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 to immerse themselves in the trenches? This immersion is necessary. After all, most wind or string players never take the time or have the opportunity to just turn around and rehearsal and discover just what happens in a live and active percussion section.
To get the conversation rolling, I provide the students with a worksheet of questions. These questions get them thinking about tone, technique, logistics, the conductor’s interaction with the section, individual and ensemble performance responsibilities, setup/teardown, and others. Students even have the opportunity to “Ask the Expert” questions about things they observed in the rehearsal. I have altered this worksheet for orchestra, percussion ensemble, and drumline rehearsal observations.
Check out the worksheet here: