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The Care & Feeding of Percussionists Sixth-Grade and Beyond Presented by John Pollard This presentation and all handouts available at:

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1 The Care & Feeding of Percussionists Sixth-Grade and Beyond Presented by John Pollard This presentation and all handouts available at: table55.com/percussion The Care & Feeding of Percussionists Sixth-Grade and Beyond Presented by John Pollard This presentation and all handouts available at: table55.com/percussion

2 About Me The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

3 1. Overview 2. Beginning Year 3. Grades Materials & Texts 5. Brainstorming The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

4 1. Overview The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

5 Meet My Friends Overview AllenLarryKelliJudd AllstateLoudnessKeyboard ? In Sixth-Grade all four showed great potential. All four received As on their tests. But SOMETHING happened on the way to 12 th grade… The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

6 Beginning curriculums in Texas often have a band director or hired instructor giving daily instruction to a homogeneous group of students. There are a number of common texts used which are useful for building fundamental skills on membranes, keyboards and common auxiliary instruments. While tactically sound for the first year, the strategy is to shift percussionists to wind-intensive heterogeneous bands in subsequent years. Although logical and necessary, this brings on significant change… Overview What Happened? The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

7 Following a year of focused daily activity in sixth-grade the now-seventh- graders are mixed with eighth-graders and relegated to the back of the room. It's possible they may be assigned nothing to do (beyond basic setup) during the long wind warm-up. Overview Additionally, middle school literature sees them counting rests much of the time. The SD/BD and timpani parts are not challenging in a physical way, auxiliary technique may not be monitored, in some cases alpha-players may take over "desirable parts" with a few "usual suspects" dubbed (permanent) bell players. Compared to their sixth-grade year where continual challenge and attention was given, seventh & eighth grade can be de-motivational. The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

8 Without a plan for repetition and improvement of daily fundamentals many students will undergo disinterest and loss of skill. In such situations the number of percussionists who show potential in the beginning year can dwarf the number who will cross the high school bridge and reach that potential. I've heard band directors say "This is a great beginner class!" and then ask "What happened?" two years later when many of those students lack the skill for a smooth transition into high school - or choose not to continue. When we remember that the number of beginning percussion candidates accepted each year is (logically) limited to a finite number it's clear that attrition has important implications beyond the middle-school years. Overview The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

9 For percussionists moving on to high school the path becomes more active, and involves several disciplines: Marching band (perform one instrument) All-Region tryouts (perform three instruments) Concert band (perform various instruments) Percussion ensemble (perform various instruments) These four genres require different skill sets and performance approaches. Often there will be a handful of incoming ninth-graders (those who took lessons or were motivated to improve) who clearly separate themselves from the others. This leaves a rift between top and bottom players. In such cases students may retreat to "specialize" on one thing they do well ("I am a snare drummer" or "I am a xylophone player") simply because they did not continue to improve in a balanced way. Overview The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

10 Marching Band Concert Band All-Region Perc Ensemble Solo Contest = One instrument = Various instruments = Three instruments = Various instruments Audition Director Need ? ? ? SD SKT Batt ST ST (DNA) ST S Pit K K (DNA) K K Pit Aux - - DisciplineSkill SetsHow Assigned?AllenLarryKelliJudd Overview The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

11 Marching Band Concert Band All-Region Perc Ensemble Solo Contest = One instrument = Various instruments = Three instruments = Various instruments Audition Director Need Student Need SD SKT Batt ST ST (DNA) ST S Pit K K (DNA) K Pit Aux - Aux - DisciplineSkill SetsHow Assigned?AllenLarryKelliJudd Overview Proficiencies on various instruments Compulsory X X X X The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

12 Plan for Success in Balanced Percussion I suggest the path to success for balanced percussionists, sixth-through-twelfth grade is coordinated vertical planning. This requires communication, cooperation and commitment from the instructors handling these students at every level. The lion's share of preparation can be done in the beginning year but there are actions and activities which must be undertaken in ensuing years to engender continued improvement and motivation in all of the fundamental disciplines: Membranes (rudimental snare, concert snare, timpani) keyboards (bells, xylophone, marimba, vibes) and auxiliary instruments (cymbals, tambourine, triangle, gong, etc.) This session identifies required proficiencies and explores strategies for the continued advancement of skills at each level. Overview The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

13 2. Beginning Year Side by Side Curriculum The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

14 Objective: Establish a daily routine which allows percussionists to play both of their primary instruments (snare and keyboard) every day. Have students line up in a semicircle. Half start on mallet instruments, the other half on practice pads. The metronome is turned on and they play completely through a set of daily warm ups: 12 major scale patterns for mallet players with 12 accompanying rudimental exercises for practice pads. [ Handout available at table55.com/percussion ] At 120 bpm this takes 8 minutes. After completing the sequence the players switch instruments and begin again. This routine makes it possible in under 20 minutes for beginners (and higher level students) to condition snare and keyboard skills each day. Beginning Year: Side by Side The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

15 Beginning Year: Side by Side The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

16 Beginning Year: Side by Side The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

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19 The Care & Feeding of Percussionists – John Pollard Beginning Year: Side by Side

20 The Care & Feeding of Percussionists – John Pollard Beginning Year: Side by Side Lets Try It!

21 Appeal for Instructors In 20 minutes every student has completed all 12 major scales on keyboard and rudimental fundamentals on practice pad. Beginners gain command of keyboard right away and avoid mallet phobia. Once learned, this procedure becomes student-driven: They may run the process with a metronome and minimal supervision. Timpani, Drum Set, World Percussion and other parts can be added for variety. When playing snare parts, the students listen to the melodic line and play with more musicality. Appeal for Students Mallet exercises gain credibility by being attached to cool drum parts. Students learn from the beginning to place equal weight on their importance. Students like to practice in duet - one playing keyboard, another the pad. The bottom line for gaining proficiency is that there is no substitute for time spent on the instrument. With this in mind it is crucial for the director to provide percussionists with the opportunity to establish a daily routine covering both disciplines they are expected to learn. The Care & Feeding of Percussionists – John Pollard Beginning Year: Side by Side

22 Available at: table55.com/percussion The Care & Feeding of Percussionists – John Pollard Beginning Year: Side by Side

23 Side by Side: Applying the Curriculum Week One: 20 minutes per day grip and stroke technique on practice pad. Learn Starting Line: Legato strokes for practice pad. 10 minutes per day learning/reviewing whole, half, quarter and eighth note counting skills. 10 minutes per day learning/reviewing notes in the treble clef. Week Two: 20 minutes per day applying stroke technique to mallet keyboard. Teach Starting Line: C Major Scale Pattern for keyboard. 10 minutes per day learning/reviewing whole, half, quarter and eighth note counting skills. 10 minutes per day reinforcing Starting Line: Legato Strokes on practice pad. Week Three: (or when students are comfortable with the Starting Line exercises on both pad and keyboard) Have half of the class set up pads and the other half set up keyboards. Turn on the metronome & have them play Starting Line together. When they finish, have them switch places and play again. This is the beginning of a long process of teaching all 12 exercises on pad and keyboard. In the following weeks, spend minutes a day instructing the next scale or pad exercise. Spend the remaining time on sight reading and reinforcing technique. Beginning Year: Side by Side The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

24 By Week 12 (November) Students should be through 6 scales and the first page of pad exercises. NOTE: Beginning with exercise #6 the teaching emphasis will shift from scale-intensive to pad- intensive. By this time the students know 6 scales and get the formula. They will learn the remaining 6 scales easily. Now it will be important to spend that minutes you were accustomed to spending on keyboard teaching the new stroke techniques on page 3 (multiple bounce, double stroke/bounce, accent-top, flam, etc.) Is it soup yet? My experience is that all exercises can be well-rehearsed and going at around 120 bpm by February, except velocity and flam exercises for pad - for some students these must go slower and take more time to develop. In terms of student achievement within this system it is clear that young hands develop much faster when students are playing both sets of exercises each day. Beginning Year: Side by Side The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

25 As the year continues... The Holiday Concert is a great opportunity to test students on their developing sight reading skills. Assign all students a keyboard part and score them on it. Select a few to perform the snare/bass/auxiliary parts (perhaps as a reward for best keyboard preparation). Band Contest / Spring Concert is another opportunity to test students on developing reading skills. Again, assign all students keyboard parts and reward those who prepare the best with solo snare, bass or auxiliary parts. Solo Contest is a great time to exercise students individual skills. I assign the entire class a keyboard solo and a snare solo. At the minimum, each student will take those 2 basic solos to contest. In many cases, I allow students to try for replacement solos of a higher caliber, or to supplement the 2 they are entering on with a timpani or multi-percussion solo (usually if they have the benefit of private lessons). Ensemble Contest or Concert: Get everyone involved. I prefer to keep it simple the first year to promote achievement for everyone. Solo contest is where individuals can shine. Select a piece you can be sure will be a hit with the students and with their friends and parents. Rock out in sixth grade…save the boring minimalist sensitivity ensembles for later! Proficiency Instruction on timpani, bass drum, cymbals and auxiliaries can be scheduled at any time, especially once the exercises are learned and occupy only 20 minutes of class time. Beginning Year: Side by Side The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

26 Break Time

27 Sight-Reading Solos and Ensemble Proficiencies 2. Beginning Year The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

28 Notes on Keyboard Sight-reading Unlike musicians who can feel their instrument in their hands, sight-reading on keyboard percussion is kinesthetic, as the mallets are an extension of the players hands. The player must therefore develop a blind sense for where the bars are. This sense must be developed further for different instrument sizes and varying sizes of bars between octaves. Sight-reading on mallets is one of the hardest things a percussionist must do, but it is essential in many student and professional situations. It is important to insist that players keep their eyes on the page. Dont allow them to stop when mistakes are made. The rule is dont look down, but I allow them to look down once a measure at first, then once every two measures, once every line, etc... Less as time goes on. Tell your percussionists 1. Dont take your eyes off the music. 2. Keep going even if mistakes are made. 3. Look ahead. (especially while playing simple parts, rests or long rolls) 4. Look for logic in the music. (scale patterns, predictable interval skips and arpeggios). The bottom line... There is no substitute for time spent on the instrument. Beginning Year The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

29 Beginning Year The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

30 Beginning Year The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

31 Beginning Year The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

32 Beginning Year Available at: table55.com/percussion The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

33 Solos and Ensemble The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

34 Beginning Year Available at: table55.com/percussion The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

35 Beginning Year Available at: table55.com/percussion The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

36 Timpani, Bass Drum & Cymbal Proficiencies The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

37 Beginning Year The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

38 Balance All percussion performance is soloistic in nature, from the timpanist to the xylophone player who is heard above the winds. Each percussionist in concert band plays the same role as a piccolo or english horn player; one person on a part. It is crucial that percussionists develop solo confidence on all instruments used in the curriculum (auxiliaries included). This is especially true on keyboard instruments, where an audible melodic line is produced. After all, listeners may never realize the snare drummer missed a flam, but everyone will know when the xylophone player failed to observe a key signature. Consistency The most important element in applying this curriculum is consistency. Developing percussionists need to play both membranes and mallet keyboards every day. Students need to learn sight reading, but must also feel a sense of comfort with the instrument. Students tend to practice what they are comfortable-with and good-at. As they gain confidence and ability they seek out new challenges and become self-motivated. But it is up to the director to begin the process. Repetition Like wax-on, wax-off, the fundamental establishment of this curriculum can seem painstakingly repetitive (to both students and instructors) but like wax-on, wax-off, repetition is the only way to build balance and confidence. Beginning Year The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

39 3. Grades 7-12 Build on a successful beginning year by assigning and monitoring proficiency The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

40 Grades 7-12 The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

41 Grades 7-12 Available at: table55.com/percussion The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

42 What Will This Require? 10 listenings per student in grades 7-12 (some of these you would have done anyway). Music preparation, preferably by a percussion coordinator and – most of all – reminders, help and encouragement on the side for your developing percussionists. Customize Proficiency Requirements by Ability Level Not all students will be able to command the region snare, keyboard and timpani pieces, but all students can command some portion of them. Whether you make intelligent cuts or develop your own excerpts every percussionist in grades should be required to pass the same number/named proficiencies. It Gets Easier as you Go After the first year these proficiencies will simply be an expectation. In fact, the seventh-graders and beyond will only have to pass off half the number of proficiencies from their sixth-grade year. Grades 7-12 The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

43 4. Materials & Texts Make your life easier The Care & Feeding of Percussionists – John Pollard

44 Student-Owned Materials I donʼt require percussionists to purchase cymbals, a marimba or a set of timpani - but I do expect them to have the implements necessary to play these and other highly sensitive instruments. It will be necessary to maintain and replace items over the years. I suggest that each percussionist mark all equipment so that he/she may easily identify it as his/hers. A strip of colored PVC (vinyl) tape around each mallet shaft is a good way to do this. The percussion-specific items are available at local music stores. There may also be large internet sellers who offer attractive pricing. The Care & Feeding of Percussionists – John Pollard Materials & Texts

45 ALL STUDENTS: REQUIRED SUPPLIES Pencils Good pencils with erasers each day 3-Ring binder Black Plastic sheet protectors Have at least 24 - to protect pages in binder Black Hand Towel To use with trap stand ALL STUDENTS: REQUIRED PERCUSSION MATERIALS Stick Bag or Case Vic Firth SBAG2, Yamaha Bag or Vic Firth Stick Case Metronome Small Seiko Metronome Wood-Tip Drum Sticks Vic Firth SD1 General Med Bell/Xylo MalletsVic Firth M133 Hard Bell/Xylo Mallets Vic Firth M Med Mar/Vibe Mallets 2 Pairs of Vic Firth M163 or Malletech DS18 Medium Timpani Mallets Vic Firth GEN 5 Drum Key Any brand Pitch Pipe Kratt pitch pipe for tuning timpani ALL STUDENTS: REQUIRED TEXTBOOKS Solo Collection: "Shazam!" - By John Pollard Snare Text: The Rudimental Cookbook - By Edward Freytag The Care & Feeding of Percussionists – John Pollard Materials & Texts

46 GRADES 9-12: REQUIRED PERCUSSION MATERIALS Nylon-Tip Drum Sticks Vic Firth American Classic 5A Nylon Triangle Beaters (lt/md/hard) Yamaha set of 3 (or make your own) Triangle Clip Yamaha The Clipper (or make your own) 4 Soft Marimba/Vibe Mallets 2 Pairs of Vic Firth M161 or Malletech DF16 Hard Timpani Mallets Vic Firth GEN 3 GRADES 10-12: REQUIRED TEXTBOOKS Keyboard Text (2 Mallet): Modern School For Marimba... - By Morris Goldenberg Keyboard Text (4 Mallet): "The Solo Marimbist" - By Pimentel and Moore Auxiliary Text: Techniques of Playing BD, Cymbals and Accessories" - By Al Payson OPTIONAL: SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS (recommended for serious, advancing percussionists) Marching Snare Sticks Vic Firth, Ralph Hardimons, Nylon-Tips Light Concert Snare Sticks Vic Firth, Tom Gauger TG16 Heavy Concert Snare Sticks Vic Firth, Tom Gauger TG17 Hard Vibe Mallets Vic Firth M23 or Innovative Percussion RFS 420 Soft (bass end) Mar Mallets Yamaha MV-8080 Heavy Timpani Mallets Vic Firth ET5 Wood Drum Set Brushes Vic Firth Brushes or Vic Firth Jazz Rakes Tambourine Black Swamp - Double Row, Berillium Copper Triangle Able 6 or Grover 8 The Care & Feeding of Percussionists – John Pollard Materials & Texts Available at: table55.com/percussion

47 Recommended Percussion Texts The following are studies which I recommend to serious percussionists to supplement the education they receive in school. These books are best used for practice and private lesson material. JH-HS indicates Junior High-High School level material HS-C indicates High School-College level material. Snare Drum StudiesKeyboard Percussion Studies Albright - Contemporary Studies, HS-CCirone - Portraits In Melody, HS-C Beck - Flams, Riffs & Rolls, ALLEyles - Mallet Studies For Young Beginners, EL-JH Cirone - Portraits In Rhythm, JH-HSFriedman - Vibraphone Technique, HS-C Firth - The Solo Snare Drummer, JH-HSGoldenberg - Modern School For Xylophone..., ALL Podemski - Podemski's Standard Snare Drum Method, JH-HSGreen - Instruction Course For Xylophone, JH-HS Peters - Advanced Snare Drum Studies, JH-HSMcMillan - Masterpieces For Marimba, HS-C Sternberg - Modern Drum Studies, HS-CSchinstine - Southern Special Marimba Solos, El- JHStoutamire/Henderson - Duets For All, EL-JHStevens - Method of Movement for Marimba, HS-C Stone - Stick Control, ALLWessels - A Fresh Approach to Mallet Perc, EL-JH Wessels - A Fresh Approach to Snare Drum, EL-JHWhaley - Fundamental Studies For Mallets, EL-JH Whaley - Intermediate Duets For Snare Drum, EL-JHWhaley - Musical Studies For Int Mall Player, JH-HS Whaley - Musical Studies For The Int Snare Drummer, EL-JHBrown - Mallets In Mind, HS-C Whaley - Solos And Duets For Snare Drum, JH-HS Whaley - Recital Solos For Snare Drum, HS-C The Care & Feeding of Percussionists – John Pollard Materials & Texts

48 Recommended Percussion Texts Timpani Studies Accessories Carter - Eight Pieces For Timpani, HS-C Payson - Techniq Of Playing BD, Cym & Access, ALL Cirone - Portraits For Timpani, HS-C Fink - Timpani Tuning Exercises, ALL Firth - The Solo Timpanist, HS-C Friese/Lepak - Tuning Exercises, ALL Improvisation Hochrainer - Etuden Fur Timpani, JH-HS Tranchina - Mixed Modal Apprch To Cont Imp,HS-C McMillan - Basic Tympani Technique, EL-JH Schinstine - Tymp Tunes, EL-JH Whaley - Solos And Duets For Timpani, JH-HS Whaley - Musical Studies For The Int Timpanist, JH-HS Drum Set Rudimental Cerabino - Drum Set Essentials Davila - Contemp Rudimental Studies & Solos, ALL Cerabino - Latin Beats Davila - Modern Multi-Tenor Techniques, HS-C Chaffee - Volume III Freytag - The Rudimental Cookbook, ALL Chester - The New Breed Hernandez - Beats, EL-JH Dahlgreen - Drum Set Control Varner - Challenging Horizons, HS-C Davis - Masters Of Time Davis - Tapes For Drummers: Be-Bop Hammond - Drum Set Reading Workbook Houghton - Studio 10 And Big Band Drumming Solos for Snare, Keyboard, Timp & Multi Humphrey - Even In The Odds Pickering - Studio/Jazz Drumming Cookbook Pollard - Shazam!, JH-HS Prins - Hi Hat Integration Reed - Melodic Line Exercises Soph - Essential Techniques The Care & Feeding of Percussionists – John Pollard Materials & Texts Available at: table55.com/percussion

49 Conclusion The bottom line for gaining proficiency is that there is no substitute for time spent on the instrument. With this in mind responsible teachers will plan and provide percussionists with regular instruction and assessment of disciplines in which they are expected to be proficient. Questions?

50 5. Brainstorming The Care & Feeding of Percussionists - John Pollard

51 Thank You! John Pollard This presentation and all handouts available at: table55.com/percussion Thank You! John Pollard This presentation and all handouts available at: table55.com/percussion


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