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

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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

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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!

Two Brazilian Steel Dances by Ney Rosauro

Ney Rosauro is a Brazilian percussionist and composer who has written a lot of great percussion music. I first learned about his music when I played his Marimba Concerto No. 1 on my senior recital. This is a new piece for steel drum band that was commissioned and premiered by Dr. John Wooton and the SMU Steel Band.

For more information about the piece, visit Ney Rosauro’s website.

Percussion Education Reads 3/6/16

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It’s March and that means only 293 days until Christmas and for students in the US, Spring Break is right around the corner. How’s your semester going so far? How’s your progress on your goals? Keep up the good work. Here are some articles to check out. Have a great week!

432 Hz So Good? by Milton Mermikides

Adequate Learning Vs Overlearning: How Many Repetitions Is Enough? by Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.

The 25 Best Coffee Shops in America by Tucker Bowe

On saying “no” by Seth Godin

What Happens to Music Majors After They Graduate College? by Bill Zuckerman

Coming Home by Steve Gisby

Coming Home (2010) by Steve Gisby

Performed by the CSULB Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Dave Gerhart. Fourth International Conference on Minimalist Music, California State University at Long Beach – October, 2013. Performers: Kevin Brown, Tyler Hunt, Michael King, Kevin Sakamoto, Dave Gerhart

You can download the score on SteveGisby.com.

Marimba Mallet Wrapping 101

Have you ever needed the perfect mallet for that particular piece? There are so many mallets available from Innovative Percussion, Vic Firth, Mike Balter (and more manufacturers) the you can buy the exact mallet that you need. But what if you are on a budget and wanted to make some mallets? Before all of these great companies, this used to be the norm. I remember many nights in college trying to learn how to wrap mallets. There are many different techniques involved in wrapping mallets. I have compiled some of the best videos on YouTube regarding mallet wrapping. Go out there and wrap some mallets.

How to Make Marimba/Vibe Mallets – Sam Oss

Drummer Talk’s Guide to Wrapping Mallets – Dave Kropf

Mallet Wrapping

Percussion Education Reads 2/21/16

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The semester is in full swing and things are going well. How are you doing? What are you practicing? Keep us posted on any new repertoire or things to check out. Here are some articles we have been reading this week.

Timeboxing: Maximizing Your Productivity by the Mind Tools Editorial Team

20 Reasons Why You Should Use A Metronome by Eric Barfield

Ensemble Chemistry: Why Do We “Click” with Some of Our Colleagues and Not with Others? by Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.

6 things you should know about recording with a percussion ensemble by Paolo Parolini

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