Drum Corps International Touring Band

The owner of Carlisle Educational Services, John (J.R.) Carlisle has been a part of the education field for nearly three decades. His experience as a former principal in the Cincinnati Public Schools helped him gain the experience necessary for fulfilling a role as a consultant. In his present position, John R. Carlisle partners with schools nationwide to offer training and improve scholastic programs. Additionally, he dedicates his expertise in music and the arts to serving as an adjudicator for Drum Corps International.

Established over three decades ago, Drum Corps International (DCI) provides an outlet for student musicians. The organization hosts an annual tour in addition to a myriad of competitions nationwide. During its live summer performances, the DCI touring band reaches more than 400,000 fans. On average, the age of touring band members is 19. Of the members, 72 percent are full-time college students, of which nearly 60 percent are pursing music education degrees.

To gain a spot among the elite musicians ranging from 13 to 22 years of age, more than 8,000 students must auditions to compete for the privilege of joining the top DCI member corps. Audition dates are posted on the DCI website, along with tips on how to join a drum corps. Visit http://www.dci.org for more details.


Marching Band Performance Criteria – How Assessments are Made

John R. (J.R.) Carlisle has served as a music educator and principal in his lengthy career in the performing arts and education fields. Now an educational consultant with Carlisle Educational Services, John R. Carlisle has participated as a judge in several marching band competitions.

When a judge evaluates a band’s musical performance during a competition, he is given a scoring sheet to assist him in making a determination with respect to scoring or the achievement level of the band.

Several factors or criteria are reviewed for determining the final score – some of which include the balance and blend of the musical composition, the centers of tone and pitch, and the tuning of the percussion section of the band. The cohesiveness of the ensemble as well as tempo, control, pulse, and timing all factor into the final score as well.

When a band achieves a high score for musical performance, band members exhibit a mature technique in both method and articulation. The manual dexterity displayed by the players is superior and coordination of the unit is exemplary. Members show solid control in all aspects of tempo, rhythm, and pulse during the musical routine.

Evolution of Winter Guard International

John (J.R.) Carlisle earned his BA in music education from Marshall University and immediately embarked on a career in education. John (J.R.) Carlisle maintains his strong involvement in music education by serving as a judge for winter guard associations across the country, including his past service adjudicating for Winter Guard International.

Winter Guard International was developed in 1977 by a group of color guard aficionados who were concerned about the quality of competitions in their activity. The skill and enthusiasm of the drum and bugle corps that participated in the competitions were unquestioned, but different skills and elements, such as military drill and equipment handling, were being given varying emphasis in different parts of the country. Thus, when color guards from different parts of the country met for competition, there was no universal standard against which they were evaluated.

The 1977 meeting positively addressed the problem. It defined winter as the season for all Winter Guard activities, which were held indoors, and established a single point scoring system for competitions. Rather than being held one location, the annual championship competition rotates among the various regions of the country to emphasize the national identity of the program.

Winter Guard International has evolved significantly from the roots of its early meetings. Where its basic manuals were the U.S. Flag Code and U.S. Army Field Manual 22-5, Drill and Ceremonies, they have since given way to an emphasis on the movements of dance and the theater. Adjudication of competitions has shifted away from penalizing units for movements performed incorrectly to emphasize showmanship and creativity.