Frequently Asked Questions
College is a brand new world, and you're bound to have a lot of questions.
Hopefully we can answer some of those questions here.
Hopefully we can answer some of those questions here.
Click a question to see the answer!
Still can't find an answer to your question? Try searching the site for information!
- I want to try out for the Purdue Drumline. Where do I start?
- For starters, familiarize yourself with the audition process. This process is the same every year, and for a reason: it works.
- After that, check go over the audition checklist. It should provide a nice list of music and rudiments that you should familiarize yourself with.
- Try to make it to Tech Day - you'll get to meet Dr. Nave, veteran members, and learn a lot about how we run the line.
- From there, practice, practice, practice. Be ready for auditions. Memorize music. You have all summer. Get it done!
- Finally, come to auditions!
- I want to try out for an instrument I've never marched - is that ok?
That's totally fine! We don't look at what you've done, we look at what you can do. Many times, members make a different instrument than they've previously played. We've even had first-time percussionists make the line. It's all about what you can do now.
- What all do I need to practice to make the line?
There really is a lot to learn. Rudiments, warm ups, cadences, halftime show. The list is long. Head on over to our Audition Checklist to check it out!
- How hard is it to make the line?
We've had all degrees of talent on the line, first-time marchers to veteran DCI players. It all depends on how much effort you put into it, and your competition for the year. We pride ourselves in being a crisp, clean, and musical group, so it's definitely no walk in the park.
- What happens if I don't make the line?
- Don't disappear! Stay involved in the Purdue Bands & Orchestras department.
- Join one of the many concert bands during the semester.
- Keep practicing! You didn't make it for a reason - use all of this free time to get better!
- Hang out with members. Drum with them. Learn from them. Just because you're not a member of the line, doesn't mean you're not part of the family.
- Don't give up. You can try again next year. It's quite common for someone to not make it one year, and make it the next.
- Do I have to try out for the band AND the drumline?
Yes - and no. The Drumline isn't a separate entity, it's part of the band. The first round of auditions are the Sunday of band camp, and then we learn and march with the band for the next week. Our band camp is their band camp. It's the same thing.
- How do cuts work?
Simply put, there are two rounds of cuts. One during band camp, and one after. The band camp cut is based on playing auditions. Then, you're judged on your ability to march and play together, and (most importantly) your willingness and ability to learn. At the end of band camp, a second and final round of cuts is made. With the addition of the Boiler Beats, this round of cuts will likely result in very few people actually leaving the drumline. We will take the top 35 players to form the AAMB, and will for the Boiler Beats out of the rest of the auditionees. You can also get cut at any point during band camp for poor behavior and attitude.
- It's the middle of camp and I've decided it's not for me - what do I do?
While a rare and unfortunate occurrence, this does happen from time to time. Before making any official decision, talk to your student leaders and Dr. Nave. They can help you decide what your next steps will be. We understand the stresses of life - you won't be the only one dealing with this problem.
- I want to be a part of the Boiler Beats. Can I audition to just be a member of the beats?
Unfortunately, no. The goal of the Boiler Beats is to provide a performance outlet for students hoping to make the AAMB in the future. The audition process for the Beats is merged with the AAMB, and the people who do not make the 35 person AAMB line will form the Beats for that season. It should be your goal to perform at the highest level, so although the Boiler Beats is a fun group to be in, it should not be an end goal for incoming students.
- Is it easier to make the line now that you have the Boiler Beats?
Yes and no. Our standard for how well members need to march and play will not go down now that we have the Beats, but it is now much easier to end up performing with a drumline at Purdue. Turning away players who have proved themselves capable of playing at the collegiate level is a waste of hard work, so now we have an outlet for people who worked really hard, but did not quite make the AAMB line.
- I have a scheduling conflict with Boiler Beats, but will be able to make all AAMB rehearsals. Does this mean that I can only make the AAMB?
No. We will select the members of the AAMB purely based on the audition process. No outside influence will affect our decision.
If you do have a conflict with Boiler Beats, it is very possible to work out a solution. We will work with members on an individual basis to find the best possible solution.
- Is there different music for students hoping to be in the Boiler Beats?
No. There is one audition for both lines. During the season, the Boiler Beats will play all the same cadences and drum cheers as the AAMB, with the addition of some Boiler Beats specific music.
- Class registration is way before the audition date. What do I do?
- Your biggest help will be your academic advisor. Ask them questions.
- However, we do have a few pointers:
- Sign up for BAND 110 [Marching Band], making an effort to avoid conflicts with the 2:30 - 5:30 rehearsal time. We highly encourage you to leave the 2:30 - 3:30 block open in addition to registering for the marching band. This will ease the process if and when you need to transfer into Boiler Beats.
- We realize the problems with the schedule and one-time class offerings, but do your best to avoid those conflicts that are avoidable. With a concerted effort and careful schedule planning, we can eliminate many of the conflicts that exist.
- We allow for no more than two hours of conflicts, three hours in rare cases.
- What happens if I can't avoid a class conflict?
- Talk to your advisor. Make sure that there's no possible way to avoid the conflict.
- Look for other class times - sometimes advisors overlook solutions (it's very rare, but is known to happen).
- Talk to Dr. Nave. She can help you resolve any class conflicts. You will need permission from the directors to proceed with the conflicts.
- I signed up for band. What happens if I don't make it?
- Drop the class as soon as you can.
- Look for a class to take its place.
- Follow this guide.
Material & Music
- What music do I need to learn?
- What music do you learn throughout the year?
On top of all of the music on this site, we also perform halftime shows at every home game, and at most two away games. Each show will be different. Each year varies, but football games are typically over weekend, with a few weekends off. Check out this year's football schedule for a good idea of when we'll be playing.
Halftime music is usually handed out during or after band camp, and throughout the season as it is written. Our halftime show typically ranges from 3 to 5 short tunes, and must be memorized.
The Boiler Beats spend more time on building strong fundamentals through the practice of our cadences and warmups. Once the season gets rolling, more music will be handed out for the ensemble to learn and memorize. There will be a Boiler Beats cadence distributed late in the season.
- I keep hearing about "Tech Day," what is it?
- Every year, over the second weekend in July, we hold Tech Day. You get to spend a weekend in and around Elliott Hall of Music, learning all sorts of good stuff about the Purdue Drumline.
- Take a look at the latest itinerary to familiarize yourself with what exactly we do - everything from practicing basic techniques, to marching, to having a movie night! It's like a two-day high school 'band camp,' but college drumline oriented, and way better.
- Remember - this isn't mandatory! You can make the line without attending Tech Day, and attendance by no means guarantees a spot on the line.
- When is Tech Day?
- This is the Purdue Drumline & Percussion Ensemble website, but all I see is Drumline information. What gives?
We now have a full page dedicated to Percussion Ensemble, which you can find here. Here's some key points regarding the group and how it's ran:
Any questions about Percussion Ensemble can be directed towards us through our Contact page.
- Are there concert bands for percussion at Purdue?
Yes! Every semester, Purdue Bands & Orchestras provide a variety of ensembles you can perform in, including full orchestral groups, wind ensembles, and jazz bands. Information on these groups can be found on the Purdue Bands & Orchestras page.
You can participate in any of these ensembles regardless of your membership in the Drumline or the Marching Band.
- I have a question that's not answered here - who do I ask?
- I want to see the Drumline perform. Where do I go to see that?
We perform at every home game during the football season. We also perform periodically throughout the year at various other sporting events.
If you want to see us practice, we're with the rest of the band every day at Hull Field, from 3:30 - 5:30pm.
- College seems scary. I want to be on the drumline, but I'm not sure I can handle it.
College is a lot of work, and Marching Band on top of normal college stress isn't for everyone. However, you can do it! A majority of our members are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) majors. Overall, the Marching Band has higher GPA than the student body. Everyone is in the same boat as you, and ready and willing to help you with any problem you have, academically or musically.
- I found something wrong with your website. How can I help?
We've re-vamped our website over the past few years, and we're constantly adding and changing material. If you find any issue, from layout to clarity to grammar, please contact the administrator so changes can be made. We appreciate any and all feedback!