Back of the Room, Front of the Mind
- who set up their instruments in an organised, logical fashion prior to rehearsals starting
- who have all their music in a folder, together with a pencil and eraser
- who swap between instruments quietly and efficiently
- who play their parts to such a high standard that you never have to stop the band because of them …
- Do I have all the necessary percussion equipment to play this piece?
- Do I have enough percussionists to cover all the parts?
- Are there enough parts to keep all my percussionists busy?
- Are my percussionists able to handle the complexity of the parts?
- Are the parts interesting to play?
- Do the parts need editing to work better?
- Most students only have a drum pad and a glockenspiel at home. They need regular access to school instruments to be able to do constructive practice.
- Many percussion instruments have height adjustments. Use them.
- Percussionists count more rests than any other members of the ensemble. You will need to cue them. Often.
- Percussionists are often required to play more than one instrument within a single piece. They will need regular guidance with set-up and organisation.
- The only means of sustaining tone on a percussion instrument is with rolls. Be aware: these are incredibly technically challenging.
- Most repertoire requires only one percussionist per part, but it can be intimidating for students to play by themselves while the entire ensemble turns around to stare at them. Always ask several members to play together when you are trying to fix issues with a particular part.
Jeff began his teaching career in 2002 in Central Queensland as a multi-instrumental music teacher. Since then he has taught in over 50 schools. Currently, Jeff is the percussion teacher at Brisbane State High School, The Gap State High School and The Gap Primary School. He is also the Percussion Project Officer for the Brisbane Metropolitan region and the lead writer of Education Queensland’s current percussion curriculum. In this role, Jeff regularly presents percussion workshops in schools throughout Queensland.