Buzz Control to Roll Control

Pedagogy, Snare Drum

There are many schools of thought on the proper way to play a snare drum roll. I play with a controlled bounce every time. For march-like tempos, my roll base is 16th-notes. I use three bounces on each 16th-note as…


Methods Band Observation


Each semester, I require my Percussion Methods students to attend a variety of rehearsals and sit within the percussion sections. It’s important these students get an up-close look into the job of a percussionist. What better way to learn than…


Must-Haves for the Percussion Library


There are hundreds of books available for a variety of percussion related topics. They teach us to write, play, hear, and talk about percussion at a higher level. However, not every program can afford all of the available resources. Not…


Don’t Be a Square


During an undergraduate lesson on Andy Bliss’ “Disc Skip,” I had a freshman student perform the piece as stiff as a rail. No movement. He stood there. It looked as though he was either scared of the piece, afraid to…


Small Doses

Pedagogy, Philosophy

Relax. It’s just drums. Why are you shaking when you play? Why is your brain all over the place? You love music. It’s why you made it your career. Obviously you don’t hate it or you wouldn’t be doing it….


We’re All Human

Pedagogy, Philosophy

During a rehearsal today getting ready for our showcase performance at PASIC 2014, a couple of the guys were discussing their struggles with the piece. One mentioned how difficult it was to finally put all the gestural licks together in…


Nice Surprises

Pedagogy, Philosophy

Yesterday, we held (blind) undergraduate auditions for ensemble placements. As usual, the music was given out a month or so prior to the audition. The music is posted as a .pdf on the School of Music webpage and we have…


What Teaching Really Is…

Pedagogy, Philosophy

NURTURER: That’s what I am. Be patient and create a successful environment. A studio that practices together succeeds together. Practicing in close quarters allows for human contact. We can ask each other interpretation questions- perform for each other. This dialogue is…


Feeling Words

Pedagogy, Philosophy

From Marshall B. Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion. Encinias, CA: PuddleDancer Press, 1999, pp. 44-46 “Building a Vocabulary for Feelings” How we are likely to feel when our needs are being met: absorbed adventurous affectionate alert alive amazed…