Snare drum and concert roll

How to play the concert roll

In my opinion, concert roll (press roll, buzz roll, closed roll, or any of the other 1,500 names used for the multiple bounce roll) is the hardest rudiment to perform correctly. The reason is that executing it well requires great skill and speed as well as a subtle ability to feel the movement itself. So many […] Read More

Filed Under: Education, Orchestra
Third Coast Percussion_flickr

This is my second post on Third Construction, the piece for percussion quartet written by John Cage in 1941. In my first post, I discussed and described the instruments that John Cage assigned to each of the four players. Today I will analyze the sheet music for this piece, specifically the following elements: timbre possibilities; […] Read More

Filed Under: Education
Tin Cans for John Cage's Third Contruction

Third Construction is one of the most complex pieces written by John Cage for percussion ensembles. This piece was actually composed in 1941 and was dedicated, as you can read on the last page of the score, to Xenia Kashevaroff, Cage’s wife at the time as well as percussionist in his orchestra. Third Construction is […] Read More

Filed Under: Education
Bach Cello Suite 1, prelude. On marimba.

The first time I ran across Bach’s Cello Suites was a few years ago, when I was preparing for an audition with the Bern Orchestra that required a performance of the whole third suite in C major. What I have left of the time spent preparing an audition I never got to do (long story…) is […] Read More

Filed Under: Education, Mallet percussion
Square root formula

In my last post we saw how the interest towards noise as musical material encouraged John Cage to write pieces for percussion instruments. Alright. But how to write noise on staff paper? On which basis should you build up such a music? Rhythm, harmony, pitches? Today, we’ll talk about the “square root formula”, John Cage’s […] Read more

Filed Under: Education
John Cage

John Cage and percussion instruments – Part 1: Noise

Without John Cage the current music for percussion ensemble would be completely different. Actually, the concept of “percussion instruments” itself and of “percussionist” would be different. John Cage was a genius. And as all genius, the feelings you have when you listen or play his pieces, not only those for percussion ensemble, are most likely […] Read More

Filed Under: Education
Teaching percussion at school

Why I decided to teach percussion at school

If I teach at school, will I still have the chance to play music? And how will my artistic career end up with? These were the two questions I was asking myself obsessively when the high school where I work contacted me in 2012. I was SCARED. Scared of not having anymore time to play […] Read More

Filed Under: Education, Freelancing
Choosing the repertoire for percussion ensemble

Percussion Ensemble: how to choose the repertoire

Are you teaching percussion at school? Then you’re surely periodically facing this problem: which pieces to choose for the percussion ensemble you direct? Sure, you’d like to prepare all the most important pieces, but actually you simply can’t do that. There are many factors that influence your job, for example: number and skills of your […] Read More

Filed Under: Education
Percussionist vs drummer

Percussionists and drummers! Don’t tell me that you’ve never thought “how cooler am I”: A) as a PERCUSSIONIST, compared to him, a DRUMMER or B) as a DRUMMER, compared to him, a PERCUSSIONIST. Sure, we all know that this is a stupid issue, to begin with. It’s so stupid that I don’t even want to […] Read More

Filed Under: Education
Percussion podcast

Percussionist 2.0 – Part 5: Podcasts and LMS

I really like listening to percussion podcasts while I ride my bike to work. I hate realizing that, unfortunately, there are very few podcasts actually related to percussion. I also like learning on the internet. And I like doing this even more when I can learn in a virtual setting, which has been exquisitely designed […] Read More

Filed Under: Education, Technology