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-369

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

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-211, ILPH-357, or overall ensemble rating 4
Department Code: PERC

This course is a continuation of ILPD-211. It 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-211, ILPH-359, or overall ensemble rating 4
Department Code: PERC

This course is a continuation of ILPD-211. It 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: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPD-211, ILPH-357, or overall ensemble rating 4
Department Code: PERC

In this course, students listen to traditional and contemporary examples music from Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Cuba, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico, with a focus on the percussion rhythms and their application to the drum set. The students learn sample percussion patterns, performing them on percussion instruments and adapting them to the drum set. They also learn how to orchestrate these rhythms on different parts of the drum set, and how to improvise in an authentic way in a modern setting.

ILPD-433

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Drum set principals
Prerequisites: ILPD-225 or overall ensemble rating 4
Department Code: PERC

In this course students will thoroughly examine the music and drumming styles of the post-bop and modern jazz idioms.  These studies include advanced repertoire development, three- and four-way coordination studies for time keeping, polyrhythmic applications, improvisational concepts along with the listening, transcription and analysis of the work of master drummers Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette among numerous others.

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 Code: 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 Code: 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 Code: 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 Code: 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
Required of: Hand percussion principals
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: PERC

An intensive study of Ghanaian music from the Ewe, Ga, Ashanti, and Dagomba speaking people of West Africa. Areas of focus include interlocking support rhythms, call and response dialogues, and beat transposition along with unconventional stick and hand technique. Students will learn from a combination of two teaching styles, oral tradition, and Western notation.  

ILPH-353

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

This course provides the study of various techniques and tribal styles of Native American drumming using traditional and contemporary repertoire. The teaching style is hands-on as 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, ILPH-357, or overall ensemble rating 4
Department Code: PERC

In this course, students study the spiritually based drumming of the Lucumí (Yoruba) people in Cuba. Development of performance skills through group performance, singing, and chanting.

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