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.

Brazilian Rhythms and Percussion

ILPH-359

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-357
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: PERC

A lab focusing on rhythmic techniques and song styles of Brazilian music and their related percussion instruments. Development of performance skills through study of audio and video recordings as well as supervised ensemble playing. Note: ILPH-357 may be taken instead of this course.

Advanced Afro-Cuban Rhythms and Percussion

ILPH-371

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: Hand percussion principal PERF majors
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPH-293 or ILPH-357
Department Code: PERC

Continuation of ILPH-357 and ILPH-359. Development of more advanced techniques and concepts through deeper examination of evolution and derivations of the rhythmic styles. Intended course outcomes include performance-level group playing and improvisation as well as soloing.

Steelpan Techniques for Percussionists

ILPH-391

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

A study of steelpan performance techniques designed for percussion principals. Skills development will include the sticking techniques required for steelpan players, rhythmic patterns, scale-learning methods on the instrument, and general performance techniques.

Contemporary Techniques for Pop Percussion

ILPH-429

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

With emphasis on R&B, rock/funk, swing, motown, and pop styles, this course explores the study of small hand percussion: tambourine, shakers, cowbells, and cabasa, as well as congas, bongos, and timbales, individually as well as in combination with each other to form multiple percussion setups. Transitions, groove building, and coordination techniques will be analyzed in class. Chart reading and interpretation, as well as some transcription techniques, will be covered throughout the semester. Knowledge of basic conga techniques is strongly recommended.

Drumming Styles of Guinea

ILPH-451

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

An intensive study of West African drumming styles from the Susu, Malinké, and Bagba people of Guinea, West Africa. Class format will include hand drumming techniques for the djembe and stick patterns on the dununs (bass drums). All material covered will be taught orally by the instructor along with video presentations. Repertoire will include yankadi, makuru, kuku, and sinte. Authentic instruments will be provided.

Brazilian Rhythms and Percussion 2

ILPH-459

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: ILPH-359
Department Code: PERC

A continuation of ILPH-359, with emphasis on the drumming styles of northeastern Brazil. Development of performance skills through study of recordings, transcriptions, and supervised ensemble playing.

Timbale Playing Styles 1

ILPH-P365

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

An introduction to timbale playing that will cover the history of the instrument from its Creole origins when it was still a timpani, to the contemporary timbale set-up: three cowbells, bass drum, cymbals, jam-block, and snare. This course will cover danzón, cha-cha, mambo, pilon, Mozambique, traditional salsa, and songo styles. With each style, the student will learn to play a tune in that genre and study stylistically appropriate patterns, fills, and solo material. This course is highly recommended for drum set principals who wish to improve their overall understanding of Latin music though adaptation of timbale playing concepts to the drum set.

Mallet Lab 1

ILPM-121

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

A mallet-keyboard lab for percussion principals with no prior mallet experience. Development of basic skills required including grips, stroke, pedaling, dampening, sight-reading, basic four-mallet technique, scales, and arpeggios.

Mallet Lab 2

ILPM-221

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: Vibraphone principal non-PERF majors
Electable by: All percussion principals
Prerequisites: ILPM-121 or by audition
Department Code: PERC

A mallet-keyboard performance lab for Percussion Department principals with some basic grounding in mallet work, including grips, scales, and reading experience. In this lab, the student will begin to address broader melodic, harmonic, and technical issues involved in mallet playing, including the continuation of four-mallet technique applied to basic harmonic progressions.

Mallet Keyboard Musicianship

ILPM-231

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: John Ramsay
Semesters Offered: Fall Only
Required of: Marimba and total percussion principal PERF majors
Electable by: Hand percussion, vibraphone, and total percussion principals
Prerequisites: HR-112 and ILPM-121
Department Code: PERC

This class is designed for the non-improvising player to develop musicianship skills by concentrating on the integration of harmony, melody, rhythm, and dynamics through the analysis and performance of music ranging from Bach to the present.

Marimba Transcription and Repertoire

ILPM-341

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

A lab emphasizing skills essential for marimbists and percussionists to develop a personalized repertoire and contribute to performance literature for the marimba. Students will learn to adapt music for the marimba from sources such as lead sheets; music for violin, guitar, and harp; and transcribed recordings. Works composed for the marimba will also be studied and performed.

Percussion Class for Music Education Majors

ISPC-221

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

Functional study of percussion instruments. Technical fundamentals of class instruction in music education. Use of representative elementary/secondary school methods and materials.

Pages