New Drum Majors Take on Leadership Roles


Sloka Chandrasekaran

Daniel Shin ’18 practices his form for conducting before the game.

The field goes quiet, the students alert and listening for the director’s instructions. A steady breath is heard across the ensemble as they prepare themselves to play. Sweat drips down their faces and determination shines in their eyes. The drum majors lift their hands, ready to lead the band.

Drum majors are student leaders who are chosen by the directors to stand in front of the Westwood Band and conduct. Hamsini Nathan ‘18, Daniel Shin ‘18, James Yan ‘18, Noah Zahm ‘18, and Shelby Castleberry ‘19 are this year’s drum majors. They have the highest student leadership position and are the direct link between the students and the directors.

“Being a drum major means that you’ve chosen to take the extra step to serve and help the band program,” Shin said. “We’re looked upon as the apex of the leadership structure within the band program, and because of this, we set the standard of what being a leader is in the band.”

While drum majors may appear as though they’ve been in charge for forever, the students still had to prove that they could handle having this position by undergoing an audition with a conducting portion and an interview.

“The whole process for attaining drum major is very strenuous,” Nathan said. “We are required to attend multiple meetings and clinics to learn various conducting techniques and leadership skills.”

Photo by Sloka Chandrasekaran
James Yan ’18 and Hamsini Nathan ’18 have some fun while practicing their conducting.

Although the process of becoming a drum major is very demanding, they still have to make sure they manage their grades and schoolwork while juggling band rehearsals and other obligations.

“From being in marching band since freshman year, I have developed very useful time management skills,” Nathan said. “I have taught myself not to procrastinate and complete my work with minimal distractions.”

Because drum majors have the highest student leadership position in band, the students want to make a difference and have an impact on the other students who look up to them.

“I don’t believe it’s necessary to have a leadership position to make a difference, but with this position in hand, I want to make sure everyone has fun,” Yan said. “I am trying to implement this by encouraging positive language on the field and instigating friendly competition.”

All in all, drum majors have a huge influence on the band. They are highly respected by the band directors and other students, and they handle their job with the utmost professionalism. They inspire the students they lead to be the best that they can be in not just the band environment, but their other activities as well.

“The best way to inspire others is to be an example or a role model for others to look up to and want to follow,” Shin said. “Since this is my last year, I want to make sure I serve the band to the best of my ability and hope I exceed their expectations.”