Percussion Courses

The courses at Berklee are continually reviewed and evaluated so that they consistently reflect today's musical needs. In percussion classes, you will learn the history of your instrument and analyze its present-day challenges while also pursuing a more in-depth study of styles and techniques. Below is a listing of all Percussion courses for the upcoming semester.

ENPC-211

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: All MUED percussion principals
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: PERC

In this course beginning percussion students perform together and learn snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, tambourine, triangle, simple mallet playing, and timpani in an ensemble setting. 

ENPC-215

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Spring Only
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 3
Department Code: PERC

In this course students learn to play a variety of mallet keyboard instruments, including vibraphone, marimba, and xylophone in a number of different styles. Emphasis will be placed on learning to identify melodic and harmonic content. 

ENPC-321

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Written approval of course instructor
Department Code: PERC

In this course, students learn to mix the rhythmic heritage of various rhythm cultures with high-level jazz improvisation to produce music that draws from all styles of music without ever being genre specific. Students get firsthand information on the rhythmic and harmonic possibilities of the repertoire and learn to adapt it to the group’s particular instrumentation. The core material usually features compositions by well known composers as well as pop artists, traditional folkloric songs, and original pieces by the group members.

ENPC-359

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPH-354
Department Code: PERC

A continuation of ILPH-354, Bata Rhythms/Afro-Cuban Ceremonial Drumming Lab. Continued development of performance skills through study of recordings and transcriptions, singing and chanting, and group playing. Application of drumming and singing to other musical forms.

ENPC-363

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Written approval of course instructor
Department Code: PERC

In this course, intermediate and advanced percussion students focus on performance of literature for mixed instrumental/vocal ensembles that include the marimba. Students will examine composed music for marimba as well as nonpercussion instruments from classical through contemporary styles. Group size is usually duos and trios, but larger groups are possible. Performances in an end-of-term concert will be scheduled.

ENPC-374

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: ILPH-351 (percussion principals); written approval of course instructor (dancers)
Department Code: PERC

In this course, students will learn West African traditional music and dance genres. Emphasis will be placed on choreographed dances, drumming, and cultural songs and their historical content. Students will perform at least once, as a full ensemble, at the end of the semester.

ENPC-385

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: ILPD-111
Department Code: PERC

In this course, students will learn and perform a variety of drum corps style compositions for snare drum, quads, bass drums, and other assorted marching percussion. Knowledge of the genre, ensemble performance skills, and advanced hand technique are all emphasized.

ENPC-431

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: Percussion principal PERF majors
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: ENPC-211 or overall ensemble 4
Department Code: PERC

Advanced performance lab for percussion principals emphasizing group performance of contemporary percussion literature. Students enrolled in the fall semester are expected to reregister in this course for credit for the spring semester. Spring concert material will be rehearsed and prepared during both fall and spring semesters.

ENPC-459

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: ILPH-359 or overall ensemble rating 3
Department Code: PERC

In this course, students will continue to learn rhythms and percussion instruments from Brazil with emphasis on the drumming styles from the northeastern part of Brazil. Development of performance skills through study of transcriptions and supervised ensemble playing.

ENPH-291

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPH-391
Department Code: PERC

In this course, students learn to apply all the skills acquired in the steelpan lab. The focus of the ensemble is on learning and performing compositions and/or arrangements written specifically for steelpan ensemble that are carefully chosen for the current ensemble level.

ENPM-331

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: Total percussion and vibraphone principal MUED and PERF majors
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: Written approval of course instructor
Department Code: PERC

An ensemble for beginning percussionists specializing in interpretations and transcriptions of baroque, classical, and contemporary literature. In this course, students will learn marimba performance techniques, improve their ability to read music, interpret music, and be introduced to various musical styles. Basic vibraphone technique will be introduced. Students perform a concert at the end of every semester.

ENPM-332

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: Written approval of course instructor
Department Code: PERC

This course provides ensemble experience for intermediate marimba players, percussionists, and vibraphonists. Students sight-read and rehearse ensemble works for two to six performers, tailored to enrollment each semester. The entire class may perform pieces together, and also break into smaller groups. Musical styles typically performed encompass baroque, classical, and contemporary literature. Performances in an end-of-term concert will be scheduled.

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