Audition Etudes

An important part of helping your students grow as musicians is knowing where they currently stand. Holding Class Placement Auditions can help you get a handle on exactly that. By evaluating student’s performance of the same etudes you should be able to group them into those displaying basic, intermediate, and advanced skills.

These Audition Etudes focus on three primary areas of percussion: Concert Percussion, Marimba, and Timpani.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Concert Percussion Audition Etude provides an opportunity to evaluate students performing on a variety of commonly used percussion instruments: Suspended Cymbal, Triangle, Tambourine, Hand Cymbals, Concert Bass Drum, and Snare Drum.

This Marimba Audition Etude  samples a variety of skill sets: basic four mallet technique, performing arpeggios, diatonic and chromatic scales.

The students should be evaluated on how they tune the instruments before they perform the Timpani Audition Etude .

Feel free to download and use to help audition your percussionists!

 

Percussion Ensemble Repertoire Recommendations: High School Pieces with Variable Difficulty Levels

Enlight348

One of the challenges of selecting percussion ensemble repertoire for educational ensembles is handling the different ability levels that are present within an ensemble.

Invariably some students are more advanced and become bored with “easy” parts. Conversely, some students are still developing basic skills and can be overwhelmed (and not educationally served) by advanced repertoire. Sometimes those students are in the same class…

What do you do?

One solution is to choose percussion ensemble pieces that include parts of variable difficulty levels.

What follows are three suggestions for just those types of pieces.  I’ve included links to Tapspace where you can find more information about the pieces and I’ve listed the general difficulty level of each part in each piece, below. I use a 5-tiered system for ranking the difficulty levels of the parts: Easy, Medium-Easy, Medium, Medium-Advanced, Advanced.

I have programmed these pieces multiple times with my groups over the years. I return to them for their educational merit and because they provide the opportunity to meet every student wherever they are in their percussion education.

I hope these pieces serve you as well as they have me and my students 🥁

Now The Day Is Over by John Willmarth

  • Glock: Medium-Easy
  • Marimba 1: Medium-Advanced
  • Marimba 2: Medium
  • Vibe 1: Medium
  • Vibe 2: Medium-Easy
  • Chimes: Easy
  • Piano: Student, Medium |Accompanist, Easy
  • Percussion 1: Medium-Easy
  • Percussion 2: Easy

Dystopia by Jim Casella

  • Glock: Medium-Easy
  • Vibe 1: Medium
  • Vibe 2: Medium
  • Marimba 1: Medium-Advanced
  • Marimba 2: Medium-Advanced
  • Timpani: Medium
  • Piano: Student, Medium-Advanced |Accompanist, Medium-Easy
  • Chimes: Easy
  • Percussion: Medium-Easy
  • Military Drum: Medium-Easy
  • Snare Drum: Medium-Easy
  • Tam-Tam: Easy
  • Tom-Toms: Medium
  • Cymbals: Easy
  • Bass Drum: Medium-Easy

The River by Seth Adams

  • Glock: Medium-Easy
  • Chimes: Easy
  • Vibes: Medium
  • Marimba: Medium-Advanced
  • Piano*: Student, Medium-Advanced | Accompanist, Medium-Easy
  • Timpani: Medium-Advanced
  • Bass Guitar*: Student, Medium-Advanced | Accompanist, Medium-Easy
  • Percussion 1: Easy
  • Percussion 2:
  • Percussion 3:
  • Percussion 4: Easy

*Though it is more effective with them, The River may be performed without Piano and Bass Guitar.

‘Jalopy’s Most Important Audience

‘Jalopy’s Most Important Audience

Last year I released a piece entitled Jalopy that is dedicated to my grandfather, Cleo “Grandaddy” Herndon, who passed away in 2009.

During a trip in June to South Georgia I had the chance to play a recording of it for the most important audience that will ever hear it: Cleo’s widow, my grandmother, Rosalyn “Munnie” Herndon.

Enlight70

She recently turned 91 and lives in a nursing home where she says she is “blessed” to have people to take care of her and a private room to retreat to when she would like to be alone. Her room is full of books, artwork she made as well as some from her children and grandchildren, and pictures of her family.

Beside her bed is a picture of Cleo.

 

‘Close Your Eyes and Dream’ in Percussive Notes

‘Close Your Eyes and Dream’ in Percussive Notes

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.

—Brian Nozny
Percussive Notes
Vol. 56, No. 3, July 2018

You can read the entire review here.