Indoor percussion is a marching band that utilizes the battery and pit sections of the group and performs inside during the winter months. If the group is a complete indoor ensemble, the music is rich and rhythmic with an array of tones and melodies. An all drum line ensemble typically provides the listener with heart-throbbing, complicated rhythms, and hand clapping beats. Bands choreograph routines to provide audiences with a moving visual experience that tells a story based on the selected music. There are percussion groups for high school students, college students, and private groups with different competitions in the spring for all.
The battery portion, also called the drum line, of an indoor percussion group is comprised of the bass drums, tenor drums, and the snares. Pit instruments, or the front ensemble, used in the band may include mallet percussion instruments, auxiliary percussion, and even electronic keyboards. Some competitions are allowing bands to include guitars in their groups along with unconventional instruments such as trash cans, pipes, and other ordinary items that make percussive sounds. Competitions do not allow any prerecorded music or sounds to supplement or add to any portion of the band.
Musical selections for indoor percussion groups are quite different from those of outdoor marching bands. The music for an indoor group incorporates more melody while outdoor marching bands use more technique. The brass section is altogether eliminated from the indoor group allowing the band to play softer compositions. Music selections may include classical compositions, pieces from different cultures around the world, popular American music, or show tunes.
Performances for indoor percussion are extremely physical, and instrumentalists must coordinate a dance routine as well as play an instrument. Every member in the group is expected to move about in some way including musicians playing stationary instruments. Sometimes percussion groups include the flag corps adding to the dramatic effects of a performance. Groups may enhance the performance with stage settings, props, and unique costumes that fit the mood of the music.
Modern indoor percussion groups are much different from the marching bands of long ago. Schools started to encourage their marching bands to play inside during the winter months in order to maintain the band’s skills. As a result, bands evolved from marching back and forth on a football field into more complex routines and musical compositions. This practice spread throughout the United States into Japan, and it is enjoyed by spectators worldwide.