I marched top 12, as did both of my brothers. We played in 3 different corps and my brothers both were on staff with top 12 corps. My older brother is still a DCI Judge to this day. We were with corps that shall remain nameless because whom you march with is not as important as why you march.

My older brother was a great player who got into corps because he is God's gift to both battery and melodic percussion. He ended up with a DMA in Performance. My younger brother marched in a corps who got beat in finals by my old corps. I'll be the first to admit they were the better corps. Winning was not important. What was important was that he was very immature and the "discipline of drum corps" was perfect for him. As the old saying goes, we sent off a boy and got back a man.

As for myself, my corps finished top 3 all three years I was a member. My father passed away months prior to my joining this wonderful organization. I was wandering through life and they gave me short term meaning. I can never repay them for the focus they gave me at a time when I needed it.

No, it's not the greatest music education in the world, but I do think I came out a better player than when I went in, but that happens when you play multiple hours everyday. I did learn to play the "Dubbas" as someone called them, but I also learned to take care of myself, say "no" to drugs and sex (yep, they are part of drum corps life), and I was able to stroke my ego by showing off on a solo during 2 out of 3 seasons.

To put it in a nutshell -- knowing about drum corps first hand, and from sending many students off to march with corps, if my daughter came to me and said she wanted to march I would have a long talk with her about life on tour and then tell her I'd give her all the support she needed.