Middle school directors looking for a simple melodic work for their program would find a good candidate in Close Your Eyes and Dream. The possible addition of vocals also makes it a great opportunity to collaborate with choral directors, and the option to augment the forces with flexible instrumentation makes this a good piece to have in your library.
Vol. 56, No. 3, July 2018
You can read the entire review here.
Here’s an awesome performance of ‘Begin Transmission’ by Murrah High School Percussion Ensemble!
I’m happy to report another exciting year in the world of byHerndon!
- All The Trees Clap Their Hands was premiered by the Milton High School Indoor Drumline and received a shout out from Chad Floyd who composed “Summer Treehouse” which was featured in the show as source music.
- The Tipping Point (performed by the Milton High School Marching Band) was selected as a BOA Powder Springs 3rd Place Finalist
- I had three new pieces published by Tapspace:
- Toboggan was performed by the Creekland Middle School Percussion Ensemble at the University of Georgia Middle School Band Festival
- Begin Transmission was performed by the Vandegrift High School Percussion Ensemble at the Midwest Clinic
I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who has shared my work with your students and audiences this year and the happiest of New Years to everyone.
Looking forward to 2018!
Continuing a five-year tradition, the 9th Grade Percussion class worked up Toboggan after the Fall Concert to perform at the Winter Concert.
They only had a week to do this! It’s a good example of how “easier” pieces can be appropriate for more advanced ensembles if the timeframe is short.
I was able to catch it from the catwalk in the auditorium.
Begin Transmission finds itself in some very good company on this repertoire list from Christopher Dandele’s presentation, “SCHLAGZEUFEST! and Other Strategies to Create a Culture of Excellence in Your Percussion Section”. (That is a mouthful!)
Mr. Dandeles presented at the Illinois Music Education Conference in January, 2017.
The following is from Percussive Notes, Vol. 55, No. 2, May 2017:
The repertoire for beginning students is thankfully expanding, and Begin Transmission by John Herndon is a fantastic addition for providing students an opportunity to apply skills learned in the first year of percussion study into an accessible and lively piece.
Although written for 13 players, Herndon provides the performing ensemble with options to omit parts for smaller ensembles of eight players.
Begin Transmission takes a fairly simple theme derived from the first five notes of the D-minor scale and manipulates the timbres and textures around it to create a very fun and engaging ensemble work lasting just over two minutes.
It is the perfect piece for a young ensemble, using only eighth-note rhythms and larger—with the exception of the snare drum’s use of sixteenth notes at the end of the piece.
Another great feature of the work is Herndon’s use of timbral changes for the percussion parts, where players are asked to either switch instruments or play on the rim instead of the head.
The mallet parts are simple and repetitive yet entertaining, providing a great experience for players and audience members. The accompanying players often lay a groundwork of steady eighth notes under the melody, providing the piece with constant forward momentum from beginning to end.
Herndon successfully wrote an exciting piece for students to apply newly learned skills.
This one is worth a look!
The following is from Percussive Notes, Vol.55, No. 1 – March 2017:
Toboggan is a simply delightful work by John Herndon for beginning or intermediate percussion ensemble that depicts a short, fast ride on a small sled. At least ten players are needed, and the piece uses standard percussion instruments that should be found in every band room.
The composer states, “The piece starts by capturing the excitement of finding new-fallen snow. The descent swishes and jingles at high speed through sudden direction changes, patches of rough snow, and the gentle rising and falling of fresh powder. Toboggan ends, as sled rides often do, with a playful crash into a snowdrift.”
The parts are expertly written to accommodate the varying levels of a middle school percussionist while providing a fun challenging experience for all. It is especially excellent that Toboggan gives players a chance to apply some basic technical skills (scales, natural sticking, reading, and dynamics) that most beginning and intermediate percussionists would be working on already.
Toboggan would be a welcome addition to any fall or holiday concert and will help codify important skills for percussionists.