Drum Corps International
Kick Start events continue to inspire young musicians and future leaders
Motivational speaker Fran Kick holds a workshop for students as part of the DCI Tour Premiere on June 22 in Indianapolis.Photo by: Drum Corps International

Kick Start events continue to inspire young musicians and future leaders

by Angel Mendoza

More than an hour's worth of motivational speaker Fran Kick's fast-paced personal anecdotes reverberated throughout Lucas Oil Stadium on June 22.

The audience, consisting mostly of high school music students, was eager to soak up Kick's knowledge and participate in his eclectic methods for teaching leadership skills.

One of six events of its kind lined up for the 2017 Drum Corps International Tour, these Kick Start educational workshops have been part of select DCI events for the last six years. Kick says they were created to drive home the lessons that young, aspiring musicians learn in advanced musical programs.

“The goal is to allow groups — especially in the performing arts — to come into the stadium a little bit early, and experience a lesson on how we can work together better,” Kick said. “And so we developed a rotation of curriculum and games and ideas so that each year students can come to these events, learn, and experience something different.”



The seminar in Indianapolis, which will be similar to those scheduled for upcoming DCI Tour events in Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia and Indiana, started off with students in the stands where the animated Kick wasn't about to let the audience simply sit and listen for the whole segment.

Following a flurry of his humorous stories and interactive activities, Kick took the time to let his young audience out of the stands and onto the field to participate in a team-building game.

The participants were partnered in groups of two — one blindfolded and the other not — learning to work effectively and efficiently together to accomplish a goal.

Amid the controlled chaos, the students figured out innovative strategies and new methods of communication. These results were further embellished when Kick gathered the participants together on the field to discuss what worked and what didn't work for them during the game.


Students take part in an interactive leadership activity on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.


The students' feedback then segued into the final part of his presentation, where he drove home the point of the game — developing symbiotic relationships between the leader and the follower.

“In order to be a successful presenter, you have to make it less about yourself and more about the audience,” Kick said. “If I want to be an effective leader, my responsibility is to make sure I'm taking care of the people I'm leading. And that was the whole lesson about leadership — make it more about the ‘ship' than the ‘leader.'”

The timing and the placement of the events, Kick said, work to effectively complement and enhance the experience for the students who later in the evening will experience first-hand the commitment to excellence exhibited by drum corps performers.

It all culminates to create a more meaningful learning and musical experience, Kick said. “Whether you play clarinet, brass, percussion or color guard, the message we're imparting has relevance — not only in band, but in school and in life.”

Five additional Kick Start events will be hosted this summer in conjunction with select DCI Tour events. Admission is free with a ticket to the corresponding drum corps show.

DCI Orlando presented by Lone Star Percussion
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Saturday, July 8, 2017

DCI Tour of Champions – Oklahoma
Broken Arrow Memorial Stadium, Broken Arrow, OK
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

DCI Southwestern Championship presented by Fred J. Miller Inc.
The Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Saturday, July 22, 2017

DCI Southeastern Championship presented by Lone Star Percussion
McEachern High School, Powder Springs, GA
Saturday, July 29, 2017

DCI World Championship Finals
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Saturday, August 12, 2017