What have you learned that has really helped you teach beginning percussion?– Readers’ Collaborative Post
In our recent survey, we asked Band Directors Talk Shop readers, “If you are a non-percussionist (or a percussionist speaking to a non-percussionist director), what have you learned that has helped you teach beginning percussion?” With many responses to the survey, we came up with this categorized list of your answers. Thanks so much to all of our readers who took time to fill out the survey. Keep an eye out for more Readers’ Collaborative Posts in the future.
Focus on Fundamentals
- Hand position and posture from the beginning lessons are so important and a focus for younger students.
- Learning skeleton patterns for rolls. (Also called hand rhythm – the rhythm the hands move during the role.)
- Subdivide! And don’t choke up on the sticks.
- Rotate every other day from battery to mallets. Also one day a week work on accessory percussion.
- Use a metronome.
- Spend time on positioning and holding sticks correctly.
- Key in on different stroke types (up, down, tap).
- Subdivide rolls.
- Basics in both from the very beginning – mallets AND snare.
Use Your Resources
- Reaching out to other directors that are Percussionists, watching videos for myself, showing videos to students has helped also.
- Practice pads are great! Resources like Vic Firth Education are way more fun than the snare parts in the lesson books.
- Row-Loff Tool Box method books are very helpful and make sense as a non-percussionist.
- Take percussion lessons.
- Speak to your percussion teachers.
- Watch percussionist instructors teach your students.
- Hire professionals and sit in on their teaching.
Other Great Tips
- No matter how young they are, give them more responsibility for setting up, cleaning up and playing their own parts. Teach them this from the beginning.
- Change up instruments often to keep students engaged.
Give Them Attention
- Be intentional with how you speak to the percussionists. Make sure they feel included in what the winds are doing on every exercise you play.
- Be with them in the back. Too many directors tell percussionists what to do from the podium.
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