Canadian Drumline Association Regulations 2021 (condensed for online events)

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 twelve (12) 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

1.7 All drumlines wishing to participate in CDA events must become a “Registered Competing Ensemble”. If your organization has multiple units, each drumline must be registered with the CDA to compete.

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


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. Single tone, non-keyed horns (i.e. whistles, sirens, animal calls, etc.) may be used only if generating an effect and may not be used in any melodic form.

Penalty: ten (10) points per infraction

2.2 No single, triggered, electronic sound may produce rhythmic intent 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

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

2.7 No pyrotechnics, firearms (of any type), 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, motorized vehicles except for motorized wheelchairs used by disabled performers, use of glass objects that may break and/or leave shards of glass in the competition area, drones or any remote-controlled airborne 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

2.9 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 Open 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 Only a single camera, single take, “off-the-floor” performance will be adjudicated. All performers, instruments, speakers, props, cables, stands, and costumes must remain inside the on-screen area 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 “A Class” or “Open Class” in the 2021 season. 

3.1 All performers must be enrolled in secondary education or lower. Alumni ensembles may submit a video in exhibition to be included on our YouTube, and all our social media.

3.2 “A Class” ensembles perform “stand still”, and compete displaying “basic skills”. “Open Class” ensembles perform “stand still”, and compete displaying “Intermediate/Advanced skills”. 

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.


4.1 The video performance shall not exceed seven (7) minutes for all classes

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

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

Penalty: one tenth of a point (.1) per second under

4.3 All captions will be judged for the entirety of the video.


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.


5.0 The competition entry deadlines are:

  • Solos submission deadline Friday is February 19th 2021, 11:59 p.m. ET.
  • Prelims submission deadline is Friday April 9th 2021, 11:59 p.m. ET.
  • Finals submission date is Friday May 28th 2021, 11:59 p.m. ET.

5.1 The competition results will be posted:

  • Solos results published Monday March 8th 2021, noon. ET.
  • Prelims results published Monday April 26th 2021, noon. ET.
  • Finals results published Monday June 14th 2021, noon. ET.

Winners will be posted on all CDA platforms.

5.2 Video submissions should be MP4 or .MOV format (most smartphones shoot in this format).


6.0 CDA will provide three (3) adjudicators for each competition: Execution Analysis (EA), Music Effect (ME), Visual (V). 

6.1 All adjudicators will evaluate all performers.

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 digital copy of their own adjudication sheets after each contest. Scores and recaps will be posted online on the dates indicated.

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 the form.


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.