Pick the Right Drumsticks and Mallets

A percussionist’s gig bag brims with sticks, mallets, brushes, keys, heads and tape. When choosing the implements to include in their arsenal, drummers have important factors to consider.

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  73 Hits
73 Hits

10 Tips to Start a Middle School Drumline

Middle school band is often where students begin their musical journey. It is a time when the three basic elements of music — rhythm, melody and harmony — begin to take shape and make sense to students. 

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  1004 Hits
1004 Hits

Deconstructing Mallets: Find the Best Mallets for Your Percussion Section

Once upon a time, mallet choices were limited. The hardness of a mallet was the most dramatic way to change the sound of an instrument. Today, a variety of percussion implements are available, which has complicated the selection process.

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  2333 Hits
2333 Hits

Setting Up Jazz Figures on the Drum Set

How do you treat figures on the drum chart in big band and small group jazz?

I want to provide some clarity for those of you who are jazz band educators who do not play the drum set. I also want to help folks who are interested in applying their drum set skills to big band or small group jazz playing.

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  3224 Hits
3224 Hits

Timpani Maintenance: Three Common Problems and How to Fix Them

The percussion family consists of vast number of instruments. In a standard music room, there will be timpani, marimbas, xylophones, bells, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, tambourines, triangles and much more. All require regular care and maintenance. In this blog post, we'll talk about one of the most difficult percussion instruments to maintain: Timpani.

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  1591 Hits
1591 Hits

Free Yamaha Mallet Resource Guide

We created the Yamaha Mallet Resource Guide to act as an effective supplement to any classroom method book. Music educators can use the guide's exercises, scales and études to help students learn more about mallet percussion and develop their knowledge and musicality.

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  1339 Hits
1339 Hits

Reflections on Being Colleagues and Friends -- Eric Shin and Jauvon Gilliam

In Jauvon Gilliam and Eric Shin: Performers, Teachers and Entrepreneurs, we outlined how percussionists Jauvon Gilliam and Eric Shin balance teaching at the University of Maryland School of Music, performing as principals in the National Symphony Orchestra and running their own businesses. 

We asked them to share their thoughts on each other as colleagues and friends. 

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  1255 Hits
1255 Hits

Case Study: Summer Percussion Camp in Fort Worth

You can feel the enthusiasm and hear the reverberating sound of music and movement. Every summer, 75 high school students in Fort Worth, Texas, can hone their percussion skills at one of the most opulent places in the city, the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall.

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  2075 Hits
2075 Hits

Jauvon Gilliam and Eric Shin: Performers, Teachers and Entrepreneurs

Jauvon Gilliam and Eric Shin aren't well acquainted with the oft-repeated saying, "When one door closes, another opens."  For this powerhouse percussion duo, opportunity repeatedly knocks, and doors keep opening wide.

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  1783 Hits
1783 Hits

How to Change Timpani Drum Heads

Timpani heads do not need to be changed very often – we recommend every 1 to 2 years – but it's still important for band directors to know how to change them. Unfortunately, many directors don't know how or think it's too difficult. Yes, changing drum heads on timpani is more involved than it is for tom or snare drums, but anyone can do it. Here's how.

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  1905 Hits
1905 Hits

How to Choose the Right Mallet

Imagine that it's a new school year, a new band/ensemble season, and the percussionist arrives to rehearsal to see what music is in store for the first concert. Alongside the percussionist is a mallet bag, and inside are his or her tools. When opened, the bag looks like a beautiful and colorful bouquet worthy of a centerpiece!

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  16066 Hits
16066 Hits

Teaching Musicality to Percussionists

As an educator, I have never understood why young percussionists are not taught more about musicality. My wife is a flute teacher, and she teaches musicality to kids in sixth grade. Why is it that percussionists get to college and still do not know the basics about shaping a line?

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  1398 Hits
1398 Hits

10 Things to Know When Buying Front Ensemble Equipment

Good things come in waves. After a few years at a new high school, your marching band is going great. The booster program is very active and has been raising money. It's going so well that your new plans include purchasing a front ensemble.

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  3888 Hits
3888 Hits

Build Teamwork with Drum Circles

On the first day of school, new students may come to band class and sit timidly, not making eye contact with others. If the teacher facilitates a drum circle, then by the end of class, everyone will be smiling, chatting and bubbling with excitement.

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  2984 Hits
2984 Hits

Pablo Rieppi and the Art of Practicing

In the blog post, Pablo Rieppi's Passion for Percussion, we learned of Rieppi's nearly nonstop practicing regimen through his college days. To keep daily practice from becoming tedious, Rieppi recommends the following:

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  1914 Hits
1914 Hits

Pablo Rieppi’s Passion for Percussion

World-renowned percussionist Pablo Rieppi decided to teach himself to play drums as a junior in high school. Little did he know that a year later, he would decide to pursue music professionally when the rock band he formed with his friends won a local battle-of-the-bands competition.  

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  1774 Hits
1774 Hits

Add These 3 Exercises to Your Percussion Practice Sessions

As a percussionist, there are three things that we should always work on — reading, rolls and ear/listening. I know it is naive to believe that these are the only things to work on, but if you can continue to improve in these areas, you will be more prepared for the future. 

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  1732 Hits
1732 Hits

Off-Season Care and Maintenance for Percussion Instruments

After a long season of percussion activities, it's time for a much-needed break. Of course, this includes your percussion equipment. Every ensemble can (and should) be proactive in protecting its equipment. Your gear has taken a lot of stress and strain, but the good news is that keeping your equipment in top competitive shape for next season is a matter of following these four steps. 

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  2353 Hits
2353 Hits

What To Do When Marching Drums Get Wet

At some point during the school year, it's likely that your high school or college drumline will get caught in the rain during a football game, parade or rehearsal. Your marching band drums are made of wood and metal — two materials that water wreaks havoc on. When your drums get wet, you must take the time to service your drumline in order to get them ready to go before the next rehearsal or performance. 

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  2767 Hits
2767 Hits

Percussionist Julie Hill Brings the World Home

As a child in the small town of Martin, Tennessee, Dr. Julie Hill dreamed of traveling the world. She befriended international and exchange students, listened to world music and took an interest in things that differed from her everyday life.

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  1650 Hits
1650 Hits

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