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.

ILPD-373

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Drum set and total percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPD-221 AND ILPH-357, ILPH-359, ILPH-351 OR ILPH-451
Department: PERC

This course will develop integrated applications of all Afro-Cuban percussion concepts for the drum set. Topics include drum set performance with no percussionist and with one or more percussionists, physical integration of percussion instruments into the drum set for simultaneous performance by one player, and creation of custom sets and setups for specific musical situations. Topics will be examined from both traditional and nontraditional perspectives.

ILPD-374

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Drum set and total percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPD-221 AND ILPH-357, ILPH-359, ILPH-351 OR ILPH-451
Department: PERC

This course will develop integrated applications of all Brazilian concepts for the drum set. Topics include drum set performance with no percussionist, with one or more percussionists, physical integration of percussion instruments into the drum set for simultaneous performance by one player, and creation of custom sets and setups for specific musical situations. Topics will be examined from both traditional and nontraditional perspectives.

ILPD-424

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Drum set, hand percussion, and total percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPD-112
Department: PERC

Building on the foundation of ILPD-373, this lab will develop integrated applications of Caribbean percussion concepts for the drum set. Topics will include identification of various musical styles from Trinidad, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Curacao, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Basic techniques and patterns for traditional percussion instruments and drum set applications of all rhythms (both with and without a percussionist) will be discussed. All topics will be examined from both a traditional and nontraditional perspective.

ILPD-433

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Spring Only
Required of: None
Electable by: Drum set principals
Prerequisites: Overall ensemble rating 4;
Department: PERC

This lab emphasizes post-bop and modern jazz techniques. Topics include advanced repertoire development, technique/coordination development, polyrhythmic application, and conceptual approaches along with transcription, listening, and analysis of a number of master drummers, such as Roy Haynes, Jack DeJohnette, and Tony Williams.

ILPD-P215

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

This course will focus on the Moeller technique. It provides an in-depth exploration of the Moeller technique for drumming. Named for drummer Sanford A. Moeller, this technique has been popularized by Moeller student Jim Chapin since the 1930s. Drawn from Civil War era drumming, the Moeller method combines a variety of techniques with the goal of improving hand speed, power, and control while offering the flexibility to add accented notes at will. The course explores the various uses of the Moeller technique in a wide range of drumming styles, providing demonstrations and detailed explanations. Analyses of drummers includes: Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Gene Krupa, Philly Joe Jones, Papa Jo Jones, Max Roach, Joe Morello, Danny Gottlieb, Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Jojo Mayer.

ILPD-P273

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

An introduction to cajón playing that will cover the history of the instrument from its origins in Peru to the contemporary setup with other drums and foot pedals. The course will cover traditional musical styles from Peru such as the Landó, festejo, and the Marinera, as well as Spanish flamenco. This course is highly recommended to all hand percussionists and drum set majors who wish to improve their overall understanding of Latin music through the adaptation of cajón playing. This instrument has transcended borders and is becoming a standard part of the set up for percussionists in global music, jazz and pop, or any musical setting.

ILPD-P385

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPD-212
Department: PERC

This lab is designed to prepare the student to work in the diverse field of musical theater. Focus will be on developing authenticity of style and sound. Students will analyze drum set and percussion charts from various eras of musical history, up to and including the present day. Midterm and final exams will be customized to the student's principal instrument.

ILPH-293

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

Rhythms, song styles, and percussion instruments of Cuba and other Afro-Caribbean regions. Development of performance skills in various rhythm styles through study of basic techniques of characteristic percussion instruments.

ILPH-351

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

An intensive study of West African drumming styles from the Ewe, Ga, and Dagbamba people of Ghana, West Africa. This course will emphasize three areas of performance techniques: straight stick, curved stick, and hand drumming styles. Repertoire studied will include agbekor, kpanlogo, and damba. Teaching methods will incorporate call-and-response formats, videos, and transcriptions. Authentic instruments will be provided.

ILPH-353

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

Study of various techniques and tribal styles of American Indian drumming using traditional songs as the repertoire for learning. Teaching style will be hands-on: students will perform on traditional Native American drums and percussion instruments.

ILPH-354

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: ILPH-293 or ILPH-357 or by audition
Department: PERC

Study of various techniques and tribal styles of American Indian drumming using traditional songs as the repertoire for learning. Teaching style will be hands-on: students will perform on traditional Native American drums and percussion instruments.

ILPH-357

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: Hand percussion principals, drum set principals, and total percussion principal PERF and PROM majors not taking ILPH-359
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: None
Department: PERC

A lab for percussion department principals focusing on rhythmic techniques and song styles from Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and their related percussion instruments. Development of performance skills through study of recordings, transcriptions, and supervised ensemble playing. Note: ILPH-359 may be taken instead of this course.

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