Episode 026: Composing using the Rudiments

I am a strong believer that we can and should all try to compose music. Composing is a skill that can be learned. Over time you continue to develop this skill with regular practice. (Sound familiar?) There are a lot of great resources on the internet, including The Art of Composing which includes articles, blog posts and a podcast about composing.

So how can you get started? The first place I recommend is to start with the snare drum rudiments. I have used this process with my middle school students as well as my college students in my percussion methods course. Here’s a step-by-step process to help you compose a new piece for snare drum.

Step 1 – To start with, you will need to download the 40 PAS Standard American Rudiments: Page 1 and Page 2. Over the past 25 episodes, I have introduced some of the rudiments as well as snare drum techniques. If you need to review any of the rudiments, use these videos to help.

Step 2 – In the video above, I introduced the first 3 measures of a new piece. You can download the piece here: Etude 1.

Step 3 – Watch the video and start composing. I wrote out the first three measures on the PDF. There are 19 measures left for you to fill out.

Don’t worry about sounding good. Just write. You can always edit (as long as you use a pencil). Write out a couple of measures and then play it back. Listen to what you have just played. You can even record yourself.

Do you like what you wrote? If not, erase and write something else. If so, keep going. “Do or Do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

When you have written something, send me a PDF. I would love to check out your pieces.

Mourning Dove Sonnet by Christopher Deane

I have featured Christopher Deane before on PercussionEducation.com with his tambourine master classes. He is also a great composer and has written a lot of solo and ensemble music for percussion. Today’s video features Doug Perry performing Mourning Dove Sonnet. According to Mr. Deane, “Mourning Dove Sonnet was composed as a concert vibraphone solo in which the musical material was focused on an integration of traditional and non-traditional performance techniques. It is, in it’s essence, a wordless art song for vibraphone. This piece contains a literal transcription of a Mourning Dove song. Mourning Dove Sonnet was written in Greenville, NC and was first performed by the composer at the 1983 North Carolina Percussive Arts Society chapter Day of Percussion.” (more…)


Michael Spiro

With PASIC being right around the corner, I wanted to share some videos from past conventions to show you some examples of the clinics that are presented. Today’s video features Michael Spiro, one the foremost educators of Afro-Cuban/Afo-Brazilian music in the United States. He currently is on the faculty at Indiana University, has recorded and performed on over 100 albums and has produced educational materials for Warner Bros. Publications. (more…)

Percussion Education Weekly Reads 10/19/14


PASIC is just around the corner! If you have never been to PASIC, it is definitely something to consider in the future. PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention) is the largest percussion event in the world featuring over 120 concerts, clinics, master classes, labs, workshops, panels and presentations. The finest artists from all over the world are invited to present and perform at PASIC. The program showcases all areas of percussion, including: drumset, marching, keyboard, symphonic, world, recreational, education, music technology, new music, and health & wellness. This year, PASIC will occur in Indianapolis on November 19-22, 2014. Have a great week and hope see some of you at PASIC. (more…)

Delécluse Etudes for Snare Drum

Rob Knopper, percussionist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, is in the middle of his 12 Days of Delécluse. If you are not familiar with Jacques Delecluse’s 12 Etudes for Snare Drum, head out to our friends at Steve Weiss Music and buy yourself a copy of this seminal book for snare drum. There are a couple of books every percussionists should own and this should be one of them. (Other standard snare books include Stick Control, Anthony Cirone’s Portraits in Rhythm and Mitchell Peter’s Intermediate Snare Drum Studies to name a few.) (more…)

Sambass Groove by Christiano Galvão

Today’s video features Brazilian drummer Christiano Gavalão runs through a Sambass Groove as part of his Creative Brazilian Drumming Series. There are so many good sources of information on the internet and I appreciate companies like Zildjian for posting these videos.

Percussion Education Weekly Reads 10/12/14


Thanks for your continued support of my new website. I am really enjoying my conversations and interactions with everyone. Please do me a favor and subscribe to my YouTube channel and sign up for the newsletter (in the right column of the blog). I appreciate it and thank you in advance. Here are the weekly reads for this week. Please make sure to leave links to what you have been reading below in the comments. (more…)

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