By Krista Miller,

Krista Miller
1 -- Vets are your friends! So while I've only been to one camp now, as an official vet I think it's important to tell the world that vets are your friends. Last year, I did all I could to become one of the sop's shadows. It's important to remember that as a rookie you can learn a lot just by looking at that vet next to you. It also might benefit you to strike up a conversation with them. So here is my advice to you: Talk to the vets, mimic what they do and their intensity level and you'll already be a step ahead. 2 -- Meet People. If you do just one thing at these winter camps, I only hope that it's meeting people. Talk to anyone and everyone you can. Staff members are there to help you and are all incredibly experienced. Talk to them and get as much knowledge as you can from them. I promise you that your corps experience will be more rewarding if you expose yourself to your corps in the early days of the season. 3 -- Clothing. It should be comfortable. Drum corps is NOT a beauty contest. Jeans are typically a bad idea. For me, it's wind pants, T-shirts, sweatshirts and tennis shoes. 4 -- Shower conversations are normal. Some of the best conversations I ever had on the road were in the shower. I know it seems odd at first because it's different, but once tour is over you'll be wishing you had someone to chat with again. 5 -- Your horn is heavy. It's just the way it is. I play soprano, and my horn gets heavy too. The basic thing to remember about holding up your horn is that A) you have to, and B) its only heavy when you think about nothing but how heavy it is. So think about something else and hold it. 6 -- Attitude. I know every rookie has heard this line: "It's more about attitude than talent." I'm here to tell you that it couldn't ring more true. Go in ready to lay out everything you can. Make a game out of being better than the guy next to you. Set goals for yourself and actually REACH THEM! Most importantly, believe in yourself. If you think you can't do it then you've already lost. 7 -- Your body. It's going to hurt, I promise. The good news is that eventually you don't have to think about the easy things as much and your muscle memory kicks in. Or maybe, your body just gets so numb to the pain that you don't notice anymore. Either way, I promise it eventually gets better. 8 -- Sleep. It's important, so get it while you can. Most people who have already marched will say that they get more sleep at camps and on tour than they do back home. It's sad, but it's true. Camps are exciting, especially when you're new, but you'll thank me if you just relax, calm down and go to sleep. You're going to need every ounce of energy you have the next day. 9 -- Cover your basics. Whether it's drop spins, whole notes and long tones, or eights, you've got to know your stuff. Be as familiar with yourself as a player as you can. Get to camp ready to show what you can do. At the same time, remember that it isn't all about you. You have to learn how you fit into the group. 10 -- Come to camp. Actually going to camp is the most important part. Being there for what goes on, getting more familiar with the members, the staff, and the volunteers is more a part of becoming a member than you think. Take care of your business at home as soon as possible, so that when camps roll around you can't find an excuse not to go. Just being there shows your dedication to what you're trying to do. So just go jump right in and get your feet wet! Thanks to those of you who e-mailed me after my last article. Got an idea? Something you'd like to see as an article? Let me know your ideas! Krista Miller is a junior communications major at Virginia Tech living in Blacksburg, Va. This past summer was her rookie season with the Glassmen. She plans on pursuing a career in mass media. She'll be contributing frequent reports to Past articles by Krista Miller: Ten things to love about laundry day Ten reasons to love the bus Ten reasons to love drum corps