One thing people who are considering taking up the bass drum in a marching band may not think about is the importance of a strong core. Good posture is vital to being able to belt out the sounds so many look forward to hearing while watching a band march across a field or down a street. Bass drum playing in the marching band requires good upper body strength for both beating the drum and looking professional in between drum beatings. So much of how good the bass sounds during play will depend upon how the drummer’s body is being held and whether or not the drumming is coming from a place of strength within the drummer.
When practicing a performance piece, it is important for the bass drummer to be able to play the entire part. This helps with timing and also makes it easier to play the part well. Before splitting the part up among the bass line, make sure everyone knows how to play the whole piece using proper mallet heights. The sound created by the bass drum playing in the marching band will be significantly impacted by mallet handling. The drummer needs to know how to hold the mallet and strike the drum with it in order to produce the desired look and sound.
The bass drum should be struck at a right angle in the center of the head. Make sure to give a powerful beating. This is what everyone has been waiting for! The bass drum produces a wonderfully resonant sound when played well. However, make sure to keep with the rest of the band. The bass drum should not dominate the performance. Keep in tune with the ensemble, when playing splits. If there is an error in the drum line, remain on the timing of the ensemble. Bass drum playing in the marching band is about the entire band, not just the bass drum line.
When you are not playing, make sure your hands are at rest in the set position. This helps to keep the bass line looking professional. This is where that arm strength may become more noticeable. When you’re playing, play with some aggression. It’s a bass drum; it can take it. To do that, you need to be aware that you are playing with your arm, not just your hands. Be confident, play powerfully, and you may find that bass drum playing in the marching band is one rewarding experience.