Bands Of America 2015

Welcome back to the Chops blog!

Over the weekend marching bands from across the nation gathered at Lucas Oil Stadium to participate in Music For All’s Bands of America Grand National Championships.


On Wednesday evening the competition began with the Indianapolis Marching Band Tournament. The following schools from across the city participated:

Arlington Community H.S.
John Marshall Community H.S.
Northwest Community H.S.
Crispus Attacks Community H.S.
Broad Ripple Magnet H.S.
Shortridge H.S.
Emmerich Manual
George Washington Community H.S.
Key Learning Community H.S.
Arsenal Technical H.S.

The Marian University Marching band also performed the national anthem, and closed the evening with an exhibition performance.

The championship competition began on Thursday morning and continued through Saturday evening. Indiana was well represented with the following schools participating, in order of Prelims performance:

Monrovia H.S.
Homestead H.S.
Southwestern H.S.
New Palestine H.S.
Avon H.S.
Ben Davis H.S.
Carmel H.S.
Triton Central H.S.
Lawrence Township H.S.
Center Grove H.S.
Lake Central H.S.
Goshen H.S.

Congratulations to the following bands who made Semi-Finals:
Ben Davis H.S.
Lawrence Township H.S.
Homestead H.S.
Center Grove H.S.
Lake Central H.S.
Avon H.S.
Carmel H.S.
Goshen H.S.

Congratulations the following bands who made Grand National Finals:
Avon H.S. (2nd)
Carmel H.S. (5th)
Homestead H.S. (12th)

For full results, please visit

We’d like to congratulate all the schools that participated. We enjoyed your performances and look forward to seeing you again next year! Enjoy some well-deserved time off!

ISSMA Marching Band State Finals

The team at Chops Percussion would like to congratulate the students, staff and parents of all the participating schools on another exciting marching band season!   It’s amazing to witness the hard work and dedication that goes into putting a marching show on the field, the organization of getting to contests (or hosting contests) every weekend, and the teamwork of working together to improve week by week to be the best they can be.  State finals is where the hard work pays off, coming from the field in the form of incredible performances of energy and emotion.  One of the best things to see is the display of emotion in the tunnel after a great final run!
Congratulations to everyone involved with performing and constructing these shows, along with all the support staff who made it possible for the students and staff to do what they do!

ISSMA State Championship Results – Lucas Oil Stadium, November 7, 2015

Class D
1) Forest Park
2) Springs Valley
3) South Spencer
4) Triton Central
5) (tie) Crawford County
5) (tie) Paoli
7) Monrovia
8) Mater Dei
9) Woodlan
10) Tell City

Class C
1) Western
2) Fairfield
3) Lewis Cass
4) Beech Grove
5) NorthWood
6) Concordia Lutheran
7) Edgewood
8) Scottsburg
9) Vincennes-Lincoln
10) Twin Lakes
11) Angola

Class B
1) Concord
2) Greenwood
3) Northview
4) Jasper
5) Floyd Central
6) North Side
7) F.J. Reitz
8) Northridge
9) Bloomington North
10) Munster

Class A
1) Avon
2) Carmel
3) Homestead
4) Castle
5) Lake Central
6) Lawrence Township
7) Penn
8) Center Grove
9) Ben Davis
10) Goshen

What Mallets Does My Student Need? – Intermediate

Welcome back to the Chops blog series on mallet FAQs (frequently asked questions). Last month we addressed the mallet needs of the beginning band and orchestra student. Today we’re going to discuss the needs of the intermediate student.

After several years in band or orchestra your student will need to expand their mallet collection as the music they perform requires an expanded selection of instruments. While your student will be able to continue using the mallets they already have, many of these new instruments, such as marimba, vibraphone, timpani, and accessory instruments, will require unique mallets.

For both marimba and vibraphone, the intermediate student can normally get by with one pair of mallets for each instrument. We recommend a “medium” mallet that will work well in most situations. Both styles of mallets can also be used on suspended cymbals.

Our favorite “medium” marimba mallets include:
Innovative Percussion – IP240, Soloist series
Mike Balter – 13B or 13R (B indicates birch shaft, R indicates rattan shaft)
Pro-Mark –DFP730, Dan Fyffe marimba series
Vic Firth – M171, Multi-Application series

Those mallets are pictured here.


Our favorite “medium” vibraphone mallets include:
Innovative Percussion – RS251, Rattan series
Mike Balter – 23R or 23B (R indicates rattan shaft, B indicates birch shaft)
Pro-Mark – DFP920, Dan Fyffe marimba series
Vic Firth – M187, Multi-Application series

Those mallets are pictured here.


To understand the differences between marimba and vibraphone mallets, please read our previous article here.

The intermediate student will also start learning timpani. For an experienced student learning timpani for the first time, a “general” mallet will satisfy most requirements. This style mallet will not be too hard or soft, and will allow the student to perform most music reasonably well.

Our favorite “general” timpani mallets include:
Innovative Percussion – GT3
Mike Balter – T3
Pro-Mark – JH5
Vic Firth – T1

Those mallets are pictured here.


As we’ve said many times, mallet and stick choices are a matter of personal choice, and every student will have a different brand and model preference. Also, be sure to consult with the student’s director, percussion instructor, or private teacher before making a purchase. Please contact us for our recommendations or assistance finding mallets.

As your student progress from an intermediate to advanced percussionist, their mallet collection should continue to grow. Stay tuned, next time we’ll be discussing the mallets an advanced percussionist should own.

What Do You Know About Glenn Kotche?

Welcome back to the Chops blog!

Chops Percussion is proud to be the presenting sponsor for the Indiana Percussion Association. IPA recently announced their annual clinic day, which will take place at Franklin Community High School on December 12th. This annual event includes the IPA Individual and Ensemble contest, organizational meetings, and performances by clinicians. Check it out the details here and make plans to attend!

Amongst this year’s exciting lineup of clinicians is Glenn Kotche, internationally renowned percussionist and composer. As a solo artist and member of Wilco, Kotche is regarded as one of the most creative drummers thanks to his percussion-centric approach to drum set. If you don’t attend the IPA clinic for any other reason than to see his presentation, it will be well worth your time.


Kotche’s creativity has its roots in his education. He began percussion as a student, and continued his studies under Professor Jim Campbell at the University of Kentucky. He also spent a summers in the late eighties as a member of The Cavaliers.

While studying percussion, Kotche also dedicated himself to learning drum set. Rather than approach the drum set like a separate discipline, he found creative ways to enlist the techniques and knowledge he already knew. He discusses this approach in the following video, recorded in Indianapolis at PASIC 2013.

In 2001 Kotche joined Wilco, the critically-acclaimed neo-country, experimental-pop band prior to the release of their album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. His influence is immediately apparent throughout the album, with solid, creative drumming and percussion overdubs. The album opens with “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”, a nonsensical love song surrounded by a cacophony of sound.

Wilco has released five albums since then, including the Grammy-winning A Ghost is Born.

Kotche is also a prolific composer, and has written works for groups such as Kronos Quartet, So Percussion, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Sonic experimentation, and the drum set as a percussion instrument, are central his works, just like his contributions to Wilco.

Glenn Kotche is an innovative musician and composer. Few have successfully merged percussion, drum set, rock and roll, and art music so seamlessly. When he performs at the IPA clinic on December 12th, you won’t want to miss it!

Glenn Kotche recommended listening:

Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Wilco, A Ghost is Born
Wilco, The Whole Love
Glenn Kotche, Mobile
Glenn Kotche, Adventureland
On Fillmore, Extended Vacation
John Luther Fillmore, Ilimaq

October News at Chops

If you aren’t signed up for our Chops Transmission emails, you may be missing out on the most update happenings around the store. Below is the October edition of the transmission. If you don’t receive our emails, you can sign up here!

Demo Gear/Clearance Items – October Updates

Demo Gear at Chops Percusssion

There’s been a few more additions since last month, including some great deals on marimbas! Check out the current list to see if there’s anything you need for the upcoming indoor season.

View the entire list on our website.

When Will I Need to Replace or Retune Bars on My Synthetic Bar Instruments?

Synthetic bar replacement tips


Occasionally when a school is faced with needing to replace their synthetic bars, or have them retuned, the question pops up of how long they normally last before needing replaced or retuned. There are many factors that go into answering this question, so I contacted our friends at Pearl/Adams, Yamaha and Majestic to get some input on the topic.

Read the entire article on our blog.

Drum Corps and Winter Drumline Audition Tips

Drum Corps & Winter Drumline Audition Tips

A couple of weeks ago Glen wrote an excellent article on how to prepare for a Drum Corps or Winter Drumline audition. Go check out the entire thing for some timely tips. Read more >>

October Drummer Birthdays

Kenny Aronoff in Indy

If you were born in October, then you share a birthday month with these famous drummers. Check them out here.