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.

Funk Repertoire Development and Application

ILPD-233

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPD-112
Department: PERC

This course will enhance the learning and playing of standard repertoire for the drumset in various funk styles. Numerous songs will be analyzed, studied, and memorized. This course is designed to allow the student to gain a working knowledge of the standard funk repertoire.

Polyrhythms 1

ILPD-235

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: Orchestral percussion principal PERF majors
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: Overal ensemble rating 3
Department: PERC

This course will examine polyrhythmic studies including multi-simultaneous patterns, metric modulation, and cross rhythms.

Country Drumming Styles

ILPD-239

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

A performance-based historical survey of country and western drumming styles up to the present day. Development of performance skills in country and western feels incorporating both stick and brush techniques. Major drummers in this style will be studied.

Global Sight-Reading and Advanced Rhythmic Solfege

ILPD-250

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 3
Department: PERC

This performance-oriented lab draws on a global selection of musical genres including Indian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Balkan, and African traditions, and utilizes them as structural models or compositional inspiration for a variety of concise yet challenging sight-reading and recitation exercises. Each example is introduced both as a vocal exercise, using native mnemonic or other onomatopoeic syllables to represent the given notation, and performed on a variety of instruments, focusing primarily on the snare drum but also making use of hand percussion and drum set. This course will be of interest to anyone who wishes to advance his/her reading and interpretative skills while exploring new rhythmic concepts and languages outside the classical/orchestral and popular Western genres.

Advanced Brush Lab

ILPD-317

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPD-217
Department: PERC

Building on ILPD-217, this course offers students the opportunity to improve basic skills. Studies include ballad and swing patterns, odd meters, Latin, solo, and ensemble playing. Various contemporary brush stylists will be examined. In addition, continued repertoire study is included.

Contemporary Electronic Percussion

ILPD-331

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: Overal ensemble rating 3
Department: PERC

A comprehensive course on functioning in today's music world with the latest electronic instruments in modern percussion. The program includes hands-on work with electronic drum kits and drum machines, including programming, triggering, and interfacing.

Fusion Repertoire Development and Application

ILPD-339

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 3
Department: PERC

This course will enhance the learning and playing of standard repertoire for the drum set in various fusion styles. Numerous songs will be analyzed, studied, and memorized. This course is designed to allow the student to gain a working knowledge of the standard fusion repertoire.

Alternative Setups for Drum Set and Percussion

ILPD-351

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPD-211
Department: PERC

Solutions to practical and logistical problems confronting the contemporary percussionist/drummer. Experimentation with alternative setups designed to meet the demands of today's contemporary music and the student's own creative requirements. Topics include new hardware solutions, coordination exercises, and practical musical and orchestrational choices. Various global music drumming traditions will be applied as catalysts in approaching alternative setups.

African Rhythms for Drum Set

ILPD-355

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Drum set, orchestral percussion, and hand percussion principals
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 3
Department: PERC

This course is a practical application of traditional African rhythms and their application to drum set performance and their use in contemporary Afro-pop music. This course will examine many of the commonly used rhythmic concepts, metric meters, and an analysis of important Afro-pop artists such as Salif Keita (Mali), Baaba Maal (Senegal), Angélique Kidjo (Benin), King Sunny Adé (Nigeria), and Tabu Ley Rochereau (Zaire).

South American Rhythms for the Drum Set

ILPD-357

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Drum set, hand percussion, and orchestral percussion principals
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 3
Department: PERC

This course develops integrated applications of all South American percussion concepts for the drum set. Topics include identification of various Brazilian, Venezuelan, Uruguayan, Peruvian, Colombian, and Argentinean musical instruments and drum set applications of all rhythms (both with and without a percussionist). Topics are examined from both traditional and nontraditional perspectives.

New Orleans Drumming

ILPD-361

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Drum set and orchestral percussion principals
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 2
Department: PERC

A study and analysis of New Orleans drumming styles, from street beats to funk and jazz.

Double Bass Drum Studies

ILPD-369

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

This lab explores the application of two bass drums (and double pedal) in the rock, jazz/rock, and funk/fusion styles. Technical coordination studies include feet positioning, continuous and noncontinuous grooves, and double bass fill/solo concepts.

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