Today's modern-era drum corps member is faced with a high level of personal responsibility. Corps members go off on their own for three months every summer as they tour the United States with their respective organizations, and they are forced to balance their participation in drum corps with classes, family, jobs and other musical ensembles; quite a feat, even for the above-average 19-year-old. Also importantly, drum corps performers have a tremendous degree of physical responsibility. As show designers create programs that push marching music's physical boundaries, muscle strains and injuries leading into and during the season become a growing concern. "The physicality of the drum corps activity has changed dramatically, even in just the last five years," said DCI Executive Director Dan Acheson. "Members are continually pushed to their physical and mental limits as they work toward achieving their ultimate performances every day, in preparation for the season and throughout the summer tour."
Those walking through a university fitness center during the fall and winter, may be surprised to see the latest Cadets or Phantom Regiment T-shirts creeping in amongst the school football and basketball teams. Faced with often daunting physical demands, members can no longer stay idle during the winter months waiting for spring training camps to build up the strength and stamina needed for the demanding drum corps season. Recognizing the physical demands placed on performers, Drum Corps International is proud to announce a new alliance with the Chicago-based Institute of Health and Human Performance (IHHP). "Our partnership with Drum Corps International is based completely on the safety, health and well being of every marching music member," said Jon Kabance, co-founder of IHHP. The IHHP integrates sports medicine and behavior modeling to optimize health, fitness and related educational products and programs designed to help people enhance their performance and reduce their risk of injury. The organization not only works with professional and amateur athletes, but also with the average employee in the workplace environment, with specialized injury prevention and increased productivity programs.
Madison Scouts members work out during a rehearsal in May, 2006.
In addition to workplace and athletic performance enhancement programs, the IHHP also has developed specific programs for performing artists. These programs educate individuals about injuries and what causes them, while providing proactive tools and techniques to help prevent them. From focusing on building arm strength in string players to proper body warm-up for vocalists, the programs of the IHHP focus extensively on warm-up and conditioning procedures, in order to provide the proper preventative measures that will assist in enhancing overall performance. "Our comprehensive approach to performance enhancement and injury prevention is paralleled by DCI's commitment to excellence that drives the marching music world. Our combined goal is simple—provide drum corps and marching music organizations the latest in medical, health and sports medicine programs, policies and procedures," said Kabance. Over the last two drum corps seasons, the IHHP has worked closely with the Cavaliers in a pilot program specifically geared toward marching musicians. Check out this video clip of the Cavaliers in action using principles and techniques that are part of the IHHP's program. As the partnership between DCI and the IHHP grows, Drum Corps International will debut several new products and educational initiatives in the near future as part of its continued commitment to excellence in the marching arts. "With the IHHP's background in a wide variety of programs for athletes and performers, it is obvious that there is a total understanding of the unique needs of our drum corps participants," said Acheson. "Every marching band, color guard and drum corps instructor out there realizes the physical demands placed on performers. We look forward to focusing on wellness programs for all types of marching music programs and their participants through this partnership." Learn more about the Institute of Health and Human Performance at www.IHHP.org.