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Percussion Mission Statement
The Percussion Program at Radford University strives to provide students with a comprehensive education in percussion and music, working towards the goal of preparing students with the necessary skills and knowledge that are required to succeed in today’s competitive music market.
Each student receives a one‐hour lesson per week from the instructor. The lessons cover a broad range of topics and techniques related to the percussive arts, with the ultimate goal being the creation of a student who is versatile and knowledgeable in both the technical and pedagogical aspects of percussion. The freshman and sophomore years are largely guided by the instructor, as there are core technical abilities that are critical to each student’s success. As the student continues and grows throughout their time at Radford, they take over the decision making process and the instructor becomes more of an accessory, helping to guide their decisions as well as offering the necessary insight both musical and otherwise to achieve their goals.
Sample Freshman Percussion Curriculum
1. Snare Drum
2. Introduce “six stroke” method along with basic positioning and mechanics
- Staccato, legato, accent tap, multiple bounce, control bounce, upstroke)
- Use mirror from various angles
- Introduce specific concert drumming technique buildersie Doug Howard exercises, Erik Forrester exercises
- Alternative grip styles
- Buzz roll development
- Flam development
- Sound/Timbre awareness
3. Relate “strokes” to Rudiments by category: single strokes, rolls,
- Diddles, flams, and drags
4. “Syncopation” by Ted Reed
- Natural sticking concept
- Audible counting
- Alternative notation
5. “Modern School for Snare Drum” by M. Goldenberg
- Apply concert drumming techniques to solo/etude based literature
- Beginning preparation for excerpts
6. “Modern Swing Solos for the Advanced Drummer”
For additional questions related to curriculum, view full four-year sample curriculum (PDF) for the percussion department.
The percussion department has six dedicated practice rooms, as well as access to Dr. Sanderl's office in the evening hours. In the last three years, the percussion program has acquired over $40,000 in new percussion equipment, including a new xylophone, glockenspiel, vibraphone, five octave marimba, set of five timpani and chimes. The program has three 5.0 octave marimbas, three sets of timpani available for students to use along with the other equipment.
During the evening hours, percussion students also have acces to both large ensemble rooms in the Covington Center for ensemble or multiple percussion practice. With a studio average of 16 students, practice space is usually available at all times. The percussion ensemble performs in the 350-seat, state-of-the-art Performance Hall in the Covington Center, which is located only a few feet from the practice rooms.