October 20, 2023

Every marching show needs a special element to grab the audience’s attention: the hook. Think of it like the chorus in your favorite song—it’s what you remember and hum later. The hook in a marching band or drumline show does the same thing. It’s the part that sticks, giving the show its unique identity.

What Makes a Hook?

A hook isn’t just a cool lick, nice melody, or an epic chord progression. It’s an idea that ties the whole show together. It could be a rhythm, a melody, a visual motif, or even a prop. It sets the mood and helps the audience get what the show is all about.

Where Does the Hook Fit In?

The hook can pop up anywhere. It might kick off the show and pull the audience in right away. Or it could build up slowly, making people wait for that “Wow!” moment. Wherever it fits best, the hook should make a strong impact.

Why Does a Show Need a Hook?

A good hook makes a show memorable. It helps the audience connect with the music and the performers. With a strong hook, the show feels complete, and it leaves a lasting impression.

Crafting Your Hook

Creating a hook takes some thought. It should match the theme of the show and be something that can catch people’s attention. It’s all about finding that unique something that makes the show stand out.


A hook is more than just a memorable moment in a drumline show—it’s what gives the show its character. A great hook makes the performance unforgettable, helping it leave a mark on the audience while giving the show identity, purpose, and direction. It answers the question “Why?”




Front2Back Music

November 9, 2021

I’ve heard it called many things: the warm up, the technique packet, the system, and more. What we’re really talking about here is a systematic skill building routine that your group uses on a regular basis. It serves as a warm up, but it also develops skills, develops chops, and gives you an opportunity to refine technique on a daily basis.


How to develop a technique program

1. Borrow from your mentors (with their permission!)

I started out by using the same or a very similar packet to that of my mentors and teachers (with their permission, of course). Before I really understood why each exercise was vital, this was a solid strategy to get started as it allowed me to just jump in and get started while leaning on those around me that were more experienced.


2. Purchase a packet or program

Another option is to look for an entire packet or technique program in the form of a book or purchasable content from a publisher. While there is a lot of great content out there, for your battery section, I’ll just throw a quick link to Eric Shriver’s The Build Up Method. If you’re interested in a comprehensive technique packet that includes play along tracks for at home practice, this is a great starting point for the young instructor that wants to take his ensemble to the next level quickly.


3. Create your own from scratch

In order to develop your own program, first identify all the skills that you want your program to be able to achieve in your season. After you’ve done that, write an exercise that targets one or more of those skills. Repeat until you have a natural progression of exercises for use at every rehearsal and for practice at home. Focus on one or two skills at a time in each exercise for targeted efficiency.


Bonus tips

  • Don’t forget to also develop a comprehensive visual technique program for your marching members, including physical conditioning. Stick to it just as religiously as you do for the musical development.
  • Less talk, more rock: Every young instructor wants to wax poetic about the amazing philosophies they have discovered on their path to greatness, but the reality is kids learn best by doing. Using short, targeted, quick fix type comments in between reps or while playing usually does a lot more good than going deep and philosophical for every little issue. Not to mention it completely blows up the momentum and pace of rehearsal.
  • Use an amplified Metronome and take notes on the tempos you use in order to push them throughout the season.

We’d Love To Hear From You

To wrap up this weeks blog, I’d like to pose a question to our awesome readers. What content would you like to see written about? Let me know by responding to this email or sending me an email at [email protected].


Thanks for reading!




Front2Back Music

November 9, 2021

Choosing the right show for your ensemble is one of the most vital steps in determining how successful and smooth your season goes. Students, staff, and parents are going to invest a HUGE amount of time into the show you choose, so it’s not a decision that should be made lightly. This week we’re breaking down a few things to consider when choosing an indoor show for your group.

Pick a show that fits your students
Choose a show that is too hard and you won’t sound, look good, your students will feel defeated, and you’ll have minimal competitive success. Too easy and your season will stagnate and become boring while limiting growth. Find that perfect middle ground that does it all. Another point to keep in mind is to gauge the interests of your students. What style of show would they be comfortable portraying? By all means, push your students to new heights and open them to growth, but you also want them to enjoy themselves throughout the season.

Keep the dollar signs in mind $$$
This one is pretty straightforward: if you have a very small budget for props, don’t choose a show that requires a huge, expensive, elaborate set to pull off. Some shows can work really well with minimal or no props. Others are more effective with large immersive sets and props. Keep the dollar signs in mind before becoming enamored by a particular show that may break the bank.

Consider your timeline
Consider how much time you will have to put the show together. Picking a really difficult show with a ton of props that need to be constructed will take a lot more time than a more simple straightforward show. It’s important to factor that in at the beginning so you don’t get in over your head and run out of time. That’s another reason we suggest getting started early.

Have variety
It’s a good idea to mix it up with your ensemble from year to year. If you crank out the exact same style of show every year, that may get old to your performers, your audiences, and your staff. While generally a “safe bet,” you may benefit from choosing growth over what has worked in the past and discover a completely new path your ensemble could take and still be very successful.


Consider your ensemble’s “identity”
This is a natural follow up to the previous point, because developing an identity for your ensemble can be a really good thing for many ensembles. While this suggests doing the same style of show every year, the important thing to remember is that you can keep your ensemble’s identity intact while still changing it up if you are deliberate in the “how” of what you do. For example, if your ensemble is really comfortable telling stories and you’d like to continue doing so, you can make sure the mood of the story has variety from year to year.

November 9, 2021

A production timeline is just a schedule or calendar that keeps the logistics of putting an indoor show on the floor on track. This is so important to achieving the success you want for your group. It allows ample time to make adjustments and improvements to the show in the later parts of the season because everything is taken care of early.

We’ve put together a rough timeline broken down into 4 major parts of the season. Get specific with dates and always work backwards from your targets to know what needs to happen when.


  • Set budget
  • Select show / begin writing
  • Begin planning, acquiring, and constructing props
  • Order uniforms
  • Order floor
  • Set target dates for when each portion of the show should be taught
  • Keep in mind: Having at least a few competitions with your full production on the floor is a good idea to receive feedback and have time to implement it.


Early Season

  • Hold auditions if necessary
  • Begin training program
  • Begin learning the show music and staging drill
  • Put first two thirds of the show on the floor



  • Finish putting the show on the floor
  • Begin to adjust what isn’t working
  • Look for potential areas the show can be enhanced
  • Listen to feedback (judges, colleagues, parents, students) and decide what you’ll want to implement
  • Prioritize your implementation so you don’t do too much or run out of time


Late Season

  • Never stop looking for ways to enhance the show!
  • Be smart about what changes you decide to tackle
  • Rigorously pursue fine tuning and small details
  • Never stop getting better
  • Pace out the end season so that the end feels like a crescendo into the final performance. In other words, don’t “peak” too soon or too late!


And that’s it! Remember, it’s up to you to add specifics for your ensemble to achieve your version of success!

November 9, 2021

While we are still in the thick of most fall seasons, it’s not too early to be wrapping your head around the upcoming indoor season and all that entails. That being said, we’ve compiled 5 tips to bring you the most success possible for your indoor group. Enjoy!


1. Get Ahead

For everything from planning your show to picking your uniforms to training your performers, it’s a great idea to start early so you have the most time possible to set things up well. Early is relative, so decide what that means for your ensemble.


2. Season Timeline: Have One!

You can break your timeline into 4 main parts: pre-season, early season, mid-season, and late season. Define what needs to get done in each part of your season, then map them to a production calendar or schedule. For example, if you know your performance and competition schedule, you can decide when you want to be done putting your show on the floor, then work backwards from there to make sure everything happens on time to achieve that goal.


3. Pick or design the right show for your group

This one is really about knowing your performers and giving them the best chance for success. Your performers skill level and the culture within your ensemble can tell you a lot about what kind of show you should pick or design. Some performers would feel more comfortable performing a dark and moody show, while others would feel more at home in a “cute” or fun show. Set them up for success by giving them what they need.


4. Play to your strengths

Of course, matching the mood of your show to the character of your ensemble is a great way to play to your strengths. But also consider the following: What if you have a very strong front ensemble but a more beginner level battery? What if you have a monster snare line? Play to these strengths by highlighting them in your production or choosing a show that does so.


5. Training: don’t skimp on it

We’ve all been there… the first show is fast approaching and you are finding yourself in a time crunch to get everything on the floor in time. As tempting as it may be in those times to skip the fundamentals, the basics, or the technique program, don’t do it! Then again, it’s best to not find yourself in that position in the first place by following all of these tips.


And that’s it! We hope you’ve enjoyed these 5 tips for a successful indoor season. By no means is this list meant to be comprehensive, but hopefully it provides some value to you as you get things rolling!