The Generic Quiz, a Drumline Teaching Tool

Here is a teaching tool inspired by the work of Richard Felder (Professor Emeritus, Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University), applying the notion of a “Generic Quiz” to the drumline setting. The notion of the “Generic Quiz” is that an educator assigns a quiz, but the real assignment of the quiz is for the students to write their own quizzes by engaging creatively with the course material [Reference].

A notable change in the drumline activity in the last ten years has been the normalization of “homework” in the form of video assignments, both for members during the season and for auditionees during the audition process. It promotes accountable engagement outside of rehearsal hours and creates a greater opportunity for self-assessment, staff assessment, and—most importantly—peer assessment.

The generic quiz is a form of “homework” for when rehearsals have already begun. The idea is for your students to each select a problem passage or problem skill for the line and write an exercise uniquely designed to overcome the challenge. This approach promotes engagement with the music and raises awareness of the unique realities faced by the ensemble that is tasked with performing the music, so that instruction doesn’t just happen to your students: they play an active role in it.

This handout explains the assignment and provides an example.