The Exciting World of Indoor Drumline

Indoor drumline ensembles offer students exciting and competitive ways to showcase their percussion skills. This wintertime indoor activity has exploded in popularity in the last 20 years, to the point where major sports leagues like the NFL and NBA are starting to incorporate drumlines into their gameday experience. Organizations like WGI (Winter Guard International) now have nearly 500 participating ensembles, representing more than 12,000 performers from 37 states.

While indoor drumline is often thought of as a competitive activity that involves a lot of travel and huge budgets, it doesn’t have to be! Any program can host indoor percussion if there is interest from your students and community. If you want to get started, check out this list of some of the best percussion out there. And remember, Woodwind & Brasswind offers music educators incredible discounts on all of your musical needs. When you’re ready to purchase, our experts are standing by to help you make the most of your budget. 

Marching Snare Drums

When you think of the most exciting (and loudest!) parts of a percussion ensemble, you probably think of marching snare drums. With a full sound, an easy-to-carry design and amazing projection, snare drums produce a variety of sounds depending on how the player strikes the drum head. Advanced snare drum players are known for their unparalleled precision. 

A great snare drum to build your drumline around is the Yamaha 9300 Series SFZ Marching Snare Drum. This high-quality drum is known for its distinctive sound, wide dynamic range, and explosive rim shot.  The SFZ (short for Sforzando – with sudden emphasis) was developed and refined based on the rigors of actual use with world-famous The Cadets, The Cavaliers and The Madison Scouts drum and bugle corps. This snare drum offers powerful projection, precise articulation and durable performance.

Marching Bass Drums

Your audience will feel the boom of marching bass drums in their core. This exciting element of an indoor drumline is also critical to the timing of the band. To project those low frequencies, your players need to move large volumes of air, hence the size of these drums!

Look for bass drums like the Pearl 24 x 14 in. Championship Maple Marching Bass Drum. This drum is constructed with six plies of 100% maple shells to offer maximum resonance and huge sub-frequency projection. The maple hoops are secured by extra wide claws for an evenly dispersed pressure for consistent tuning. The construction and quality materials in this Pearl drum provide uncompromising strength and durability for years of high performance use, making them a smart purchase.

Marching Cymbals

The crash of marching cymbals will delight the audience and really pump up the energy of the performance. The obvious difference between marching cymbals and concert cymbals is that the marching pair are meant to be held by the player, meaning they need to have durable and high quality handles.

If you’re looking for top-rated marching cymbals, look no further than the Zildjian Stadium Medium Heavy Pairs 20 in. Smooth, bright and penetrating, these cymbals have extra weight for added volume. Their warm, shimmering sound projects clearly into every corner of a stadium or performance space. 

Marching Mallet Percussion

Instruments like chimes, marimbas, xylophones and vibraphones fall under the category of marching mallet percussion or keyboard percussion. These instruments may be harnessed and carried by players or can be situated in the front on the ensemble in the pit, depending on the size and weight of the instrument. These instruments consist of wooden, metal or synthetic keys mounted on a frame over a series of tubes called resonators. Hammering on the keys with mallets causes the impact to resonate through the tubes to produce sound.

An excellent marimba for your indoor drumline is the Yamaha YMT-2400C Intermediate Acoustalon Marimba. This instrument provides exceptional durability, a pure tone, true pitch and full sound. Plus, Yamaha's Tough-Terrain Frame is efficient for transporting; it fits through standard doorways; is height adjustable; and features an oversized swivel pedal to ensure playing comfort.

Hand Drums and World Percussion

Indoor drumlines can also incorporate hand drums and world percussion, depending on the skills of your players and your music selection. Hand percussion like tambourines, maracas, cowbells and triangles will add interesting elements to the performance. Steel drums also contribute to a unique sound. Some ensembles will even choose to add hand drums like djembes and darbukas.

A unique piece to add to your ensemble is the Meinl Aluminum Darbuka. This striking instrument, shaped somewhat like a goblet, is light yet powerful, with a deep full bass. This darbuka is well suited for high-pitched snapping sounds as well as a wide range of articulated "doum" and "tak" strokes. 

Get Started with Indoor Drumline Today

If you’re ready to start creating a indoor drumline ensemble for your school or music program, give our school music experts a call at 800.346.4448 so we can help you put together the best line up of instruments for your students. With our incredible educator discounts, we can help you stretch your budget while offering high quality, durable instruments that will last for years. You can also shop on the Educator Website at your convenience. Happy marching!