IPA State Finals: Tips for Warming Up Outside

Terre Haute, Indiana is Ready to Host Your Next Sporting Event

The IPA (Indiana Percussion Association) State Finals at The Hulman Center (Indiana State University) will require an outside warm-up next weekend. Those groups who have performed in Dayton for WGI Championships or participate in circuits in warmer regions of the country know this is a normal process. The outside extended warm-up can be very beneficial to preparing for the large arena environment. But for those who have not gone through that process before, here are some tips to make sure the experience is smooth and beneficial for everyone.

  • KEEP A VERY CLOSE EYE ON THE WEATHER. Be prepared for cold, rain, wind and heat.
  • Take jackets and coats to warm-up. Have a parent push around a large plastic trash can for the kids to ditch their jackets as they enter the arena. They might not need them, but it’s better to be prepared. Standing in a parking lot freezing before your final performance isn’t going to help you have a relaxed, confident performance.
  • Be prepared to change on the bus. If you aren’t showing up in uniform, don’t plan to go inside to change. This may be a possibility, but it is usually much easier and quicker to take turns changing on the bus.
  • Have plenty of plastic tarps. We all hope for perfect weather conditions on contest days, especially when the warm-up is outside, but that isn’t always the case and it’s best to prepare for inclement weather. Don’t just bring a couple huge tarps to park the equipment under. Bring smaller tarps that can stay over the electronics carts while rolling from warm-up to the arena.
  • Have plenty of bungee cords. You’ll need those tarps strapped down if it’s windy!
  • If it looks to be sunny and warm, make sure to bring water. An hour in the sun, on asphalt, can wear the students down quickly.
  • If having your electronics on during warm-up is important to you, TAKE A GENERATOR. There might be power available in the warm-up lot, but don’t plan for it.
  • Keep electronics dry at all costs!
  • Be aware of the Inclement Weather/Tent Schedule and use your time in the tent if you have any concerns about the weather. This includes very cold and/or windy conditions.
  • Finally, directors and staff – Since this is only the time for everyone at this venue, get there early and take the time to walk the flow in and out of the arena so you’re familiar with it. Also, allow enough time for your student performers to go in and watch a couple groups so they can get the feel for the arena, along with the on-and-off-the-floor flow.

Good luck to everyone performing in the IPA State Championships this weekend!

Updated: Common Concert Snare Drum Maintenance Issues

Time to rehash another blog post that is very relevant this time of year! With concert season in full swing, we thought this would be a quick reminder on things you can check out on your snare drum if you are having issues. There are some common maintenance issues that will arise over time with relation to your concert snare drum. While most of these are fairly simple we have tried to highlight issues that can be taken care of by you with little knowledge of percussion repair.

Cleaning: Wipe down each drum with a soft cloth, including the hardware and the shell. If there is extreme dirt or grime, you can use denatured alcohol diluted in water. If you have anything that is extremely sticky use a small amount of valve oil. In both cases, put the product on the cloth instead of spraying directly on the drum.

Parts Inspection: Do a visual inspection for any missing or broken parts that may need replaced. Some common parts missing or broken include the following:

  • Bent Tension Rods
  • Damaged Tension Posts or Tubes
  • Bent Strainer from overtightening snare strands
  • Bent or out of Round Rims
  • Inspect the bearing edges when heads are off for any damage

Head Replacement: Changing the heads on a concert snare drum that is used regularly should happen about once a year. Over time the head will get stretched so far that it will not hold tuning for long even if tuned daily. If the head is dented, ripped, or severely scratched consider replacing the heads. While changing a drum head is a fairly easy task, when you have to do it quickly and on your own there are a few things to consider.

  • Use two drum keys in a cross pattern to quickly remove the head.
  • Keep the tension rods attached to the rim.
  • Quickly remove any debris from the rim.
  • Take your time to make sure the head is seated properly on the bearing edge.
  • Finger tighten in a cross pattern and then using a drum key in the cross pattern.
  • Placing a finger in the center of the head can help you determine when the head is ready to tune.

Drum Tuning Patterns - DRUMDIAL

Suggested Heads : For a clear and crisp sound we recommended using the following on most concert specific snare drums.

Batter Heads – Remo Ambassador Renaissance/Remo Diplomat Renaissance/Evans Strata 1000/Evans Strata 1000 Staccato
Resonant Heads – Remo Diplomat Hazy/Remo Renaissance Snare Side/Evans Orchestral 200/Evans Orchestral 300

Snare Strand (Wires) Detach: A common issue on a snare drum is for the snare strand to become detached or become loose even with the strainer working properly.

  • Remove any old string or nylon strip and attach new ones.
  • Let some tension out of the strainer knob to allow for adjusting later on.
  • Attach the butt-side first being sure to center the strands from side to side.
  • Attach the throw-off side with it in the “ON” position. Make sure it is tight but leave some room for adjustment.

Damaged or Bent Shell: Inspect the shell for and damage. Metallic shells with dents can often be put back into round by a repair technician.

If you continue to find issue with the way your concert snare drum is performing or sounding after going through these common tips, feel free to give us a call and we talk help diagnose the problem.

How to Diagnose Common Timpani Issues

Common Timpani Issues

With contest season in full swing, you may start to notice some issues with your timpani. Timpani are one of the more misunderstood percussion instruments with regards to function and reparability, but knowing some common issues that occur can give you a better understanding of what to check.

Issue #1 – The Pedals Slip (Won’t stay in position)

When the pedal on timpani is not holding either in the high or low position it is more often than not related to the range of the drums.  Over time, the heads continue to stretch and can cause the drums to become out of range and thus not allowing spring and head to be balanced with tension.  This is the first thing to check if you have pedal issues.  You should check that the lowest note on each drum is correct as seen below:

If the pedal slips forward from the lowest position, it likely means that the drum is too low and needs to be brought up to the correct low note.  Holding the pedal in the heel down (low position) make small adjustments to each tension rod until you have the lowest note.

If the pedal is moving back from the upper position, it likely means you need to add a little bit of tension to the spring.  However, it is important to check the low note and make sure you have this first.  If the low note is correct, adjust the spring.

Issue #2 – The Pedal is Hard to Move or is Stuck

This can be caused by many things, but the first thing to check is that nothing appears to be broken or snapped as this can cause things to stop working completely.  More than likely, the balance between the head and spring are not correct so checking these first is a good idea.  Other things to check would be the braking systems being to tight and thus not allowing the pedals to move freely.  On Ludwig drums this can be found under the pedal while on Yamaha drums this is often found near the center under the bowl.

Issue #3 – The Drums Won’t Stay in Tune

If you are having issues with the drums constantly going low after tuning them up it likely means you are in need of a head change.  Timpani heads should be changed every one to two years depending on your daily usage.

If you just changed the heads recently and they just don’t sound great or don’t seem to hold a pitch well they likely need to be cleared and tuned up by a professional.  Since the process of clearing and getting timpani in tune with themselves can be tricky it is best to have someone familiar with the process check out the drums.

If you notice something that is not listed here, it is likely something that will need to be inspected and serviced by a professional repair technician. You may find yourself understanding what the cause of the issue may be but not confident in fixing the issue.  Give us a call at 317-813-2070 and we can make a visit to your school to ensure your timpani are in top working condition.

Pi Percussion 2024 Gear Sale


Chops Percussion will be selling Tama gear used by Pi Percussion during the 2024 WGI season. This is a HUGE opportunity to save on gear that has only been used for a less than 2 months. If you’re looking to upgrade your battery percussion or your front ensemble gear, this is the time to do just that.

In order to reserve an item we must have a PO from your school, check or credit card payment. We will arrange delivery to you in the final weeks of April/May 2024. Keep an eye on the list to see what is still available and give us a call to get more information!

To check out the currently available gear, click here!

Winter Weather and Indoor Drumline: Be Prepared for Anything

500+ Snow Storm Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

With the weather we experienced across Indiana last weekend, we though it would be a great idea to share some tips we have found useful over the years that will help you be prepared for anything on the day of the show. What are some useful tips you can share with others?

  • Be sure to check the weather report the day before the event
  • Think about what the students will wear when uploading your trailer and moving equipment inside.
  • Have students bring a change of shoes and socks to keep their feet dry and free from slipping on the tarp.
  • Have covers and tarps ready in case of unexpected rain or snow.
  • Plan on spending a little extra time tuning indoors if your equipment sat on a trailer for a long drive or the night before.
  • Have some hand warmers on hand to help get students hands warm before going into warmup.
  • Be sure to check all electronics and cables for excessive moisture once inside. And have some extra on hand just in case.
  • Have extra towels and cloths to dry equipment after moving inside for warmup. This will not only help protect the equipment but your mallets and sticks as well.
  • Try not to adjust your routine to much, but be ready to move a little quicker than normal. Have student leaders, staff and parents find the quickest and safest route inside.

Be sure to stay safe and calm when fast with adverse conditions and remember that everyone is doing there best to manage a situation out of their control. We look forward to warmer days ahead and seeing you all performing soon!