General Posts

Quick Tips for Indoor Drumline – Warming Up Outside

This weekend is the first contest in the history of the IPA (Indiana Percussion Association) that requires an outside warm-up. Those groups who have performed in Dayton for WGI Championships or participate in circuits in warmer regions of the country know this is a normal process. The outside extended warm-up can be very beneficial to preparing for the large arena environment. But for those who have not gone through that process before, here are some tips to make sure the experience is smooth and beneficial for everyone.


  • KEEP A VERY CLOSE EYE ON THE WEATHER. Be prepared for cold, rain, wind and heat.
  • Take jackets and coats to warm-up. Have a parent push around a large plastic trash can for the kids to ditch their jackets as they enter the arena. They might not need them, but it’s better to be prepared. Standing in a parking lot freezing before your final performance isn’t going to help you have a relaxed, confident performance.
  • Be prepared to change on the bus. If you aren’t showing up in uniform, don’t plan to go inside to change. This may be a possibility, but it is usually much easier and quicker to take turns changing on the bus.
  • Have plenty of plastic tarps. We all hope for perfect weather conditions on contest days, especially when the warm-up is outside, but that isn’t always the case and its best to prepare for inclement weather. Don’t just bring a couple huge tarps to park the equipment under. Bring smaller tarps that can stay over the electronics carts while rolling from warm-up to the arena.
  • Have plenty of bungee cords. You’ll need those tarps strapped down if it’s windy!
  • If it’ll be sunny and warm, make sure to bring water. An hour in the sun, on asphalt, can wear the students down quickly.
  • If having your electronics on during warm-up is important to you, TAKE A GENERATOR. There might be power available in the warm-up lot, but don’t plan for it.
  • Keep electronics dry at all costs!
  • Be aware of the Inclement Weather/Tent Schedule and use your time in the tent if you have any concerns about the weather. This includes very cold and/or windy conditions.
  • Finally, directors and staff – Since this is the first time for everyone at this venue, get there early and take the time to walk the flow in and out of the arena so you’re familiar with it. Also, allow enough time for your student performers to go in and watch a couple groups so they can get the feel for the arena, along with the on and off the floor flow.


Good luck to everyone performing in the IPA State Championships this weekend!

The Music For All National Festival Is This Week In Indianapolis

Music For All National Festival
March 10-12, 2016
Indianapolis, IN

There’s a fantastic opportunity to hear some great concert bands and percussion ensembles from all over the country this week, but we find many people don’t even know its happening right here in our backyard!  It’s the Music For All National Festival, featuring high school percussion ensembles, concert bands and orchestras from across the US.  The festival also includes a middle school concert band festival, along with Honor Ensembles for concert band, jazz band, and orchestra.  This is a non-competitive festival, meaning its all about just creating and listening to great music, created by some of the best high school and middle school music programs in the nation.

Here’s a general schedule for the event:

Thursday, March 10
National Concert Band Festival 5:00pm-9:00pm
Friday, March 11
National Concert Band Festival 8:00am-6:00pm
National Percussion Festival 9:00am-5:30pm
Chamber Music National Festival 9:00am-3:30pm
Honor Orchestra with the ISO 7:00pm (Hilbert Circle Theatre)
Honor Jazz Band of America 8:30pm (Clowes Hall)
Saturday, March 12
National Concert Band Festival 8:00am-2:00pm
National Percussion Festival 8:30am-12:30pm
Middle School Concert Band Festival 8:30am-12:30pm
Honor Orchestra of America 8:00pm (Hilbert Circle Theatre)
Honor Band of America 8:00pm (Clowes Hall)

If you’re taking in some of the festival, be sure to support our Indiana ensembles performing at the times and locations below:

Carmel High School Wind Symphony – Michael Pote, Director
Friday, March 11
Clowes Memorial Hall, Butler University

Franklin Central High School Wind Ensemble – Audrey Torres, Director
Friday, March 11
Schrott Center for the Performing Arts, Butler University

For full details and ticket info, visit the Music for All National Festival website.

Danny Carey’s solo on ‘Forty Six & 2’

Welcome back to the Chops Blog! Here at Chops we love a good drum solo, and today we’re going to take a closer look at a classic.

In 1996 Tool released their classic album Aenima. The aggressive and conceptually innovative music was the perfect showcase for drummer Danny Carey. His powerful, but cerebral drumming helped him quickly become one of the most respected drummers to emerge in the 1990s.


One of the radio signals from the album was the brooding “Forty Six & 2”. In the bridge, which is primarily in seven, Carey plays a powerful solo. It is a perfect showcase of his and his bandmate’s rhythmic prowess. Check out the pdf HERE , and listen to the solo with the tempo reduced by one third HERE.

Take time to study the music, and listen to the reduced version many times. Then practice the solo by breaking it down into small pieces. After you are comfortable performing it slowly, gradually speed it up until you can perform it at the original tempo.

Get to work, it isn’t easy!

Protect Your Ears This Indoor Season

Note: We posted this about this time last year, but thought it was important enough to bring up again.  Make sure you’re protecting your ears whenever you play music live, and that goes double for indoor season.

Have you ever gone to bed at night after your indoor percussion rehearsal and had an incessant ringing in your ears? If you have, that is your body telling you that you’ve done some damage to your hearing. Please know that hearing loss is irreversible, so you need to start protecting your ears NOW! How, you ask? There are a couple of great ways to do so.

  • Earplugs – These should be essential to your playing and performing. Many of the percussion instruments used in an indoor show are played at a high volume for long periods of time, so you need to be protecting your ears. Do yourself a favor and start using earplugs now. Tell yourself that ear protection is just as essential as the sticks and mallets you use to play. If you’re a cymbal player and execute many loud crashes at ear level, this advice applies to you as well.
  • Headphones – Not so great if you’re trying to make a fashion statement while playing, but hearing is way more important than looking cool! These are great if you have hypersensitive ears and they allow you to hear the music you’re playing while cutting out all of the dangerous frequencies. A great option if earplugs are uncomfortable for you to wear.


A gym is a very tough listening environment for percussionists, so hearing protection not only safeguards your hearing, but it may allow you to hear more of what you need (the music that you and your group perform) and less of what you don’t (the unwanted high frequencies associated with loud music).

You can buy your earplugs here:
Feel free to e-mail us at or call 877-900-DRUM if you have more specific questions regarding hearing protection.

You only get one good set of ears in your life, so take care of them!!!

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Five Ways To Play Like Dave Grohl

The following originally appeared at (hyperlink here)


Here at Chops Percussion we’re big fans of Dave Grohl. Ever since emerging as the hard-hitting drummer of Nirvana, Grohl has been at the forefront of music. Even though he’s known today as the guitarist and leader of the Foo Fighters, he’s still an outstanding drummer and has played with many artists including Queens of The Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, and Tenacious D.

In honor of Dave’s birthday last week we put together a quick lesson on five ways to emulate his playing. Check out the PDF here.

Check out the lesson then listen to the artists and albums we recommended on the PDF, we guarantee you’ll enjoy it!