Canadian Drumline Association Regulations 2023 

1.0 CDA will provide qualified adjudicators at all sanctioned events

1.1 Tabulation of final scores are subject to review by the Chief Judge, up to twenty  four (24) hours after a competition.

1.2 CDA reserves the right to refuse or eject an ensemble.

1.3 All fees must be paid in full before an ensemble can compete

1.4 CDA and its partners may photograph/videotape events for promotional purposes. It is the responsibility of the ensemble to acquire media releases from their membership if needed.

1.5 110 volt grounded power sources shall be available at the front and back of the center line of the competition area. Ensembles must provide their own extension cords, and audio equipment. Under no circumstances will competing ensembles or their staff have access to the house PA system.

1.6 All drumlines wishing to participate in CDA events must become a “Registered Competing Ensemble”. If your organization has multiple units, one registration will suffice.

1.7 For Ontario ensembles to qualify to compete at the provincial championships they must compete in a regional competition during the same season, regardless of their score.

1.8 Public verbal, digital, or written slander of the CDA, any representative of the CDA, competing ensembles, board directors, or adjudicators may result in an ejection of offending ensembles membership.

1.9 The CDA will provide a 50-70 foot clearly defined performance area at all competitions.

1.11 The CDA is not responsible for the physical or mental safety of performers, staff, Audience members, and volunteers who participate in any CDA event. The CDA is not responsible for loss or return of equipment and personal belongings.


2.0 A drumline consists of marching snare drums, marching multi-tenor drums, marching bass drums, and marching cymbals. A competing ensemble must be a minimum of 51% drumline.

Penalty: Disqualification

2.1 Instrumentation is limited to those instruments typically utilized and recognized as part of a percussion section. Electronic instruments recognized as normal stage and band rhythm section instruments are also allowed. Conventional wind and/or string instruments (other than string bass and guitar) may not be used

Penalty: ten (10) points per infraction

2.2 No single, triggered, electronic sound may produce rhythmic intent (metronome) with the following exception: pre-recorded music must not contain any percussive sounds or offensive material, and may not exceed 30 seconds in combined total length.

Penalty: Disqualification

2.3 Lyrics with rhythmic intent may be triggered on a per word basis. Spoken word phrases without rhythmic intent may be performed with a single trigger. Sampled sounds must be individually triggered and played in real time by a performer in the competition area. Pre-recorded music must not contain any percussive sounds or offensive material, and may not exceed 30 seconds in combined total length.

Penalty: one half (.5) point per second over

: Disqualification for offensive material or percussion

2.4 Pre-recorded music must be submitted to the Chief Judge a minimum of two (2) weeks prior to use in a competition, for screening of materials and time documentation.

Penalty: ten (10) points per infraction

2.5 Ensembles must submit a list in writing of approved pre-recorded music in their performance, including order with times to the TPO before each and every competition.

Penalty: ten (10) points per infraction

2.6 Ensembles may position their PA system directly adjacent to the competition area. An adult may adjust the volume levels in real time, however all sounds must be created and/or triggered by performers in the competition area. Therefore an adult non performer outside the competition area may not trigger or initiate sounds of any kind. Speakers and all other instruments and props must be in the competition area.

2.7 No pyrotechnics, firearms (of any type), swords and knives, flammable liquids, and/or canisters will be permitted in or around the competition site. Effect creating tools, including but not limited to smoke machines, compressed air apparatuses, animals, helium filled balloons, robots, motorized vehicles (other than for motorized wheelchairs used in daily life by performers with disabilities), use of glass objects that may break and/or leave shards of glass in the competition area, drones or any remote-controlled airborne or land device, lasers, and lighting (not already installed in the building) may not be used as any part of the performance. Neither wet cell batteries, nor gasoline, electric, or manually powered generators can be used. Building lighting cannot be turned off, dimmed, or otherwise altered by the performing ensemble. Battery operated devices using common off-the-shelf flashlight batteries (AA, AAA, AAAA, C, D, N, 9V and button cells) are allowed. Devices using dry-cell secondary “rechargeable batteries”, including cell phones, cameras, MP3 players and computers are also allowed. Car and/or truck batteries are not permitted.

Penalty: Disqualification

2.8 For the protection of the wooden competition floors, all equipment must be properly taped or otherwise be prepared to assure that damage to the floors will not occur. Damage to the floor such as may occur by dragging the timpani, wheels or carts locking, etc. will be the responsibility of the ensembles. The Timing & Penalties Officer (TPO) will inspect all props before the competition begins. The TPO may refuse the use of any and all objects they deem unfit.

2.9 The use of powder, dirt or any other airborne substance shall be strictly prohibited

Penalty: Disqualification

2.11 No percussion ensemble may compete with less than six (6) drumming performing members, excluding the conductor (optional).

Penalty: Disqualification

2.12 Intermediate, Premier, Collegiate, and Alumni Class ensembles may use one optional student conductor positioned in the competition area. Concert Class ensembles may use one non-student conductor positioned in the competition area.

Penalty: ten (10) points per infraction

2.13 All performers, instruments, speakers, props, cables, stands, and costumes must remain inside the clearly marked performance area (50 – 70 feet) for the duration of the performance. Accidental drop of a stick or mallet, and the PA system are exempt.

Penalty: one half (.5) point per infraction


3.0 Ensembles may compete in either Concert (stand still), Intermediate (marching), Premier (marching), Collegiate, or Alumni classes.

3.1 All performers in Concert, Intermediate, and Premier Classes must be enrolled in secondary education or lower. All performers in Collegiate Class must be 22 years old or younger. Alumni ensembles may have performers of any age. If a member exceeds the age limit, the ensemble must compete in Alumni Class.

Penalty: Classification change

3.2 Concert class ensembles perform “stand still”, and compete displaying “basic skills”. Intermediate class perform “marching”, and compete displaying “Intermediate skills”. Premier class perform “marching” and compete displaying “advanced skills”. c Class ensembles perform “stand still: and demonstrate “Intermediate skills”. Concert Alumni class perform “stand still” and compete displaying advanced music skills. Alumni class perform “marching” and compete displaying “advanced skills”.

3.3 Concert and Collegiate class ensembles must utilise stands for the snare drums, multitenors, and bass drums if the equipment is available. A concert ensemble who wears their drums may not change their physical location during the performance.

Penalty: Classification change

3.4 An ensemble may not change classifications during the competitive season without the approval of the Chief Judge. The CDA may change an ensembles classification with consultation from the Chief Judge.


4.0 Ensembles will be scheduled to compete at the following intervals:

Class Interval
Concert/Collegiate/Concert Alumni 9 Minutes
Intermediate 10 minutes
Premier/Marching Alumni 11 Minutes

The time interval will include entrance, set up, introduction, performance, exit and removal of all equipment, props, personnel, etc. The CDA may expand these intervals for an event but may not contract them less than noted above.

Penalty: one tenth (.1) point per second over

4.1 The performance time ceases when an ensemble quits playing or leaves the floor, whichever comes first, and shall not exceed seven (7) minutes for all classes.

Penalty: one half (.1) point per second over

4.2 All competing personnel shall remain within the competition area and be judged in all captions for a minimum of four (4) minutes.

Penalty: one half (.1) point per second under

4.3 All captions will be judged for the maximum performance time or until the ensemble ceases playing or leaves the floor, whichever comes first. Timing and penalty will continue until performers and equipment are off of the floor.

4.4 Ensembles competing at CDA Regional Contests cannot be required to perform before the time set in the latest schedule for the contest, distributed by the CDA Office.

4.5 Any equipment or props may be placed within the competition area by anyone prior to the start of competition. Before the performance begins, all non-performing personnel must be off of the competition area. (Adults are not permitted to stay in the competition area during a performance. Concert class conductor is exempt)

Penalty: fifteen (10) points

4.6 During a performance, adult or non-performing student personnel may not coach, cue, etc. any performing members competing in Intermediate, Premier, or Alumni Class. (Concert Class – a single conductor is exempt)

Penalty: ten (10) points

4.7 Performance time begins with the first note/sound or step following the MC introduction.

4.8 Competing ensembles may not perform, warm up, or play recordings before or during the introduction. Brief sound system checks are acceptable.

Penalty: fifteen (15) points

4.9 Ensembles may enter and exit the performance area from any side or direction as needed. The overall time of each ensemble will begin when the first person steps onto the performance area, and ceases when the last person steps off the performance area.


CDA competing ensemble registrations are available online at

Ensembles must submit either PayPal or a cheque, with the registration form for your registration to be complete. The registration fee is $100 per ensemble for a single competitive season.


CDA competition registrations are available online at for the upcoming competitive season (January – May). The competition fee is $100 per ensemble for each competition.

Ensembles must submit either PayPal or a cheque with the registration form for your registration to be complete.

5.0 The competition entry deadline is the Friday, two weeks prior to the show date for all competitions. The contest order is done alphabetically by class. The Ontario Provincial Championships ordered is by class and highest regional score.

5.1 Units who do not have a CDA Regional within 400 kilometres of their place of origin will be allowed participation in CDA Provincial Championships without meeting the requirement of attending one CDA Regional first. (Ontario & Quebec only)

5.2 If for some reason an ensemble cannot attend one of the competitions then they must notify the CDA in writing as soon as you are aware of it. All entry fees are non-transferable and non-refundable.

5.3 The hosting ensemble(s) do not have to pay a completion fee for the event that they are hosting.

5.4 As part of a partnership with the FAMQ/Arts en Movement, Quebecois ensembles of the FAMQ in good standing do not pay a membership fee to the CDA, and in turn – the CDA member ensembles to FAMQ. All competition fees still apply.


6.0 CDA will provide three (3) adjudicators for each competition: Execution Analysis (EA), Music Effect (ME), Visual (V). A Timing and Penalties Officer (TPO) will also be provided at each competition.

6.1 All adjudicators will evaluate all performers if possible. (dancers etc)

6.2 An ensemble may perform short segments of their show without the use of the “drumline”. Prolonged and/or repetitive absences will negatively affect the score.

6.3 The CDA will provide competing ensembles with a copy of their own adjudication sheets after each contest. Scores and recaps will be posted online at the convenience of the CDA.

6.4 The EA judge may position themselves low in the stands, or move throughout the performance area at their own discretion. The ME and V judges will be positioned as high as possible in the stands.

6.5 It is the responsibility of the Judges to rank the competing ensembles; as such, the Judges may not give identical scores in any caption to multiple ensembles competing in the same class.

6.6 The EA or ME Judge may not grant a score of “20”, or a V Judge grant a score of “10” in any caption to an ensemble who is not the final one to perform in their classification, as this may predetermine the outcome of a competition.

6.7 All judges must sign an instruction & composition disclosure form and may not adjudicate an ensemble listed on the form.


7.0 Adjudicators will be available for a brief critique after each regional contest. There is no critique after the Provincial Championships.

7.1 A critique schedule will be posted prior to each competition, allowing each ensembles staff a five (5) minute session with each of the adjudicators

7.2 Critique is an opportunity for competing ensembles staff to speak personally with adjudicators to gather insight into possible future improvements to their own ensembles scores. Staff may not inquire into the scores of other ensembles during critique.

7.3 Staff may not belittle or verbally attack an adjudicator at any time.

7.4 Staff must allow the critique session of a different ensemble to finish before they may engage a judge.

7.5 Staff have the right to digitally contact the Chief Judge Mr. Jack Broumpton ( if they require further clarification of scores or penalties.

7.6 The Chief Judge may contact the collective CDA board members at his/her discretion if he/she requires further assistance in a decision.

7.7 An adjudicator may end a critique session with an ensemble if the ensemble fails to comply with critique regulations.

7.8 Each ensemble may have a maximum of three (3) staff members attend a critique session.

7.9 Performers are not admitted to a critique session with the exception of the Alumni Classes.

7.11 Failure to comply with any critique regulation may result in future critique disqualification or membership ejection at the discretion of the Chief Judge.


8.0 The Tabulation program will combine the scores of the three (3) adjudicators for a “final score” total out of one hundred (100). Execution Analysis is worth forty percent (40%) of the final score. Musical Effect is worth forty percent (40%) of the final score. Visual is worth twenty percent (20%) of the final score.

8.1 Penalty deductions will be removed from the final scores.