and then your subdued moments. They’re cool. And you got the thing is too, you all don’t perform that stuff. You did it like it’s easy, you still perform it. Like it’s the most important thing in the program. So that’s a whole nother part. Again, you can put, and I would love to do this one year. I think we should have experiment with independent. World-class I’m throwing that out there, here, and now let’s all do the same show and let’s judge them side by side. Maybe not like literally the same, but like it’s, it’s water year it’s lightening year it’s, uh, you know, whatever. And let’s all have our interpretations of that because like, like it it’s about the presentation of it. It’s not about the density of notes.
Cameron Halls (01:26:22):
My very first year marching, um, was this Mo this motor city percussion group and the other open class group in Michigan at the time, um, Genesis percussion, they were, world-class now open class at the time. We both did superhero shows and we competed at WTI, both doing superhero shows. And that was kind of funny, you know, but really interesting to see like takes on superheroes. That motor city kind of took more of like a, oh, we’re talking about superheroes in real life. Like, oh, what’s, you know, like firefighters can be superheroes, policeman can be superheroes. And they took more of like a literal superhero approach. Like, oh, we’re gonna like rip this snare drum apart. We have super strength. And you know, it’s definitely interesting to see like, okay, doing a superhero show, how can you, how can you do this in a different way? I like that idea. You should, you should do that.
Dan Schack (01:27:11):
It’d be way easier to rank if you’re just like, this year is about, but at the same time, like I say that, and then like also I’m like, if someone told me what I was going to do, I would just not do it. Like, you’re going to tell me what I’m supposed to design. Like, and it’s going to have no relationship with like, how I feel like that’s not going to work. I know it’s hypothetical. It’s dumb, but like
Cameron Halls (01:27:33):
Dan Schack (01:27:34):
Yeah. It goes to show like, it’s not just what’s on the paper or like what’s in the pie where it needs to be this thing where the students believe in it and it’s for them. Like, I, I want it to feel like no one could duplicate what we did. Like everyone wants to look like beasts, but no one’s going to ever be the beast drumline. We set a certain like tone for like that. You know what I mean? And it was like, and I saw drum lines come out the year after that who were just trying to do that. It’s like, you can try, you might do to all this stuff we did, but it’s how we teach the group. You know what I mean? Hey, you gotta be, you gotta be aggressive and you gotta perform and you have to, you have to really know. It’s like, yo, let’s go. You know, you gotta like, what are you, if, if whatever you expect out of the students, you better bring on some level yourself. You know what I mean? That’s how I’ve, that’s what I feel to a fault obviously. Like, cause I’m just like pretty energetic as a teacher and a coach or whatever, as you know, but it’s like, it takes that to be in some of these groups, you’ve got to come at it with the juice.
Cameron Halls (01:28:45):
Yeah. Another great example of someone I think of is column McNutt, Sam and the lot, man, he’s just like, come on, let’s go. Let’s go. You know? And I, it works. I mean, like you see everyone going for it. I find myself doing that stuff too. And I teach like, come on, let’s go like triple S man, like let’s play. I mean, you’re right. Definitely. I mean, if you, if, if you don’t bring the energy to rehearsal, like, I mean, of course your kids are going to be sleeping through your rehearsal. You know, you can’t expect more energy than you’re giving out. You know what I mean?
Dan Schack (01:29:15):
Yes. Which is why like the, the adage of, of teachers being like, I’m bringing more to this than you guys like, uh, yeah. You’re getting paid bozo. Of course you are, and you have your car and you are, have your coffee and your, you know what I mean? Like the expectation should be higher, you know, for a coach or a staff member, it, students don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. You know, even the best students, again, you’re a, you’re a piece of 150 plus puzzle and you don’t see that picture and you’re not gonna see that picture until you’ve stepped away from it even, and have some, some perspective on it. So I definitely am like very much about that. And it’s like, you know, when you look at a group you’re seeing a reflection of the team that’s really like crafting it. It’s not the kid’s fault. It’s not a student’s fault.
Cameron Halls (01:30:04):
I think the biggest piece of advice that I got for doing drum quarter was do the same thing until someone tells you to do something different, don’t ask questions, do what you’re told, do the same thing until someone tells you to do it different and then do it different and which is make your life easy. But you’re right. I mean, it limits your perspective on like what’s going on, but you know, I mean, that’s not the job of the students. That’s the job of the staff.
Dan Schack (01:30:29):
Yeah. Until it is, you know, until it’s like you said, you get in a leadership position and like it’s important. You have to interface with your students, like, and get their, their opinion. Like, I really do believe that. And I certainly ask for the opinions of certain students and like, cause you just miss so much once you’re, once you’re not a student anymore, like all that interacting that happens behind the scenes that shows up to the field. So like as a, as a staff member, you’re like, I guess I have a gist of what’s going on and like the tendencies and like what we need to do, but you’re not, there are lights out. And there’s the one Sarah drummer who stays up, you know, messing around and everyone off. And then the next day you’re looking, Hey man, you’re out. And it’s like, oh, actually that’s like a personality problem.
Dan Schack (01:31:13):
That’s happening behind the scenes. And all you can do is diagnose it. But really the root of the problem is like some social, you know, rupture or something like that. So it’s trippy. Like, I feel like we’re talking about some like crazy nuance, like chess level stuff, but like that is really, I try to think about it like this. So when I show up, like you’re saying with the scout staff, it’s just like, Hey man, you guys just got to play clean. Like your whole job is to play clean. You know what I mean? Yeah. Dude, super glad to have you on this was like just fun. We kinda got to catch up, uh, which we’ve been meaning to do. And like just, I just love hearing your perspective because like had the absolute joy of teaching someone as good as you, and then seeing you go and just like do that thing at, at devs. And I was like super proud of you, super proud of like Brett seeing you guys just go and like be kind of rock stars at that group. And it made me feel good about the training that we left to itself. I appreciate you just bringing the crown drums legacy with you and what you’re doing and like excited to see the work that you and the team are all doing with the Scouts work. So just appreciation to get on here, man. Thank you. I appreciate it. Really do awesome. That’s it? Everyone see a.