Ensemble Rehearsal Considerations


Ten Things I Wish I Knew Going into my First Ensemble Rehearsal (better known as “Ten Things All My Students Better Know At Their First Ensemble Rehearsal”)

As percussionists, we are required to know how to play a vast array of instruments as well as the techniques that are associated with them. Young percussion students who are studying with a private instructor usually study marimba, snare drum, drum set or timpani. Ensemble playing techniques are usually something that are acquired in high school and unfortunately, the percussion section doesn’t usually get as much attention as it should. Below, I have come up with my “Top 10″ considerations I think all percussionists should know going into their first ensemble rehearsal. My hope is that this list will aid the young percussionist and I value any input and additions anyone has to this list.

1. Bring One (or more) Black Towels

A black towel is a wonderful thing. A black towel can be used:

On a music stand to create a stick tray
On a Bass Drum or Tom to Mute the Drum
To wipe sweaty hands (more…)

Audition Advice 101


Auditions are just around the corner and I thought it would be a good idea to crowd source an audition advice post so that we can give some advice to incoming freshman and transfer students who will be auditioning soon. To start off the discussion, I thought I would present my observations and suggestions from past auditions and ask other teachers and percussionists to add their comments below. In a couple of weeks, I will compile all of the comments and create a master list of audition advice. (more…)

Drum Pad Resources


The last two episodes have featured my reviews about different drum pads that are available. Check them out here:

Episode 016: Practice Pad Reviews Pt. 1

Episode 017: Practice Pad Reviews Pt. 2

In the videos, I talk about the two types of drum pads: rubber and drumhead. Both types of pads have their advantages and disadvantages. For most of my warmups, I use the bdl Percussion Pad, because I really like the feel and sound. If I am relaxed, I can hear the vibration of the stick. I have never had that experience with any other pad and that is one of the reasons that I endorse their drum pads. (Full Disclosure, I endorse bdl Percussion and Remo). In my studio, I use the Remo pad if a student is playing through a piece for the first time.

But remember, a drum pad will never replace a drum. It does have the same feel and if you always practice on a pad, your sound on a snare drum will suffer. In general, I use a drum pad for warmups and when I am learning or working on a new piece. If I am playing snare drum on a concert, I will make sure that I use a snare drum leading up to the performance.

Below are the links of the different pads that I used in the videos. Please support these companies. They are making great products.

Remo 8″ Practice Pad with Stand

bdl Percussion

Other Examples:
Remo 6″ Practice Pad

Remo 8″ Practice Pad

Remo 10″ Practice Pad

RealFeel – 6 Inch

RealFeel Apprentice Pad Stand

Destiny Pro Pad

RamPad – Symphonic Series Blue

Remo Putty Pad

Gary Burton

41mnkXH5h2L._SL500_AA300_-300x300For the past four years, I have written posts on DrumChattr.com. I co-founded the site with Tom Burritt and Shane Griffin. We have worked hard at building a community for percussionists and it is a lot of fun connecting with so many musicians from all over the world.

Over the summer, we host BookChattr, a book club for percussionists. We have read Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live by Jeff Jarvis, The Percussionist’s Art by Steven Schick, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey. Currently, we are reading Learning to Listen by Gary Burton.

Along with reading this book, I have created some listening guides to accompany the book. I hope you will consider reading the book. I just finished it and I would definitely recommend it. Check out these links below for the resource guides and a Spotify playlist.

Gary Burton Resource Guide: Part One

Gary Burton Resource Guide: Part Two

Gary Burton Autobiography

Episode 016: Practice Pad Reviews Pt. 1


There are so many practice pads available for the percussion student! Why? No one knows… I guess you could ask that about any musical accessory. Think how many reeds, mouthpieces, drumsticks, drumheads (etc…) that are available. There is something for everyone. But, how does a student percussionist or percussion methods student know which pad to purchase? Not to worry, I can help. I have split this topic into two videos. Today’s video covers rubber practice pads.

In this episode, I talk about the bdl Percussion Pad, The Real Feel Pad and the Destiny Pro Pad. Please support these companies and check out their pads. (Full Disclosure: I endorse bdl Percussion Pads and Remo Practice Pads).

New York Philharmonic Archives

new_york_philharmonic_logo_2914The New York Philharmonic Archives has just made over 520,000 pages of parts marked by Philharmonic Musicians available on the internet for everyone to see. (Check out the video below for more information about the project). This archive is an invaluable resource for students, scholars, and anyone interested in classical music. The archive includes programs, scores, parts, images and in the future will also feature audio and/or video.

Looking for the part to Le Sacre Du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) that were used by Leonard Bernstein? Click Here

Looking for score to Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 marked by Gustav Mahler, Bruno Walter and Leonard Bernstein? Click Here

Looking for the timpani and percussion parts to Beethoven Symphony No. 9 that were arked by Leonard Bernstein? Click Here

And the list goes on! This is a massive undertaking by the NY Phil. It would be amazing if other orchestras had the resources to do the same. We can only hope. While none of the parts are able to be printed, you can always head over to IMSLP.org to download the majority of the parts that are on the NY Phil archive.

This is an amazing resource and I hope you get lost in the archives this weekend when you have some time. Please spread the word and share this post with all of your students and music colleagues.



Originally posted on DrumChattr.com on February 22, 2013.

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