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First Time Percussion Players
By Alex Beamer
8/3/2017 1:01:00 PM  

First Time Percussion Players

Congratulations on choosing to play percussion! Percussionists play some of the most dynamic and exciting pieces of a musical performance. Percussion instruments range from enormous bass drums to tiny finger cymbals, but the three most common percussion instruments in beginning school bands and orchestras are the snare drum, bells, and xylophone.

As a music student, or a parent of a music student, you will want to know some basics about your percussion instrument as soon as you start playing.


Snare Drum


Parts of the Snare Drum, Stand, and Drumsticks

Below is a diagram of the snare drum, stand, and drumsticks. Click on the image to enlarge it.

snare drum diagram


Setting Up the Snare Drum

1. Use the base screw (or wingnut) to loosen and tighten the legs on the stand. Open the stand wide enough to create a stable base for the instrument.
2. Carefully place the drum on top of the stand, referred to as the “cradle.”
3. Once securely in the cradle, tighten the wingnut at the bottom of the cradle until the stand has been tightened around the drum.
4. Adjust the height of the stand to waist-high. 
5. Hold the drum as you adjust the angle of the stand. The drum should be parallel to the floor.


Keyboard (Mallet) Percussion

The keyboard percussion family (also called the mallet percussion family) includes orchestral bells, xylophone, marimba, vibraphone and chimes. Each instrument is arranged chromatically in two rows similar to a piano keyboard. Because of the different materials used, each of these five instrument has its own unique sound. The two most common keyboard percussion instruments are the bells and xylophone.


Bells

Also called the Glockenspiel, orchestral bells are made from metal and produce a bright, charming sound. The instrument is played with hard-rubber mallets, or sometimes brass or plastic mallets.

bell kit
Xylophone

The xylophone is a percussion instrument with wooden bars. Each bar is a different length, so they play different notes when struck. A full-sized xylophone will have resonators to help make each note last longer. However, most students use a desktop xylophone which are smaller and more portable, and therefore much more convenient.  

 desktop xylophone

Related Articles


Have questions? Need advice? West Music is here for you! Give our school orchestra experts a call at 800-373-2000. 


Adapted with permission from Alfred Music's Sound Innovations for Concert Band 1: Percussion



Tags: band, beginner, snare drum, drums, percussion, xylophone, bells, alex beamer
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Drums & Percussion
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Extraordinary Associates of the Month November 2016: PASIC Crew
By West Music Company
12/7/2016 3:34:00 PM  
Congratulations to the entire PASIC team for an outstanding job at the show! We had the best customer service team at show, outshining the other exhibitors. Customers noticed and were attracted to our booth, wanting to be able to test, review, and talk to our team about the products they were about to purchase. It was truly an interactive customer experience that everyone appreciated. The proof was in the sales and number of green Percussion Source bags milling around the floor, a whopping 400!

Our PASIC rookies John and Megan went through trial by fire (or should I say drumstick!) They had the hang of it in no time and were helping customers left and right. Megan rocked it by helping folks qualify for our PASIC promotions and John helped us break new ground at Bands of America, reaching even more new faces.

Eric was Master of the Stick Towers, helping find specific models and encourage testing on the snare drums (and moving some too!) Whether it be tambourine, mallet or triangle inquiries, Alex was the man, managing to keep a watchful eye over the booth at all times too! Adam made new friends and was able to connect names with faces of loyal customers who have shopped with us for years. He has quite the following, some customers have photo requests with him!

This PASIC crew was truly awesome. Everyone pitched in where needed as soon as they saw a customer in need. High five to all.

- As told by Lauren Calkin,
Percussion Source
Director of Customer Relations



Tags: pasic, percussion, crew percussion source
Categories: Drums & Percussion, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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7 Tips for Practicing
By West Music Company
12/6/2016 7:51:00 AM  

7 Tips for Practicing 

practice timeYour child was so excited to get their music instrument, you thought they would never put it down! However, a few months in and the instrument is sitting in a corner of the house. As a parent, it's important to get your child motivate to practice regularly. 

Students who practice regularly, even if it’s just for a few minutes every day, retain lessons better and develop new skills quicker. They also often report enjoying music class more.

As parents, it’s hard to keep our kids motivated to practice, but remember it’s practice that makes perfect.  West Music educators have put together this list of their seven best tips to help your child keep playing and keep having fun!

1. Break practice out into 5-10 minutes.
Finding the time to practice is difficult; there’s homework, chores, family time, sports and many other actives that make up the day. By breaking up longer practice sessions into short 5 to 10 minute sprints, you and your child will be more likely to find the time to get it done!

2. Set goals.
With each practice session have a specific goal in mind for your child, even if it’s just practicing one or two cords. Setting small goals will add up to huge accomplishments!
practing at home

3. Keep your child’s instrument out (in a safe place).
Ever heard out of sight, out of mind? That’s exactly what happens when you pack up your child’s instrument in its case and put it into the closet. Instead keep it out somewhere out of the way but where your young musician will see it every day.

4. Let your child pick their practice time, and then stick with it.
One of the many skills music teaches children is self-discipline. Let them choose what time they want to practice, but once a time is chosen have them stick to it as best as possible.  Even if they have to miss a practice session or two because of other commitments, it helps build the habit of practicing regularly.

5. Be excited for your child.
If you see practice time as dull, so will your kids. Be in the room when your child practices and encourage them when they feel like giving up. When they do finally master a song, or even just a new note, show genuine pride and excitement in their accomplishments.

6. Game-ify Practice.
Many music teachers suggest making a game out of difficult passages that could otherwise get frustrating. One of the most popular games involves pennies (but M&Ms or Skittles work just as well). Put 3 to 10 pennies on the left side of their music stand. Each time your kids get the passage right, they can move a penny to the right side. Once they get all the pennies to the other side, they can finish practicing and take their reward!

7. Play with the instrument.
You don’t always need to follow the song book.  Encourage your child to make up their own song. It encourages creativity and makes learning more fun!

 

Need more advice? West Music is here for you!

Call our music experts at 1-800-397-9378




Tags: band, orchestra, students, winter, holidays
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Drums & Percussion, Music Education
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Mark Shelton on Give Me A Bucket - his starter guide to bucket drumming
By West Music Company
5/2/2016 8:15:00 AM  
Mark Shelton shares his inspiration for writing Give Me A Bucket - a starter guide to bucket drumming:

"Bucket drumming has come to the elementary music classroom with teachers and students getting in on the fun of percussion with pails. Forming this type of ensemble is easy on the budget and provides a great vehicle for learning rhythms and exploring tone colors. A simple (yet well-played) bucket drumming piece can be a real crowd-pleaser on a concert.

When I wrote Give Me A Bucket, I included a dozen short, easy-to-learn pieces for bucket ensemble along with rehearsal tips, a quick bucket tutorial, and a recording for study and inspiration. Give Me A Bucket is your starter guide for bucket drumming—whether it’s elementary music students, middle school percussionists, or even teens or adults. You can find music for a wide range of reading and skill levels.

Your students can enjoy both polyphonic ensembles, scored for a few assorted instruments, as well as unison pieces that can be played by any number of performers. Doubling (or tripling) the parts on the polyphonic ensembles adds to the fun. The unison pieces have a certain visual appeal as the audience sees all hands and sticks moving in sync.

As a bucket drumming aficionado, I was excited by the release of the Rhythm Pals and Rhythm Lids along with the Snare Clip from the folks at Remo.  The Rhythm Lids fit onto a standard plastic bucket and instantly give your pail a pre-tuned drum head tone.  Available in four types, the Rhythm Lids allow you to expand your bucket drumming palette of timbres.  Toss on a Snare Clip with a Rhythm Lid and you get an amazing snare drum sound from a five dollar bucket.  You can easily incorporate these new tone colors into the music found in Give Me A Bucket.

Check out my YouTube channel for some bucket drumming tutorials at www.youtube.com/marksheltonmusic.

Go ahead...grab a copy of Give Me A Bucket, set up a few pails, hand your students some sticks, pass out the parts, and let the bucket jam begin."



Tags: give me a bucket, drums, collection, mark shelton, bucket drumming, bucket
Categories: Drums & Percussion
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How To Make A Halloween Sound Story
By West Music Company
10/1/2015 1:30:00 AM  



Tags: classroom activities, sound effects, halloween, story, spooky scary, walking dead
Categories: Drums & Percussion, Music, Books & Resources
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15 Reasons to Take Up The Drums
By West Music Company
8/28/2015 10:30:00 AM  
With a new school year beginning, now is the perfect time to learn a new instrument. Whether you’re starting school band or just want to develop a new skill, the best time to pick up a new instrument is always right now. Drums are a perfect choice for someone who wants to get involved in music without spending a lot of money, and most school band programs are always looking for additions to their percussion section.

Never been interested in the drums before today? Check out this article from Mamiverse.com: “15 Reasons to Take Up the Drums”. There are a lot of benefits beyond simply learning the drums that you may not have considered.

1. It’s a great time! Playing the drums is actually fun. Whether you do it like a pro or you just pound away on the bongo drum, it’s exciting and entertaining. You can be silly, you can be strong, you can play with different rhythms and you can collaborate with different instruments. And anyone can try it. Even an infant can create a beautiful sound using a drum.

2. You can improve your coordination. Some would argue that drumming requires more coordination than any other instrument because you are required to focus on one pattern with one hand and a different rhythm with your other hand. You create different sounds with different hands at the same time. Sounds difficult, right? Well, it is, but as you learn to use the drums and perfect your drumming skills you are also going to enhance your coordination overall.

 3. Drumming may give your immune system a boost. Drum circles have been used in healing rituals for centuries and in cultures around the globe. There is currently limited scientific data to support whether or not drumming actually can help heal, and it is still somewhat a mystery why it works. But studies have shown that drumming results in increased activity in natural killer cells. NK cells play a huge role in a healthy immune system by providing a rapid, innate response to infected cells in the body.

4. Drumming can make you smarter. Here’s some incentive to take up drumming—studies have shown that drumming may increase your IQ. Research also implies that drummers have an ability to tap into a natural rhythmic pattern found in elements throughout the earth. So basically, they are better at problem solving and more in tune with nature than the rest of us.

5. As a drummer you will feel like a rock star. Sure, the lead singer might be the most famous and the guitar player gets the most instrumental solos, but there is no denying that drummers are true rock stars with the ability to steal the show and truly capture the attention of millions. When you think about your favorite rock song, imagine it without the drum beat. Not so awesome, right?

6. Drumming helps to develop creative skills. If you learn to play drums, it encourages you to be creative with sounds, rhythm and movement. You have the freedom to see where the rhythm takes you when you move your body in a different way. And you can inspire creativity with kids as well but helping demonstrate different drumbeats and watching how they mimic you and then experiment on their own.

7. It can be helpful for learning social skills. Sure, you can practice musical skills solo, but typically when a child learns to play an instrument he is not only practicing with a teacher but also with other kids. Working in a group environment is an excellent opportunity to socialize and improve interpersonal skills as you learn to work well with others.

8. It’s a great workout. There’s a reason that PoundFit classes are dedicated to the motions used while drumming. Using your upper body and your lower body to create drum beats burns calories and a lot of energy. An hour-long drumming session can burn over 200 calories! It’s no wonder rock stars are in such good shape.

9. Playing drums can help relieve stress. It’s no coincidence that you feel your levels of stress and anxiety diminish when you hear or play certain music. Rhythm, and more specifically the act of drumming, has been shown to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol. Drumming can give you energy, can relax you and can help you blow off steam, resulting in a more healthy mood.

10. Drum work can help fight depression. Research has shown that drumming can have a positive psychological effect, to the point where it may help fight depression and help you work through traumatic experiences in your post. According to the Daily Beast, a 2008 study with veterans suffering from PTSD showed that drumming created an “…increased sense of openness, togetherness, belonging, sharing, closeness, connectedness and intimacy” as well as helping subjects regain a sense of self-control.”

11. Using drums can help you to understand music. The components of music are complicated and understanding how music is composed is not an easy feat. But drum beats are the foundation of so many musical productions, so understanding the rhythm of the drum and where that beat comes from can help you improve your understanding of music overall.

12. Drumming can sharpen your concentration. You have to truly focus in order to play the drums, or at least play the drums well. Your arms are doing several things at once while your feet do something different and your entire body needs to keep the beat. Not a simple task. Learning the drums will help you train your mind to focus intensely on several tasks at once while also using your body. And if you can use that concentration for almost anything.

13. You will improve your reflexes. Drumming requires extremely quick movements of the hands, fingers and feet in order to maintain the beat and work on several different tasks at one time. By training your body to excel at drumming you will simultaneously improve your reflexes, as your body will be more accustomed to quick, repeated movements.

14. Working with drums improves your rhythm. Some people are born with good rhythm and an ability to heat the musical beat. Some need to work at it, but either way, using the drums will enhance your rhythm in everything you do. And it’s great for teaching children rhythm as well. You can start by drumming simple beats and showing them how to repeat your actions.

15. As a strong drummer you become the center of a band. Without a good drummer a band is just a lot of noise. If you learn how to play drums, you set the tone, the beat, the rhythm and the mood of a song. A strong drummer can enhance any band or any musical production, which makes it an invaluable musical skill.

Read the full article at mamiverse.com
 



Tags: drums, drumming, back to school, band, percussion, exercise, 15 reasons, develop
Categories: Drums & Percussion, Music Advocacy
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West Music and The University of Iowa team up for World Music Drumming
By West Music Company
8/3/2015 9:40:00 AM  
West Music's Melissa Blum and The University of Iowa (UI) teamed up this summer to bring the World Music Drumming Workshop to the University of Iowa campus. Over 60 educators from Iowa and other areas participated in workshops focusing on learning how to lead world drumming ensembles in their own music classrooms. In the video below you will see music educators smiling, singing and laughing as they collaborate and learn how to play a wide variety of percussion instruments. UI associate professor of music education, Mary Cohen shared, “This training provided music teachers with ways to engage their learners in active music-making with meaningful and valuable objectives that relate both to music making and living as cooperative citizens."

"World Music Drumming workshops have taken place over the past 19 years. I’ve had the honor of been a part of them for 12 years as a West Music Educational Consultant, and the past seven years as a member of the World Music Drumming Faculty, creating and teaching the Drumming Up the Fun! class. In all of this time we’ve never had an Iowa training. To have this opportunity it our own backyard--at my alma mater--and to see the incredible enthusiasm of the participants was truly inspiring!"

-Melissa Blum, World Music Drumming Faculty Member and Vice President/Director of National Sales and Service at West Music


Read the full article here.



Tags: world music drumming workshop, university of iowa, college of education, school of music, iowa memorial union, drumming, percussion, tubano, music education
Categories: Drums & Percussion, Music Education
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Tom's Mallets Now Available Through West Music
By West Music Company
7/24/2015 11:52:00 AM  

West Music is now the exclusive dealer of Tom's Mallets! Here is what Tom has to say about the union:

"In order to give me more time for building marimbas I have asked West Music to be the SOLE outlet for Tom's Mallets. West Music is a major US music retailer and they specialize in working with music educators. So they can handle regular purchases, school P.O.s, whatever."

"All my regular mallets are available through West - Hard (red), Medium (green) and Soft (yellow), plus Tenor, Baritone and Bass mallets. Same mallets, new distribution!"




Tags: Tom's Mallets, marimbas, mallets, bourne marimbas
Categories: Drums & Percussion
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Why Under Three Years of Age?
By West Music Company
1/12/2015 9:58:00 AM  

Sometimes our customers mention that they've given an instrument to a child who is younger than the recommended age because "they are so advanced". While we have no doubt that West Music's tiniest customers are among the best and the brightest, items for older children are labeled that way primarily for safety reasons. Items in the Under Age 3 category have been tested rigorously to ensure that they are free of small parts, sharp edges, hazardous shapes, and other potential dangers. Please take care in choosing the safest products for your smallest musicians!




Tags: music, child, children, west music, 3, three, years, recommended age
Categories: Drums & Percussion, Kids & Movement, Company Culture, Music Education
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Make It A World Music Drumming Summer!
By Melissa Blum
6/5/2014 2:12:00 PM  

Join West Music’s Melissa Blum for Drumming Up the Fun! A week-long workshop for teachers of children ages 3-8, part of the World Music Drumming Summer Workshops!

Now in its 6th year, Drumming Up the Fun! combines Melissa’s passion for Early Childhood Music and Movement and World Music Drumming! Join us as we explore:

  • Understanding and experiencing some the World Music Drumming Ensembles in their original form and learning how to adapt them without “losing the groove!”
  • Adding Early Childhood Songs to the ensembles to create program ideas for parent night, open houses, and other performance opportunities
  • Creating Sound Stories using wonderful children’s literature, percussion, sound effects instruments and more!
  • Personal Musical Growth on Remo Tubanos and other percussion instruments
  • Working with the amazing World Music Drumming Staff to explore other “tried and true” ways to incorporate drums and percussion in the early childhood classroom!

3 locations for summer 2014!

  • June 9-13 Tampa, FL
  • June 22-27 Oconomowoc, WI
  • July 21-25 Boston, MA


About Melissa:
Melissa Blum has over 25 years experience teaching music at the pre-K, elementary, middle school, and adult levels. She is a Vice President at West Music, where she is Director of National Sales and Service and an Educational Consultant for early childhood products and World Music Drumming. She has participated in the World Music Drumming summer workshops since 2004, completing Levels 1, 2, and 3 multiple times, and has completed Remo HealthRHYTHMS facilitator training. She has facilitated World Music Drumming ensembles as a team-building exercise at a variety of corporate and community events for children and adults, and is a clinician for daycare/preschool providers and ECMM educators on the topic of incorporating developmentally appropriate music activities in the pre-k classroom setting. Melissa has a Bachelor of Music degree and K-12 Music Education Certification from The University of Iowa, and has completed graduate coursework in Music Education and General Education.



Make it a World Music Drumming Summer!

West Music is pleased to provide instruments and materials for the Summer 2014 World Music Drumming Workshops with Will Schmid!

June 2-6 Rapid City, SD (Level 1, Kids, Choir & Drums)
June 9-13 Tampa, FL (Levels 1,2,3, Drumming Up the Fun)
June 16-20 Albuquerque, NM (Levels 1,2)
June 16-20 Columbus, OH (Level 1)
June 16-20 Houston, TX (Level 1, Curriculum Update - NEW!)
June 22-27 Oconomowoc, WI (Levels 1,2,3, Drumming Up the Fun, Kids, Choir & Drums)
July 7-11 Boulder, CO (Level 1)
July 7-11 Leesburg, VA (Levels 1, 2, 3)
July 14-18 St. Louis (Level 1, Curriculum Update - NEW!)
July 21-25 Boston, MA (Levels 1,2, Drumming Up the fun, Walt Hampton Hot Marimba)
July 28-Aug.1 Portland, OR (Levels 1, 2, Walt Hampton Hot Marimba)

 
Wondering what happens at these life-changing week-long workshops for teachers? Check out this “sampler video” made by 2010 participant Lorrie Heagy!


More workshop information and registration can be found at www.worldmusicdrumming.com





Looking for ways to incorporate World Music Drumming in your classroom? Check out some of our best selling instruments, books and resources!


Remo 100 Series Key-Tuned Kintekloth Tubano

Remo Key-Tuned Tubanos are literally the West Music product I use more than any other.  They are the foundation of the World Music Drumming Curriculum and are ideally suited for use in General Music Classrooms:

The sturdy feet mean the drum does not have to be tipped to play.
The synthetic head and acousticon body are easily cleaned—you can even use a regular antibacterial wipe on them.
Investing in the key-tuned series means you can keep the drums sounding just as you want them, with varied voicing among the different sized drums.
You will never regret this purchase!






Remo AK-4104 Key-Tuned Standing Ngoma Drum

Traditional West African drum, drum-key tunable, 40" tall with a 14" head. Meant to be played with sticks (not included) or with the hands. Designed by the legendary Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji, the timbre of this drum is similar to a conga or large tubano, only bigger. The standing ngoma comes with a high-density molded base which protect the bottom of the shell, minimizes the drums walking during play, and raises drum off the floor to increase the tone quality and projection.











Remo World Music Drumming Series Drumming Package A

"After taking Will Schmid's World Music Drumming course I had to get the Remo World Music Drumming (Package A) it'is a great set of drums perfect for my middle school general music classes! With 16 drums and a leader's drum, there are enough drums for everyone to play at the same time without waiting to share an instrument. The additional percussion instruments are also great to add different timbres to the sound of the drums. I have also used these in my church and am looking to purchase another set to use there. These are lots of fun to play and immediately gets everyone involved in music making!" - Customer Review








World Music Drumming Cross-Cultural Curriculum by Will Schmid World Music Drumming is a cross-cultural curriculum to learn drumming techniques, learn songs with accompaniment and movement, connect African andLatin American cultural traditions to the music performed, and discover how music can be the perfect vehicle for teaching team building, respect, focusing, listening, problem solving, and other important life skills. The curriculum is aimed at grades 6-8 but includes extensions for lower grades and high school.
The teacher guide provides 30 lesson plans with goals and objectives, step-by-step teaching process of new techniques and songs, review materials, sharing activities, cultural connections, ensemble work, Q & A section, assessment, and supplemental ideas.
The student book contains reproducible pages with maps, cultural information, vocabulary practice,assessment exercises, and songs.
The DVD shows middle school students in a classroom setting, demonstrating the drumming techniques and ensembles for the World Music Drumming curriculum.




Beatbox: World Music Drumming 101 by Will Schmid

Kids love to drum! No matter what instruments you have or don't have available, BeatBox will get you started. Students will experience a variety of world drumming styles as they accompany folk melodies and original songs. Music inspirations include a basic rock drumming pattern, the sound of a mbira (thumb piano) with xylophones, a Haitian meringue ensemble, body percussion from the tradition of hambone and step-dancing, and a lively fiddle tune with an Irish bodhran drumming part. 
Experiment with call and response, layered ostinatos, syncopation and improvisation. Learn the Bamboo Tamboo from the Caribbean, the Highlife from West Africa, and how to make a drum talk.




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Categories: Orff, Drums & Percussion
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