Just a few hours before the very first corps kicked off the 2018 DCI Summer Tour, hundreds of high school music students had the chance to sharpen their leadership skills at Ford Field in Detroit.

The session, which took place June 21 as part of the DCI Tour Premiere presented by DeMoulin Bros. & Co., was the first of five set to be run by motivational speaker Fran Kick throughout the 2018 season, as part of the Kick Start Your Season with DCI series. In these sessions, students converge on Drum Corps International venues to interact with one another and learn from Kick in a variety of ways.

“The idea is that students from across the country can come to a Drum Corps International show a little early, and experience a giant, stadium-sized, team-building, leadership experience firsthand,” Kick said.

While Kick is known for being a talented motivational speaker, his sessions aren’t just about sitting and listening. Kick emphasizes the interactive nature of his events, so that those in attendance can gain practical and applicable experience working with fellow high schoolers.

“Rather than just talking with the students, we actually put it into action and bring that metaphor to life so that they can figure it out for themselves,” he added. “Not only here on this field, but all season long when they go back home.”

As part of Kick’s events, students participate in a number of unique games that put the skills they’re learning into action.

For example, the students in Detroit were tasked with banding together to form letters of the alphabet on Ford Field without speaking. In the process, according to Kick, those involved began to realize ways they could benefit the group, even without saying a single word.  

TroopersStudents form the letter 'B' at Detroit's Kick Start event.

“The interesting thing is, because it’s different than anything they’ve experienced before, they’re always a little like, ‘What is this going to be?’” Kick said. “But once they get on the field and start interacting with each other, the game kind of raises the bar for everyone.

“They’ve started to realize that, ‘Hey, I have the ability to make this a little bit better,’ he added. “And then when they do that, they see the results instantly. Sometimes that’s not always true in band, sometimes that’s not always true in life.”

Ultimately, the goal of these Kick Start sessions is to show students what it truly means to be leader and to live accordingly going forward.

“It’s not about the title, it’s not about the position,” Kick said. “It’s about doing what you can do to influence the people around you in a positive and constructive way, by just making things a little bit better in whatever way you can, each and every day.”

Students around the country will have four more opportunities to experience a Kick Start Your Season with DCI session, at any of the following venues. Admission to Kick Start events is free with a ticket to the subsequent DCI Tour event.

Upcoming Kick Start events

DCI Orlando presented by Great East Music Festivals and Music Store
Camping World Stadium
Orlando, FL
Sunday, July 8

Tour of Champions – Oklahoma presented by Drums of Summer
Broken Arrow High School
Broken Arrow, OK
Tuesday, July 17

DCI Mesquite presented by Pageantry Innovations
Mesquite Memorial Stadium
Mesquite, TX
Monday, July 23

DCI World Championship Finals
Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, IN
Saturday, August 11

Learn more about Kick Start events.