Junior High Band
Study Guides

Percussion Study Guide 1

Download a Microsoft Word version HERE.

  1. The five basic musicianship skills are Tone, Intonation, Technique, Rhythm, and interpretation.
  2. Proper position and playing technique consists of he following:
    • good posture
    • drum set two inches below your waist
    • sticks held between the thumb and index finger
    • palms down
    • sticks held 2/3 of the way back from the head of the stick
    • use mostly up and down wrist motion
    • the tension of the three fingers under the stick determines the speed of the bounce
  3. The three way to play soft on a drum are (1) swing softer, (2) move a shorter distance, and (3) play closer to the rim of the drum.
  4. The batter head goes on the top of the snare drum. It is thicker and stronger than the snare head which goes on the bottom of the drum.
  5. When installing a drum head, make sure the pitch at each tension bolt is the same.
  6. Good precision is playing everything exactly and precisely together.
  7. The music stand should be placed directly between you and the director. It should be high enough so you can easily see the music and the director at all times.
  8. The keys to success as a percussionist are as follows:
    • Listen, Listen, Listen
    • Watch, Watch, Watch
    • Count, Count, Count
    • Practice, Practice, Practice
    • Subdivide, Subdivide, Subdivide
  9. Be able to identify the following notes and rests: whole, half, quarter, and eighth.
  10. Know how to clap and count simple rhythm patterns.
  11. Dynamics refer to the control of volume.
  12. Know the following dynamic levels: pianissimo (pp) very soft, piano (p) soft, mezzo piano (mp) medium soft, mezzo forte (mf) medium loud, forte (f) loud, fortissimo (ff) very loud.
  13. Be able to recognize pitch differences of a half step and greater.
  14. Be able to recognize rhythm patterns using whole, half, and quarter notes.
  15. Be able to diagram rhythm patterns with whole, half, quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes.

Video Disclaimer

The attached videos are not perfect examples of how each tune should be played. They are recordings of junior high students, some of whom have had their instruments for only a few months. Also, they are not professional recordings. They were taken by band parents using home equipment and naturally focusing on their own children.

I include them for two reasons: (1) To give you an idea of what the arrangements are like, and (2) To illustrate the kind of performance you can expect from your junior high students.