Dissertation Defense Announcement
Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music announces the Final Dissertation Defense
for the Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts
March 30, 2022 at 5:30 PM in Zoom
Advisor: Dr. William Shaltis
An Exploration of the Culture, Playing Style, and Performance Practices of the Marching Percussion Sections of Historically Black Colleges and Universities
ABSTRACT: "This document will focus on traditional-style marching percussion. This style of marching percussion is normally found at HBCU and predominantly black high schools although there are some exceptions in which a Black band director at a predominately white high school chooses to model his program in the traditional style. With that being said, the purpose of this document is to explore the culture of HBCU drumlines, their musical preparation, performance practice and provide a guide as to how to successfully implement these practices. This document is meant to serve as a guide to both those who wish to start a traditional style drumline as well as those who are already overseeing a traditional style drumline. This guide will cover things such as equipment selection, playing styles and techniques, performance practice, recruiting, tuning, and composition style. It is my goal that any reader of this document will have a strong understanding of how a traditional style drumline should function both alone and with the marching band. Findings of this study were that lines that have a more corps style approach have teachers that either marched in a Drum Corps International ensemble or in a high school marching band that was modeled after one. These schools are also in areas where there are not many high schools that practice traditional style marching percussion such as the case of Virginia State University. Meanwhile, HBCUs in the midsouth feature an approach much like an aggressive, groove-centered approach that is the same at both the collegiate and high school levels due to the students continuing their education at schools with marching bands that suit their interests. No matter the region, drumlines at these HBCUs take these past experiences and combine them with dance moves and grooves to accomplish their main goal of entertaining their audience rather than adjudication."