Keyboard Percussion Curriculum

Ruth Cahn, Instructor

The goal of the percussion department is to use the “wonderful world of percussion instrument” study to connect the student with the wider world of music. Our other lead goal is to build both technical and musical skills of students so that they will become valued participants in their school and community music programs. Orchestra or total percussion instruction may start with the snare drum, but will include keyboard and timpani instruction. Students may be accepted who wish to study just one instrument, for example marimba. We encourage all students to reach level V on snare drum so that they will have a solid skill set to apply to drum set study.

 


Level I

Suggested Methods

G. Green — Elementary Studies
Joliff — Music for Marimba Vol. 1
McMillan — Keyboard Percussion Technique

 

Solos

Hathway/Wright — Graded Music for Tuned Percussion Book 1
Barnett — Musical Clock
J. Lamb — Classic Festival Solos Vol. 2

 

Technique

Reaching exercises single and double directions in C, F, G, D, Bb, A, and Eb
All major scales and arpeggios one octave keys: C, G, F, D, Bb, A, Eb
Legato roll and leading hand exercises
Alternating sticking protocol
Good hand position/ Fulcrum

 

Musicianship

Dynamics F and p as needed
Identifying musical phrases
Ear Training-identifying intervals by sight and sound.
Playing familiar tunes by ear in different keys.
Naming the different keyboard instruments and the sticks
normally used on them.

Sight read– keeping eyes on the music

 

Ensemble

Playing bell parts in school band
Read the music and see the conductor with no memorizing

 


Level II

Methods

G. Green — Elementary Studies
McMillan — Keyboard Percussion Techniques
Joliff — Music for Marimba Vol. 2

 

Solos

Hathway/Wright — Graded Music for Tuned Percussion
Elgar/M. Boo — Chanson de Nuit
M. Peters — Chant for Marimba
L. Pimentel/Moore — Solo Marimbist

Technique

Reaching exercises in all keys, both directions
Scales and arpeggios in all keys-one octave
3 mallet technique well developed-2 sticks in left hand/ 2 sticks in right hand

 

Musicianship

Good voicing between chords in 3 mallets / Legato chord connections
Two mallet playing at faster tempos with good inner rhythm
Developing an ability to evaluate sticking choices
Continue sight reading emphasis – read at sight level I materials
Continue development of phrasing

 

Ensemble

At school playing bells, xylophone, marimba
Reading the music with appropriate dynamics
Continue development of watching conductor and music

 


Level III

Methods

Joliff — Music for Marimba Vol. 2
Green — Instruction Course for the Xylophone
McMillan — Masterpieces for Marimba

 

Solos

M. Peters — Sea Refractions
T. Frazeur — A Quiet Place
Gomez — Scenes from Mexico
Brahms — Hungarian Dance #5

 

Technique

4 mallet technique usable in both chordal, arpeggiated and independent mallet styles
Even tone quality on two mallet technical passages / Listen and execute
Analyze patterns- grouped by ideo- Kinetic movement
2 octave scales and arpeggios: Keys C, G, F, D, Bb, A, Eb

 

Musicianship

Full dynamic range – good use of expression
Creative use of marimba tone by student
Performs well from memory in solos
Continue sight-reading emphasis – duets

 

Ensemble

Plays well with an accompanist
Participates in school ensembles on all mallet instruments –
Possibly All County Ensembles
Switches between mallet instruments in ready for ECMS percussion ensemble

 


Level IV

Methods

McMillanMasterpieces for Marimba
Moore — Bach for Marimba
Green — Instruction Course for the Xylophone

 

Solos

Moore/Bach — Kom Susser Tod/Bach for Marimba
Hathway/Wright — Graded Music for Tuned Percussion Bk.3
Kreisler/Green — Caprice Vennois
Lecuona/Peterson — Malaguena

 

Technique

Well-developed rolled legato – 2 and 4 mallets
Good use of doublings when appropriate in sticking patterns
Ability to choose own sticking and explain choices
Solidify inner rhythm

 

Musicianship

Plays several recitals each year-with or without accompanist
Good expression and energy in playing
Memorizes pieces more quickly continuing emphasis on sight-reading
Creative execution of musical content independent of teacher

 

Ensemble

Adds experience with chimes and vibes (vibe pedaling)
May try playing with jazz ensemble at school
Ready to play in school musicals
Participates in All County Festivals & Ensembles & ECMS percussion ensembles

 


Level V: Diploma level

Methods

Green — Instruction Course for the Xylophone
Moore/Bach — Bach for Marimba
Goldenberg — Modern School for the Xylophone
Stevens — Methods of Movement

 

Solos

Moore/Bach — Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring/Bach for Marimba
Bach — Violin Concerto in a minor
Breuer — Mallet Solo Collection
Hathway/Wright — Graded Music for Tuned Percussion Book 4
Peters — Yellow After the Rain

 

Technique

Emphasis on virtuoso 2 mallet techniques
Developing the Ragtime Style on xylophone
Expanding 4 mallet repertory

 

Musicianship

Developing expression and style in a wide range of music
Beginning studies of orchestra repertoire
Several recitals from memory this year
Sight-read at level IV material securely
Explore tonal qualities

 

Ensemble

Solo work with school ensembles, All County and All State Auditions, youth orchestras and community groups
ECMS percussion ensemble

 


Level VI: Honors Diploma

Methods

Stevens — Methods of Movement for Marimba
Green — Instruction Course for the Xylophone
Delecluse — Twenty Studies for Xylophone after Kreutzer

 

Solos

Creston — Concertino
Bach — Sonatas and Partitas for Violin
Musser — Etudes
Hathway/Wright — Graded Music for Tuned Percussion Book 4

 

Technique

Consistent and reliable viruosity in 2 and 4 mallet techniques
Developed “independent style” of 4 mallet techniques
Good ragtime style
Extreme high level of accuracy
Excellent sight-reader including all musical elements

 

Musicianship

Exciting performer to watch and to hear – a person who considers all aspects of a performance in presentation
Ability to analyze and choose appropriate interpretation and make creative decisions
Interest in exploring solo and orchestral repertory
Effective use of ideo kinetics

 

Ensembles

Soloist with school ensembles, chamber music experience without a conductor, performs with local community ensembles as soloist, enters competitions, performs at area master classes and does numerous recitals.

 


Middle and High School programs

 

Student Handbook Table of Contents