Studio Handbook

UNCP Percussion Studio and Ensemble Handbook/Syllabus 2014-2015

Special thanks to Ben Toth, Michael Bump, Jeff Moore, Tracy Wiggins, and Wayne Bovenschen for providing many of the ideas utilized in this handbook.

Goals For Instruction

Students in the percussion program will: become proficient in the major areas of percussion study including timpani, keyboards, snare drum, auxiliary instruments and drumset; be exposed to music from various cultures through the percussion ensemble, steel drum band and solo literature; develop the ability to sight-read keyboard music proficiently; develop skills in self-evaluation in both a team and individual environment; develop skills to improve one's own performance as well as teaching fundamentals of percussion performance to others.


All UNCP students are required to have completed a portfolio which represents their work by the time of graduation. In order to make this easier be sure that you keep any program on which you are listed as well as a recording of any performance you give. Other portfolio items will include: your weekly practice sheets; weekly lesson sheets; listening forms; composition research forms; concert reviews; article reviews; research projects,  and book reports. From your other classes be sure to keep tests and papers on which you receive high marks. The portfolio will be arranged according to the student learning outcomes that you will be given in syllabi.


Student Learning Outcomes

Categories All Professional Degrees BM in Music Education BA in Music (Liberal Arts
I. Theory      
Analysis I.A.1, I.A.2
Composition,Improvisation and Arranging I.C.1, I.C.2 I.C-ME.1 I.B-LA, I.C-LA
Technology I.D.1, I.D.2 I.D-ME.1 I.D-LA
II. Performance      
Sight-reading/Sight-Singing II.A.1   II.A-LA
Keyboard II.B.1 II.B-ME.1 II.B-LA
Performance in major Area II.C.1,II.D.1, II.D.2,II.E.1,II.E.2, II.E.3 II.E-ME.1,II.E-ME.2 II.C-LA, II.DLA,
III. Music History/ Literature      
Analysis I.A.1, I.A.2, III.A.1, III.A.2,III.D.1 I.A-ME.1 I.A-LA,III.A-LA
History, Culture and stylistic Context I.B.1, III.B.1, III.B.2 III.B-ME.1 I.B-LA, III.B-LAIII.D-LA
World Music III.C.1, III.E.1   III.C-LA, III.E-LA
IV. Professional Practice      
Advocacy III.F.1 III.F-ME.1 III.F-LA
Professional Practice III.E.2 IV-ME.3, IV-ME.6, IV-ME.7, IV-ME.8  

Italics = SLOs that occur in more than one Category.

BOLD = SLOs that are reference by both Applied Music and Ensemble courses.


It is very simple: be there and be prepared!.


It is part of our craft to realize that as a percussionist you will generally be the first to arrive at a rehearsal and the last to leave. There are few more uncomfortable playing situations than to fly in at the last minute to set up and arrange instruments, sticks, mallets, etc. Not to mention, it looks extremely unprofessional. If it is unavoidable to be late, plan ahead―notify the conductor and the section leader WELL in advance so that arrangements can be made to have your equipment set up for you. Ensemble rehearsals are intended for addressing musical and logistical issues pertaining to the collective whole - it is not a situation for you to practice your individual part. Each of the percussion ensemble rehearsals will have a specific musical goal set forth at the beginning. It is essential for you to prepare your part outside of rehearsal and contribute to the success of our collective goals. A pencil is also required for every rehearsal, so dynamics, ensemble issues etc. can be easily marked into your parts. I would hope that it is obvious to all of you that your evaluation and continued participation in these ensembles is ultimately dependent upon your effort.

Equipment Care

Our equipment is stored in certain designated areas. Please keep these areas organized and neat. Students are not to store personal belongings in these areas. Take it upon yourself to see that our equipment is put away, covered and cared for, and that the percussion areas are kept clean and uncluttered.

Personal Instruments

There are certain instruments that belong to students which may be stored with the school owned instruments. Please ask the owners of these instruments if you wish to use them.


The UNCP Percussion Ensembles wear solid black or colored dress shirts for performances. This means a black or colored long sleeve shirt (collared, banded collar, mock turtleneck etc.), black pants, black socks, and black shoes. Women can wear dresses but the dress must be solid colored, collared (or have a neck) and have sleeves.


Be sure to check the percussion studio bulletin board daily for information, including upcoming concerts and rehearsal schedules. The percussion studio phone number is 522-5705 and has an answering machine. In addition please maintain, and check regularly an email account. My email is

Percussion Seminars/Masterclasses/Recitals

These are held regularly on Fridays at 10:10. All applied percussion majors and minors are required to attend and participate when deemed appropriate. Attendance/participation in these classes will be reflected in your applied lesson grade. One of the best ways to learn is by seeing and experiencing new things. To that end, attendance at all on campus percussion events (including large ensemble concerts utilizing percussion) is required as part of your lesson grade. I will also often find out about events which do not occur on campus. When these come up I will let you know as soon as possible. Attendance at these events is HIGHLY recommended.

Performance Class

On select studio class dates we will hold studio performance classes. These provide an opportunity for percussionists to not only practice performing under less stressful circumstances, but enable studio members to hear each other play, and provide feedback for the performer. All applied percussion students will play at least once every semester.

Attendance Policy for Applied Lessons, Studio Class

If you are sick the day of your lesson, make sure you call me before your lesson time. Don't call me during your lesson time or just not show up and then tell me the next day that you were sick. It won't be excused! Students will not be excused for work purposes. Each unexcused absence results in a 0 lesson grade for that week. Three unexcused absence will lower your grade to an F and the rest of your lessons will be canceled. You may be dismissed from the percussion program. Studio Class attendance will also be factored into your lesson grade. Failure to attend studio class results in a 1 point deduction from the weekly lesson grade.

Attendance Policy for Percussion Ensemble

Attendance for ensemble rehearsals is vitally important for the success of every group. If even one member is missing from a piece it becomes very difficult to accomplish preset goals. Therefore, you are allotted one absence from rehearsal. After 1 absence, every subsequent absence will lower your grade for the course 5%. Doctor appointments (including trips to the infirmary), class observations, other rehearsals are not excuses. In short plan ahead. School events are excused if prior permission is received. The key is always communication. Excessive absences can also result in your dismissal from the ensemble. 

Tardiness is not a trait that is looked upon highly in the professional music world. Tardiness interrupts the flow of rehearsal and distracts those who arrive on time. Therefore, three tardies will equal an absence. If you are tardy you are to wait outside of the ensemble until the conductor reaches an appropriate point in the rehearsal for you to take your place. You are considered tardy if you are not in your position in the ensemble and prepared to perform when the conductor gives the downbeat for the rehearsal.

Any rehearsal for which you are unprepared (not having correct music; not knowing the parts; not being set up before rehearsal starts) can be considered an absence, and could therefore count against your final grade. During rehearsals for pieces in which you don't play you are required to still attend and use the time to practice in one of the practice rooms or stay in the rehearsal hall and observe the rest of the rehearsal. Failure to do so can count as an absence.

Attendance at all performances is required, with an absence from a performance without a prior excuse resulting in a grade reduction of 15%.

For those students on scholarship: At the fourth absence your grade will be lowered and your scholarship will be revoked for the next semester.

Cell Phones 

Cell phones are to be turned off and left out of the rehearsal and lesson space. Students are not to wear any form of Bluetooth or wireless apparatus during rehearsals or lessons. If a cell phone needs to be available for emergency purposes that must be cleared with the instructor in advance.

Percussion Ensembles

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has a percussion ensemble and a world percussion ensemble comprised of percussion majors and minors. These ensembles comprise a major part of the percussionist’s performance experience. With very few exceptions the ensembles are devoted to performing literature written expressly for percussion, encompassing a wide spectrum of styles. In addition music from various cultures (Afro-Cuban, Middle Eastern, Mexican marimba, African, etc.) will be included on percussion ensemble programs. The role of percussion in twentieth century music as a catalyst for acoustical experimentation, compositional theories, and instrumental experimentation and evolution is a fantastic historical perspective and one which still maintains its influential position in a multitude of current musical interests.

Rehearsal Etiquette

The ability to rehearse quickly and efficiently is a collective effort. Therefore the following rules will be in effect for all rehearsals. Failure to abide by these rules may result in your dismissal from rehearsal and possibly the ensemble.
1. Rehearsals begin promptly at 2:30 for percussion ensemble and 3:30 for band. Rehearsals will end at 3:20 for percussion ensemble and 6:00 for band, or sooner if circumstances allow. If you are not set-up at this time you are considered tardy. You are also to wait outside of the set-up until an instructor informs you that you may take your place in the ensemble.
2. There is to be no talking during rehearsals. If you have a question raise your hand to ask it, or wait until after the rehearsal is over to address it.
3. All students should have their notebook and a folder containing all of their individual parts and a pencil with them at all rehearsals.
4. During rehearsals for pieces you might not perform on you are still required to attend the rehearsal, but you should go to a practice room and practice individually during this time.
5. At any time during a rehearsal a student can be asked to perform their part individually to guarantee their preparation for rehearsal.

Practice Guidelines

Do not come to a lesson cold!!!! Make time to warm-up thoroughly before the lesson. If this is not possible, be sure to have warmed up and practiced earlier in the day. Performing a lesson cold wastes time for both of us, and will probably not reflect your best abilities.

Practice all of your materials every day (e.g. avoid practicing marimba one day and snare the next, etc.). Percussionists must be prepared to invest more practice time than one might expect for the simple reason that they must develop skills on several instruments.

All percussionists must be prepared to invest whatever it takes to cover and master the instruments they are studying. It is difficult to start placing time requirements on practice sessions, but it is safe to establish a minimum of two to four hours a day as a point of departure.

Try breaking up your practice routine. For example: 1 or 2 hours in the morning before or in between classes, maybe a 1/2 hour to an hour in the afternoon and similar in the evening. This can help keep things fresh.

Equipment Needed

Below is a minimum listing of equipment which percussionists should eventually acquire:
1 pair general snare drum sticks (IP CL-1H, Cooperman, Firth, Steele)*
1 pair lighter weight snare drum sticks (IPJC, Firth “Boleros”)
1 pair drum set sticks (IPES2)*
1 pair “Swizzle” Sticks (IP1M)*
1 pair of wire brushes (BR-2)
1 pair of Goodman wood timpani mallets (for multi-percussion work)
1 set of metal triangle beaters (Stoessel, Black Swamp, Grover)*
1 pair medium hard rubber keyboard mallets (IP901, Encore, Firth, Musser)*
2 pairs medium hard cord marimba/vibe mallets (IP-RS251, Encore, Firth)*
1 pair of hard yarn wound marimba mallets (IP604H, Encore, Firth)*
1 pair of medium-hard yarn wound marimba mallets (IP603H, Encore, Firth)*
1 pair of medium yarn wound marimba mallets (IP602H, Encore, Firth)*
1 pair of soft yarn wound marimba mallets (IP601, Encore, Firth)*
1 pair brass glockenspiel mallets (IP 907)
1 pair of very hard rubber/plastic xylophone mallets (IP905, Malletech)*
2 pairs of hard cord mallets (IP RS301)*
2 pairs of soft cord mallets (IP RS 201)*
1 pair of general articulation timpani mallets (IPCT3, Grover, Firth, Clevelander)*
1 pair of staccato timpani mallets (IP CT5)*
1 Pair Soft Timpani mallets (IP CT 1)*
1 pair of very hard felt timpani mallets (IP CT6)
1 tuning fork (A-440)*
Metronome (Dr. Beat, Tama Rhythm Watch)*
Mallet Case (IP MB3)*
A Real-Feel Practice pad
A 3x14” Tar (frame) drum (Remo)
A set of ear plugs and/or Vic Firth sound isolation headphones*

* = Incoming freshman minimum equipment

Students should also begin collecting a variety of percussion instruments for themselves:
Concert Snare Drum, Drumset, Triangle, Tambourine, Frame Drum, Congas, Bongos, Cymbals, etc.

I would also recommend starting to think about the eventual purchase of more “investment” type instruments, such as marimba, xylophone, vibraphone or others depending on your level of interest.

Books Needed

All UNCP Percussion majors should own the following method books:

Method of Movement for Marimba - Leigh Howard Stevens
Intermediate Snare Drum Studies - Mitchell Peters
Fundamental Studies for Mallets - Garwood Whaley
Exercises, Etudes and Solos for Timpani – Raynor Carroll
Hip Pockets Dictionary of Percussion Terms – Lang and Spivack
A small music dictionary (that fits in mallet bag) 

All of these books are available in the UNCP Bookstore or through Steve Weiss music.

Grading Policies and Requirements for Applied Lessons

At the beginning of each semester the student and instructor will discuss semester objectives for percussion study and personal growth.
You are expected to assimilate the basic philosophies of the playing systems presented and display progressively developing command of these systems. Consistent and continual development of your overall playing ability and musicianship is expected.

When you come to your lesson be able to verbalize as much as possible about every piece (solo, etude, ensemble/chamber piece). Always be able to discuss the composer, author, or arranger of whatever piece you are undertaking. Be able to discuss basic form or in the case of an etude explain the perceived goal of the study and the intended benefit(s) which will accrue with thoughtful repetitions.

Think before you play.

If a student has not practiced I will stop the lesson and the student will receive a grade of F for that week.

Each student is required to keep a practice journal. This journal will contain a record of the students daily practice routine, include the ACTUAL times and dates practiced, what was practiced, and how it was practiced (procedures). This is to allow me to help guide you to a more efficient practice routine. This journal MUST be presented to the teacher at the start of EVERY lesson, or the student will receive a grade of F for that lesson.

Warming-Up: Plan to warm-up before your scheduled lesson so that you will be at your best. If a warm-up is not possible, you should attempt to reschedule your regular lesson time.

At the end of each lesson you will receive a grade evaluating your weekly progress. You are welcome to see these grades at any point during the semester. During the course of the semester you and I will discuss very specific and realistic goals - both short and long term. Your final applied lesson grade is based on (by priority): 1) your individual effort and improvement towards these goals; 2) demonstrated progress through solo performances in studio class; 3) overall development in work ethic and professional demeanor; 4) lessons attended; 5) jury performance.

Specifically grading criteria can be identified as follows:

A – 4 points - Superior Work, demonstrating accurate and musically sensitive performance of weekly goals. Shows consistent and steady development. Complete 4 basics items. 

B – 3 points - Above Average Work, demonstrating an awareness of stylistic interpretation, accurate for the most part from a technical perspective. Successful performance of most of the material assigned in the weekly goals. Complete 3 basics items. 

C - 2 points - Average Work, demonstrating less than desirable progress in the assigned weekly goals, a good understanding, yet not altogether accurate performance of the material. Shows rather inconsistent and erratic progress in development. Complete 2 basics items. 

D -1 point - Below Average Work, demonstrated by numerous repetitions/stops and starts, erratic rhythm/tempi, etc. Problems in meeting assigned goals. Complete 1 basics item. 

F – 0 points - Failure to meet minimum performance standards.

One final word on this: The success and benefits you receive from applied study is directly dependent on how much time and effort you give to your craft. I cannot stress this fact enough. If you want to see these results, you must develop a solid and disciplined work ethic which transcends just about everything you do. Use your time wisely and practice efficiently and consistently.

Evaluation Forum

All UNCP students are required to complete this forum at the end of their third semester of private study. Percussion students must be able to meet jury level III to complete the forum.The evaluation is in two parts:

Part I – a recital of several selections on various instruments. The performance should be approximately 15 minutes in length.

Part II – a colloquy with the faculty reviewing the student’s academic accomplishments including class preparation, attendance, professionalism, service, responsibility and commitment. Questions will focus on: the student's background; educational and professional goals; related activities; knowledge of recital repertoire in terms of composers, genre, style etc; recital attendance; and other questions as deemed necessary by the faculty.


Students who perform a recital are not required to perform a jury that same semester. All recitals are to be approved by a faculty committee at least one month in advance of the recital date (pre-hearing). You are responsible for scheduling the recital and stage time through the scheduling office. Additional logistical information can be obtained in the music office.

Applied Music Juries

1. Dress properly for the jury. Coat/tie, etc. is not necessary but use good judgment and handle the situation in a professional manner.

2. Fill out the jury sheet completely and submit this form to the jury before you perform. These sheets are available in the music office or on the School of Music website. You should list everything that you have studied in applied music for that semester. Method books must list pages covered.

3. Be able to intelligently discuss fundamental aspects regarding your music including form, terminology, composition/composer background, etc.

4. You are responsible for everything that you list on your jury sheet; however, generally we ask that you prepare a few specific items in advance.

5. You must present your practice notebook, as well as show original versions of your music to the jury committee. Failure to do so will result in an F for the jury grade.

6. Your jury performance counts for 20 points of your total applied grade.

Research Project and Concert Attendance Requirements

Three (3) papers are required, accounting for 15 points of the applied music grade (5 per paper). (1) The concert review will be written on a recital that is agreed upon by the student and private instructor. The review will include three sources, only one of which is to be an Internet source. (2) The article report will be based on an article from a periodical or scholarly journal. The article must be approved by the private instructor, in advance. (3) The research paper will be written on a topic that will be chosen by the private instructor and will change each semester. Suggested topics include information on the development of an instrument, biographical research on a performer, or research on a famous selection of repertoire for the instrument.

A minimum of twelve (12) recitals/concerts per semester is required, including specific studio requirements as designated by applied music instructors. A lesson grade of zero (0) will be given for missed Moore Hall Recital Series (MHRS) concerts and department recitals. Students will submit concert/recital programs for additional concerts/recitals (i.e., non-MHRS or department recitals). External (off-campus) events must be approved in advance.

Acceptable levels of writing skills for all documents are required. Those in need of assistance should visit the UNCP Writing Center.

Tips for Being a Responsible Percussionist (with thanks to Dr. Beckford of Furman University)

• Assist your colleagues in striking the stage following a percussion recital -- even it you didn’t play. This is common courtesy and will be greatly appreciated when you are the performer.
• Arrive far enough in advance of a rehearsal to guarantee that all equipment is set up and you are properly warmed up before the rehearsal begins. This may mean from ten minutes to an hour before a rehearsal depending on the complexity of the set-up.
• Following a rehearsal, remain long enough to return all equipment to its proper location. Leaving before this task is complete is selfish and inconsiderate to those who remain. Even if you did not play an instrument, help everyone until the task is complete.
• Never challenge a conductor’s musical decisions during rehearsal. "The conductor is always right, even when he/she is wrong." Use your section leader or principal to communicate alternative opinions.
• Do not rely on others to bring music, mallets, or equipment you are required to provide. Avoid the reputation of being the "mallet moocher" or worse, the "percussion parasite."
• Come to rehearsals with your music learned. Rehearsals are for rehearsing, not for practicing.
• Your ears are extremely important to any musician. Wear ear protection when necessary.
• Keep a calendar so that you do not "double book," forget engagements, or simply fail to have your time organized.
• Attend as many percussion related performances as possible, especially those by professionals in the field. Much can be learned by witnessing your colleagues or the professional who makes a living at this craft.
• Read as much as possible regarding percussion. The Library and the MRC have an excellent collection of books, videos, and music about percussion. Percussive Notes and Modern Drummer are found on the periodical shelves. Check out the Internet, as well.
• Share information with your colleagues and use the "Percussion News . . ." bulletin board outside of room 107. Whether it be jobs, an interesting article, a new technique, a great concert next week, etc. share your ideas and information with your colleagues. Don’t be selfish with your knowledge.
• Percussionists have a reputation for being cordial, positive, and good humored. Honor that reputation and continue to build a positive image wherever you take your musical activities.

Golden Rules for Living

If you open it, close it.
If you turn it on, turn it off.
If you unlock it, lock it up.
If you break it, admit it.
If you can’t fix it, call in someone who can.
If you can't be there, call.
If you borrow it, return it.
If you value it, take care of it.
If you make a mess, clean it up.
If you move it, put it back.
If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it.
If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.

The Percussive Arts Society

In 1960 a group of professional players, educators and manufacturers met and conceived of the idea of the Percussive Arts Society. P.A.S. developed a statement of purpose:

To raise the level of musical percussion performance and teaching; to expand understanding of needs and responsibilities of the percussion students, teachers, and performers; and to promote a greater communication between all areas of the percussion arts.
Membership in this organization includes 6 issues of the “Percussive Notes” journal annually, plus six “Percussion News” newsletters advertising job announcements, clinics, workshops and items for sale. Also you can access the Percussive Arts Society homepage which includes forums and research databases. Everyone should be a member. For application information see Mr. Wiggins.

ADA and Honor Code Statement

Students are advised to read the UNCP “Academic Honor Code” found in the student handbook. All aspects of this code are applicable to private percussion study.

Any students with a documented disability needing academic adjustments are required to speak to Disability Support Services and the instructor, as early in the semester (preferably within the first week) as possible. All discussions will remain confidential. Please contact Mary Helen Walker, Disability Support Services, Career Services center, Room 210, 521-6270.