Music 195, 196, 197, 395, 396, 397-018 Applied Percussion

Instructor:  John Rack, Ph.D.

Office: CA1053   Phone: 962-3729   Hours: TBA




Private instruction on percussion instruments




  • Study percussion music representative of the contemporary period, as well as transcriptions of music from various style periods
  • Development of technique on various percussion instruments including keyboard, timpani, snare drum, and multiple setups
  • Development of musical interpretation skills
  • Development of performance skills




  • Permission from the instructor
  • Audition before a music faculty panel for all music majors and minors




  • MUSLAB-218 (weekly seminar)




  • MUS195 & 395 require a minimum of 5 hours weekly practice
  • MUS196 & 396 require a minimum of 10 hours weekly practice 
  • MUS197 & 397 require a minimum of 15 hours weekly practice
  • Attendance at fourteen weekly lessons. 
  • Attendance and participation at the weekly percussion seminar and the monthly departmental seminar
  • A minimum of one performance at the departmental seminar (optional for Freshmen)
  • End-of-semester jury before a faculty panel.  This will include a representative piece on each instrument studied and possibly scales and rudiments.
  • All music majors need to attend a minimum of 8 musical performances during a semester. 


Attendance Policy and Procedures:


·        If you must miss a lesson, notify the instructor as soon as possible, preferably at least 24 hours prior to the lesson. 

·        If an emergency forces you to give no prior notice, get a message to the instructor ASAP after the missed lesson. 

·        Scheduling a makeup for a lesson missed due to your absence is at the discretion of the instructor. 

·        If you fail to attend a makeup lesson, no more makeup lessons will be scheduled for lessons missed due to your absence.

·        In the event of the instructor’s absence, a makeup lesson is mandatory and will be scheduled at the convenience of the instructor and student. 




  • Weekly lesson grades will be assigned, and explained if requested.  Advisory grades will be explained at approximately 5-week intervals during the semester.  Each advisory grade represents the average of grades earned for that portion of the semester.


  • A contract will be written stating the specific techniques and repertoire expected to be covered during the semester.


A = Conscientious preparation of assigned material.  Playing shows responsiveness to musical and technical guidance.  Achievement shows evidence of the required hours of practice. 


B = Preparation of assigned material is generally acceptable, but minor deficiency in preparation on one instrument or etude is evident.  Responsiveness to musical or technical guidance is inconsistent.  Achievement shows evidence of a minor shortfall in the required hours of practice. 


C = Deficient in preparation of 1/3 to 1/2 of assigned material.  Responsiveness to musical and technical guidance is lacking.  Achievement shows evidence of a significant shortfall in the required hours of practice.


D = Deficient in preparation of the majority of assigned materials.  Playing shows evidence of very few hours of practice.


F = A missed lesson without makeup.


Remember, your semester grade is 75% lesson average and 25% jury grade (Conscientious preparation of jury music carries more importance than the actual performance).  Your semester grade in applied music may also be negatively affected by deficiencies in seminar attendance and participation, and/or in concert attendance requirements.




Percussion students are encouraged to be members of the Percussive Arts Society (  Students can get an inexpensive on-line membership, which includes an electronic subscription to the journal Percussive Notes, and discounted admission to PASIC (the international convention) held annually in November. 




·        Below is a minimum needs list for beginning your studies in percussion.  Beyond the minimum, as needs arise from the music in your lessons and ensembles, you will be expected to obtain the necessary mallets and equipment to perform the music satisfactorily. 

·        Specific models listed are only suggestions.  Consult the instructor and determine which will suit your needs.

·        Lacking the required equipment will be viewed the same as deficiency in lesson preparation.


Snare Drum Sticks: (one pair of either)

·        Vic Firth SATK

·        Vic Firth SD1 


Yarn-wrapped marimba mallets: (two different pairs, either rattan or birch handles)

·        medium soft (Innovative 200,602; Balter 14, 114; Encore 43; Weiss R2)

·        medium (Balter 13 or 61; Innovative 603)

·        medium hard (Balter 12, 22R; Weiss R3; Innovative 604)


Timpani mallets: (two pairs)

·        general (Innovative Percussion CT2, CT3; Black Swamp or Pro Mark bamboo)

·        staccato (Innovative Percussion CT4; Black Swamp or Pro Mark bamboo)


Rubber keyboard mallets: (two different pairs, rattan handles are recommended)

·        medium (Musser M212 or M213; Balter 4R, 104R)

·        hard ( Balter 6R, 106R; Musser M214)


Plastic bell mallets: (rattan handles are recommended)

·        Grover M1, M2; Firth M141; Encore 205R


·        Dark color hand towel (for cleaning timpani heads after use & for placing under mallets, etc. on a music stand)

·        Metronome (one that you can hear while playing a drum, either with a pair of headphones or a loud speaker) 

·        Tuning fork in "A" (or “Bb”)