Percussion vs. Drums
Beginning Band uses percussion instruments. If your child is interested in “playing drums” or
learning drumset, this may not be exactly what he/she is looking for. “Percussion”
includes: snare drum, keyboards (e.g., xylophone), timpani and accessories (e.g.,
cymbals, bass drum, triangle, etc.).
Drumset at home?
Having a drumset at home does not guarantee a spot in the percussion section. A lot of it
depends on the audition procedure.
What is the audition procedure?
Each student will be required to perform a series of rhythm and coordination tests. This
includes: foot-hand coordination, hand-finger dexterity, rhythmic imitation, natural stick
control, timing skills, and a natural sense of pulse. It has been my experience that
students who auditioned well and possessed many of the necessary traits ended up being
successful. Students who had a difficult time demonstrating these skills struggled
in the class, including those who “worked really hard” or “really wanted it”. We want
your child to be successful in band and to enjoy the band experience. I do my best to
place students on the instrument that is best suited to their physical attributes.
Having had piano or drum lessons will definitely help in the audition procedure, but will
not guarantee placement in the percussion section.
We cannot have a band composed of just drummers. There are only 3 or 4 percussionists
in each of our 2 bands at the 6th grade levels. Therefore, 6 to 8 percussionists is
the maximum in the 6th grade.
Percussion students perform on school-owned instruments (e.g., bass drum, timpani,
xylophone, cymbals and snare drum) and most band arrangements require just 4 or 5
players. If we do not limit the percussion class, there would be many students who do
not get to perform in all of the songs and would miss out on a great experience.