Percy Graniger Quote


“I firmly believe that music will someday become a “universal language.” But it will not become so as long as our musical vision is limited to the output of four European countries between 1700 and 1900. The first step in the right direction is to view the music of all peoples and periods without prejudice of any kind, and to strive to put the world’s known and available best music into circulation. Only then shall we be justified in calling music a “universal language.”

Percy Graniger (June 20, 1933)

Thanks to Chal Ragsdale for sharing this quote with me.

Ali Dembele & Petit Adama

YouTube is an amazing resource for world music. Here’s a great example of some of the videos I have been watching lately. Amazing Balafon music from Africa. What have you been watching? Leave a comment below.

Percussion Education Reads 2016 Graduation Edition


It is graduation time and all over the US, college and university students are walking down the aisle and moving on to grad schools, internships and other opportunities that are waiting for them. For some, this is also a time of uncertainty while they figure out the next step. Being a musician/artist is difficult. Not kind of difficult or even a little difficult, EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. I recently watched a video GaryVee posted on YouTube (What to do After College) where he talks about taking the next 5 years of your life to build your career path. It is all about the hustle! That means turn off Netflix/YouTube/SnapChat and make every minute count. Below are some other sources of inspiration. I hope you find them enriching as you grow and continue down your path. Good luck and please feel free to leave a comment if I can ever do anything for you. (more…)

On Student Attendance at Faculty Performances


By Tracy Wiggins

Music students of the world: Your teachers spend more of their lives than you can imagine right now perfecting their crafts. They have studied their instruments and repertoire. They have spent hours in the practice room and performance halls. Then, they become YOUR teacher. They spend endless amounts of time teaching you, advising you, counseling you and more, all while continuing to work to still improve their own craft. They go to your rehearsals, your coachings, your concerts, your recitals and more to support you. Our teachers become some of the most important figures in our lives, and you, the students, become some of the most important figures in your teachers lives. (more…)

Being a Good Colleague

I am always looking for great posts and I was so happy when I read this post and Steve allowed me to repost it on this site. The advice in this post is valuable for any musician no matter the genre or level of the performer. Please share it with your students, colleagues and fellow musicians.


Being a Good Colleague – A guide to getting the hang of “the hang” for newly graduated music students.

By Steve Trapani

As another year comes to a close at CSU, Long Beach (this was my 10th) I find myself thinking about what is next for all of the recently graduated music majors from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, as well as those from all of the other music schools across the country. Much has been written on the subject of improving as a musician, but not much gets put out there on the subject of interacting with your colleagues once you start working in the business. To be sure, the vast majority of your time as a young musician needs to be spent in the practice room perfecting the craft of your chosen instrument. However, I believe it’s also important to have some guidelines to help navigate the incredibly complicated social world of the professional musician. (more…)

Percussion Education Reads 5/6/16


Has it really been two months since my last Percussion Education Reads? Wow. It has been a really busy couple of months. I have been playing Passageways by Baljinder Sekhon in Minnesota, Indianapolis and Kentucky. I have been on a lot of planes and I have been reading a lot of articles. Enjoy and I will promise to post more in the coming months.

Let The Head Of TED Show You How To End Your Speech With Power by Chris Anderson

Prioritize Your Tasks by Motivation Instead of Time With Activity Blocks by Patrick Allan

Rhythmicity: The Importance of Practicing Tricky Passages in Rhythm by Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.

From Resume Lies to Lessons From Harvard: This Week’s Top Leadership Stories by Fast Company Staff

Percussion in the Musical Theater

One of my favorite gigs has always been playing musicals. I’ll never forget my first musical at Solano Community College when I was a junior in high school. I played a musical called Shenandoah and since then, I have been fortunate to play a good number of musicals. The level of complexity has sure increased over the years and the above video is a perfect example of what is expected of the percussionist in a musical.

As I was researching this post, I found numerous videos on YouTube featuring percussionists playing and talking about their set-ups. Dave Roth also has a great website where he features photos of his set-ups and lists of the instruments used. Here’s his set-up for Neverland. Thanks to Troy Wollwage for sending the link to Dave’s website.

California PAS Solo & Ensemble Festival Results


The California Percussive Arts Chapter hosted the 4th annual Percussive Arts Society Competitive Festival on Friday, April 29th, 2016. The Competition was held at the Fresno State Music Building and percussionists competed in the following categories: solo marimba, solo timpani, solo concert snare, and chamber percussion ensemble.

Congratulations to everyone who participated. The complete list of winners will be listed on the California PAS website. I was fortunate to serve as a judge for the ensemble competition. The winning ensembles were:

High School Percussion Ensemble
1st Place: Central High School
2nd Place: Clovis North High School “A”
3rd Place: Clovis High School “A”

College Percussion Ensemble
1st Place: California State University Long Beach
2nd Place: California State University Fresno

Suite for Marimba by Mark Alan Taggart


It is hard to believe that 20 years ago, Mark Ford, Director of Percussion at University of North Texas, released his CD Polaris. I remember listening to Polaris and Suite for Marimba as a student and unfortunately, the music for Suite was not available. Earlier this year, Mark Alan Taggart made the piece available as a free download on Mark Ford’s website. Check it out and add it to your next recital. As always, if you play the piece, be sure to send a program to Mark Alan Taggart. It is a great piece and more people need to hear it. Be the first one to put a recording on YouTube!

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