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.
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.
In this course, students learn rhythmic techniques and song styles from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Students develop their performance skills through study of recordings, transcriptions, and supervised ensemble playing.
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.
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.
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.
In this course, students learn the setup of all the steelpan instruments and the basic techniques of steelpan performance. This includes scale learning and sticking techniques. Students also learn to apply these techniques through simple arrangements that highlight the characteristic rhythms and comping (accompanying) patterns.
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.
An intensive study of Guinean music from the Susu, Mandinka, Fulani, Bambara, Soninke, and Baga speaking people of French West Africa. Areas of focus include; interlocking support rhythms, call and response dialogues, and beat transposition along with unconventional hand and stick technique. Students will learn primarily from an oral tradition approach.
Comprehensive study of hand drumming techniques and rhythmic patterns on the most popular African drum: the djembe. Learn correct and effective djembe playing technique and posture, and both soloing and improvisational concepts, which are essential in the performance of contemporary and traditional African music. Please note that students must provide their own djembe.
This course introduces students to the tabla, a traditional drum from North Indian and Hindustani classical and folk music traditions. Students explore the history of the tabla and its use in traditional and folk contexts, as well as specific rhythmic ornaments and improvisational techniques. Students also learn how to integrate the tabla into a traditional drum set array. Instruments are provided for the students.
In this course, students with no prior mallet experience will develop fundamental skills, including four-mallet technique, pedaling and dampening, through the execution of melodies and harmonic progressions drawn from The Great American Songbook, as well as other popular and classical musical literature. Basic improvisation techniques are also introduced.
In this course, students will develop and refine mallet keyboard playing skills including the four mallet grip, playing scales with various sticking combinations, dampening techniques and sight-reading. Students also will learn about and apply concepts in music theory, improvisation, and chord voicings. In addition, students will play and improvise on compositions that address many styles.