Spring 2009 Time: T & R 9:30‑10:45 Room: CA 1080

Instructor: John Rack, Ph.D.

Office: CA 1053 Hours: TBA Phone: 962‑3729



Course packet available from the campus bookstore or Seahawk Books



Drumsticks Vic Firth SD1 or approved equivalent model



Provides basic training on the percussion instruments of the band and orchestra

and an introduction to the drum set and ethnic percussion. Performance

technique and pedagogy are covered. Intended for music education majors or

students with knowledge of musical notation seeking beginning training on all

percussion instruments.




  1. Rudimentary performance skills on all instruments covered
  2. Knowledge of the mechanics of percussion instruments and basic maintenance

3.    Knowledge of unique notation in percussion music

  1. Pedagogical knowledge required for beginning instruction on the percussion instruments covered
  2. Demonstrate basic rhythmic competence




  • Regular attendance and successful participation in class activities (Remember that anything covered in class is a potential test item.)
  • Passing grade on a snare drum performance test (This may be retaken up to the last day of classes.)
  • Passing average grade on written tests for each unit of study, based on lectures and course packet
  • Successfully teach two mini-lessons to a beginner, approximately 10 minutes each, on snare drum and one instructor‑approved instrument. Your student(s) must have no prior experience with percussion. To be scheduled with the instructor. Snare drum lessons will occur during the two weeks after Unit I (before spring break). The other lesson can occur anytime through the last day of classes (not during exams).




Written tests (4) 60% (15% each)

Snare drum performance test 20%

Teaching lessons (2 areas) 20% (10% each)


A 10-point grading scale will be used for written tests. (criterion-referenced)


A A B+ B B C+ C C- D+ D

100‑93 92‑90 89‑87 86‑83 82‑80 79-77 76-73 72-70 69-67 66-63 etc.


Snare drum performance tests and lesson teaching will be graded based on the

Average score in the class (norm-referenced).


Your snare drum performance will be judged in 5 categories:

(1) tempo (2) technique (3) sticking (4) rhythm (5) rudiments


A 5-point scale will be used for evaluation in each snare drum

performance category:


5 = 0-2 minor flaws

4 = 1 major flaw with 1-2 minor flaws, or 3-4 minor flaws

3 = 2 major flaws with 1-2 minor flaws, or 5-6 minor flaws

2 = 3 major flaws with up to 3 minor flaws, or 7 minor flaws

1 = 4 or more major flaws or 8 or more minor flaws


Major flaw examples = uncorrected fulcrum position; uncorrected wrong rhythm; failure to alternate consecutive rolls; failure to alternate flams; several tempo inconsistencies; not pulsing rolls


Minor flaw examples = one missed sticking; tempo slightly under what is recommended; rushing a rhythm; flams too open


Your teaching effectiveness will be judged in 5 categories:


Appropriate objectives/expectations


5 = shows clear knowledge of what is appropriate for a beginner

4 = a minor shortcoming in appropriateness, such as one missed step in pedagogy

3 = a major shortcoming in appropriateness, such as missing a series of pedagogy steps

2 = more than one major shortcoming in knowledge of what is appropriate for a beginner

1 = no evidence of knowledge of what is appropriate for a beginner


Demonstration of technique


5 = Exemplary technique for a beginning teacher, with only an occasional minor flaw

4 = Provides a good model but with several minor flaws, such as uneven

rebound height, inappropriate speed in motion of cymbal crashes, inconsistent execution of thumb rolls

3 = Modeling shows at least one major flaw, such as using arm movement instead of wrist, consistently striking bars in wrong area, no angle on cymbal crashes; and several minor flaws.

2 = Modeling shows two major flaws and several minor flaws

1 = Little evidence of any appropriate aspects of technique


Clarity of explanations


5 = Highly effective, as evident in student performance results

4 = Not always clear or helpful at first, but with continued effort the desired learning outcome results most of the time

3 = Sometimes ineffective, resulting in less than desired performance results

2 = Generally ineffective, showing little knowledge of how to correct the problem

1 = Knowledge of subject matter is clearly not evident and explanations are ineffective


Accurate analysis of problems


5 = Shows clear insight into analyzing problems, with no more than 1-2 minor delays in analyzing a problem

4 = Analysis is accurate in all major areas, with only missed analysis in 1-2 minor areas

3 = Sometimes ineffective, resulting in 1-2 undiagnosed major problems, or 3-4 minor problems

2 = Generally ineffective, showing a lack of skills in observation and diagnosis of problems, student performance suffers from lack of insight into most problems

1 = Shows no knowledge of performance problems or ability to observe


Effective solution/procedure for solving any problems


5 = Prescribed solutions are consistently effective

4 = Attempted solutions are generally effective, only needing an adjustment before success 1-2 times

3 = Solutions are ineffective 1-2 times, or needing adjustments before success 3-4 times

2 = Solutions are ineffective 3-4 times

1 = Shows no knowledge of effective procedures for diagnosed problems





1/8‑2/5 Unit I: Snare Drum & Rhythmics (9 classes)

2/10 Test #1 ‑ Unit I (written) and

Performance Test - Snare Drum

2/12‑2/24 Unit II: Bass Drum, Cymbals, and Accessories (4 classes)

(Also, schedule snare drum teaching during this time)

2/26 Test #2 Unit II

3/3-3/17 Unit III: Keyboard Percussion (3 classes)

3/19‑3/26 Unit IV: Timpani (3 classes)

3/31 Test #3 ‑ Unit III & IV

4/2‑4/14 Unit V: Drumset/Latin Percussion (3 classes)

4/16-4/21 Unit VI: Marching Percussion (2 classes)

4/23-4/28 catch-up days/teach second lesson

5/5 Test #4 - Units V & VI (10:00 a.m.)




The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is committed to the proposition that the pursuit of truth requires the presence of honesty among all involved. It is therefore this institution's stated policy that no form of dishonesty among its faculty or students will be tolerated. Although members of the university community are encouraged to report occurrences of dishonesty, each individual is principally responsible for his or her own honesty.

All students are encouraged to read section V "Academic Honor Code" (p.76), in the UNCW Student Handbook, for definitions of plagiarism, bribery, and cheating, and the procedures for reporting and adjudication of any activities involving student dishonesty.


UNCW practices a zero-tolerance policy for violence and harassment of any kind. For emergencies contact UNCW CARE at 962-2273, Campus Police at 962-3184, or Wilmington Police at 911. For University or community resources visit




Combs, F. Michael. Percussion Manual, 2nd Ed. Wadsworth, 1995


A comprehensive manual containing essential instructional information about the full complement of percussion instruments. Building on the first chapter's in-depth coverage of the snare drum, the most practical instrument for the development of basic musical and technical skills, Combs discusses an array of percussion instruments in following chapters. Multiple photographs illustrate many of the techniques discussed for specific percussion instruments. A variety of exercises help develop students' skills. This training manual contains lists of literature, methods books, recordings, and pertinent addresses.


Cook, Gary. Teaching Percussion, 3rd Edition (with DVD)

A highly recommended desktop reference for high school-level teaching


Girsberger, Russ. Percussion Assignments for Band and Wind Ensemble, vol 1. Meredith, 2001

This two-volume publication provides guidelines on percussion player and instrument requirements for over 2,000 concert band and wind ensemble works. It contains helpful information for conductors, section leaders, stage managers, equipment managers and ensemble librarians.


McCormick, Robert. Percussion for Musicians. 1999


Percussion Education: A Source Book of Concepts and Information. Percussive Arts Society, 1990


Siwe, Thomas (Ed.). Percussion Ensemble and Solo Literature. 1993


Solomon, Samuel. How to Write for Percussion. 2004


Teaching Wind and Percussion Instruments. MENC, 1991


Whaley, Garwood, et al. The Art of Percussion Playing. Meredith, 2006


This book combines The Art of Tambourine, Triangle, Bass Drum, Cymbals, and Percussion Accessory Playing into one volume. It includes history, selection, and performance techniques. It is designed for methods classes, school instrumental music classes and anyone interested in acquiring an in-depth understanding of percussion instruments. Especially useful for conductors, composers and arrangers since all essential techniques are covered in short etudes composed for each instrument.