Percussion Technology- Part One

Mike Lawson • Technology • November 1, 2001

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Of all the music technology available to music educators, percussion technology is probably the least understood. And in some cases, the least available. In this article, you will find a variety of percussive technology materials and creative applications.

As in other areas of music technology, there has been an upsurge of development in the percussion arts. You will certainly benefit when you discover the variety of hardware/software/videos/books, etc., available for marching, concert and jazz applications, plus percussion instruction. Besides the new hardware and software, there are some excellent percussion books with audio CDs as well as instructional videos for motivating, developing and teaching percussionists.

In Percussion Technology: Part One, we will focus on tutorial software, MIDI percussion, notation software, instructional videos and technology resources for percussion. In December, Part Two of Percussion Technology will cover drum machines, drum machine software, drum software tracks, sequencing software, and hardware.

Tutorial Software for Percussion Instruction
Looking for a model percussion software product? Look no further than The Developing Drummer by Allen Carter of AC Musik for learning how to play the drumset. This CD-ROM product is superior to a video because it is an interactive video in a CD-ROM format designed for use by music educators and beginning or intermediate level drumset students. Using the navigation buttons that appear on the computer screen, you can view the whole video or any individual section with a click of a mouse. Contents include setup and movement, tuning and cymbal selection, jazz/rock coordination, Latin/Brazilian rhythms, brushes and reading charts. Hardware requirements accommodate either a PowerMac or a Pentium-based CPU with a CD-ROM drive. The tutorial instruction is appropriate for middle and high school percussionists. Your drumset players are bound to improve just by watching and practicing with it.

MIDI Percussion
MIDI percussion equipment is performance-oriented for real-time entry, much like a drum set layout with drum pads and all the electronics for editing and playback, making it a drummer’s dream. They provide everything you could imagine electronically for “live” performances with hard disk recording, MIDI sequencing or silent practicing.

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