Evaluating the Drum Major’s Performance

Question: I know the drum major isn’t scored separately, but do the judges ever evaluate the drum major’s performance and add that in with the overall score of the band?

Answer: Due to the fact that there is nothing on the sheet that provides criteria and none of the sub-captions reference the drum major, there isn’t a separate score that is given or added into the total band score. However, there are many times when you may hear a judge refer to the drum major when there are tempo issues within the ensemble. At times it’s easy to see the battery percussion not watching the person on the podium and that can cause timing issues between the percussion and the winds. I’m always impressed when I see a DM who is able to quickly identify where the tempo problems are originating on the field and react accordingly in order to keep the ensemble together. Additionally, since I judge effect so frequently, I’m always looking at how groups are communicating from an emotional standpoint. Many times that starts with the drum major. I’ve seen groups who begin their programs very ‘generically’ only to have the drum major initiate a very emotional style of conducting which then propels the entire ensemble to the next level.-

– Mark Culp