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NGU Professor Produces Winning Marching Band Drills

Tigerville, SC (February 14, 2019) North Greenville University’s Music Education Coordinator and Associate Professor Dr. David Cudd has designed drills for 27 high school marching bands which have won the title of state champions.

When not teaching music education classes at NGU, Cudd spends his time generating designs for marching bands using special software called Pyware 3D.

Cudd shared that he began working with marching band designs during his time as a college student at Furman University. Band directors would send him the music, and Cudd would analyze the music, identify the phrases, and then design the drills.

Cudd’s role as a marching band drill designer is to instruct every musician where to stand, when to move, how to move, and where to go on the football field.

When he first began designing drills for marching bands, Cudd did not have access to a computer. Cudd shared that he designed all the placeholders and mapped the movements by hand.

Using a lightbox to trace over musicians’ movements across the football field, Cudd would spend an entire day drawing two or three sketches for instructions. Cudd shared he would go through reams of paper just for one marching band drill design.

Having worked all summer of 1982, after his freshman year of college, Cudd saved up enough money to purchase the Apple IIE. Leaving behind the pen and paper, Cudd created drill instructions upwards of 70 pages long in as quickly as just one week.

Depending on the size of the high school, Cudd averages between one week and one month laying out the designs. The high school bands vary in size, ranging from 40 to 140 student musicians.

Last summer, Cudd designed drills for 15 different schools across the state. Two of which, Pickens High School (Class 3A) and Easley High School (Class 4A) won the title of state champions.

During the fall season, Cudd serves as a judge for various high school marching band competitions across the state.

When asked what inspired him to pursue a career in music education, Cudd recalled his high school band instructor motivated him. Throughout his time in the public school system, Cudd has taught as a band director, teaching chorus, biology classes, and even driver education classes.

With over 30 years of teaching experience, Cudd shifted his attention toward higher education at NGU.

Cudd grew up just 3.5 miles from NGU’s campus, off Highway 414. Huebert Dill, Cudd’s grandfather, graduated from North Greenville Academy in 1917. Rebecca Dill, Cudd’s mother, graduated from North Greenville Junior College in 1961.

“It was like coming back home when I came back here,” said Cudd, when he returned to NGU.

Cudd has served as an adjunct professor for ten years and has worked full time at NGU for the last four years. Cudd also supervises music education student teachers.

To learn more about NGU's music education program, visit ngu.edu/music-education.

Article written by NGU's Communications Intern Hannah Hurst. 

         

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