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"Headchopper" routine by high school trombone players steals spotlight
Woah! I actually have never seen anything quite like this before.
Jenny Brown
06.25.22

Liberty High School band posted a video on YouTube that has now earned them nearly one million views. But…it’s technically not the trombones that make the video.

And while you might imagine that it involves some talented trombone playing, the video is less than 2 minutes long and doesn’t involve a single note emanating from a trombone.

YouTube - tekn0lust
Source:
YouTube - tekn0lust

So what’s the deal?

Hyping up the crowd

While we’re sure they’re all talented musicians, this particular routine was designed to hype up the crowd with choreography.

In fact, the only band members playing their instruments are the percussionists.

As the drumline neatly bangs away, the trombonists perform what’s known as a “head-chopping” routine.

Headchoppers are a routine in which the trombones are used as props instead of musical instruments.

YouTube - tekn0lust
Source:
YouTube - tekn0lust

Liberty’s marching band has been posting these types of videos for years, and their trombone players are specially trained. But this is the first of their videos to go viral.

Performing a head-chopping routine involves a line of trombone players standing shoulder to shoulder, taking turns bending, squatting, and turning.

There’s a risk of bonking one another with a trombone if there’s even the slightest mistake on the part of a player, so it requires quite a bit of practice.

These routines have resulted in more than one bloody nose.

YouTube - tekn0lust
Source:
YouTube - tekn0lust

While some YouTube commenters complained that they wanted to hear the trombones play, that’s just not the point of this particular routine.

It’s meant to be visual.

One band member explained just how much camaraderie it involves in the comments:

“Hey I’m in this video! For anyone wondering we usually practice a couple times a week, and build off of the previous routines by adding a couple new moves. It’s really easy to learn to, as long as you practice with your hands first! Last game of the year we teach it to all the band seniors and cheerleaders and dance team.”

YouTube - Wingspan
Source:
YouTube - Wingspan

Getting Technical

You’ll have to watch the video below to get a true sense of what these routines are about, but the Everybody Wiki has a great description:

“Players typically stand almost shoulder to shoulder and take turns bending over from the waist or squatting, while standing players turn to the side with their instruments in the former headspace of the neighboring player. The band’s drumline keeps rhythmic cadence throughout.”

Now you can see why it’s called a “head-chopper.”

YouTube - Wingspan
Source:
YouTube - Wingspan

As you might imagine, this routine requires practice and trust.

The person standing next to you needs to be on their toes, so each band member is responsible for learning their routine, so no one gets hurt.

In some cases, the trombonists will perform such a routine blindfolded, adding to the difficulty level.

And there’s plenty of band jargon that goes along with this technique:

“Some other variations have the trombone players do 360s and lift their horn over their heads whilst jumping to face behind them. These are called “Brody’s” by China Spring High School because the first trombone player to practice these was named Brody.”

Texas trombone talent

Liberty High School is a public school located in Frisco, Texas, so we know they take their football seriously.

And that seems to apply to everyone from the quarterback to the brass section of the marching band.

But don’t be fooled by this routine; the trombone section is composed of genuinely talented players. They’re a double threat!

Clearly, you have to see the routine to appreciate this technique, so be sure to hit play below to see these talented teens in action!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Jenny Brown
hi@sbly.com
Jenny Brown is a senior writer at Shareably. She is based in San Francisco and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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