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Class Percussion

Course Code: MUSC 1164
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Music
Credits: 2.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Tutorial
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

Students will receive instruction on snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, timpani, drum set, mallet and Latin American rhythm instruments in preparation for effective teaching of instrumental music. Maintenance, adjustment and notation of the above instruments will be covered.

Course Content

Section I: Basic Concepts of Percussion Playing

  • Tone Production
  • Attack and Release of Tones
  • Dynamic Contrasts
  • Accents
  • Stickwork
  • Rhythm, Beat, Tempo, and Time

Section II: Rudiments of Snare Dumming

  • Right Handhold
  • Left Handhold 
  • The R. Stroke
  • The L. Stroke 
  • Alternating the Strokes 
  • The Tap 
  • The Long Rolls 
  • The Short Rolls
  • Accented Short Rolls 
  • The Flam
  • The Flam Tap
  • The Flam Accents #1 & #2
  • The Drag
  • Style
  • Notation
  • Introduction to the 26 Rudiments
  • The Ruff
  • The Paradiddles

Section III: Techniques of the following instruments will be taught by demonstration and participation

  • The Bass Drum
  • The Cymbals
  • Tympani
  • Other Percussion instruments:
    • Triangle
    • Woodblock
    • Gong 
    • Latin American Rhythm Instruments
    • Maracas 
    • Conga Drum
    • Tambourine
    • Castanets
    • Dance Drumming
    • Claves
    • Bongos
    • Cow Bell

Methods of Instruction

Through lectures, demonstrations and group practise, students will become familiar with some of the most common percussion instruments. Some of the areas covered will be: hand grip, tone production, drum rudiments, percussion classification, percussion history, percussion notation, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, keyboard percussion, timpani, accessory percussion, drum set, Latin percussion, World percussion, percussion effects, electronic percussion, writing and arranging for percussion, setting up a percussion section, maintenance, and small ensemble playing.

As it is impossible to become proficient on a number of percussion instruments in a single semester, students will be expected to understand theoretical concepts that go beyond their personal playing abilities. Understanding the limitations and possibilities of the instruments will be valuable later on, therefore the written assignments and oral presentation will help evaluate the student’s understanding of this information.

Means of Assessment

Students will be expected to practise regularly on their practise pads for this course. A high percentage of the total mark is based on playing techniques, which stress hand grip, control, speed and accuracy.

Snare drum tests 10%
Mallet Keyboard tests 10%
Snare duet composition 10%
Midterm 25%
Research assignment and In-class presentation 20%
Percussion ensemble composition 20%
End of term jury and overall attendance 5%
Total   100%

Learning Outcomes

The students will study all common percussion instruments including orchestral, band and Latin percussion. Both practical playing techniques and theoretical concepts will be taught, in order to prepare the student for effective teaching of percussion instruments at the Elementary, Junior and Senior Secondary levels. As the snare drum is recognized as the percussion instrument of basic concern to the school music teacher, it occupies a primary position in the sequence and scope of this course.

The successful student will be able to demonstrate:

  1. A basic knowledge of the theoretical concepts of percussion playing, including tone production, scoring, tuning, and proper maintenance of the most common percussion instruments.
  2. The ability to perform the most common snare drum rudiments, and to read and perform intermediate level snare drum parts.
  3. The ability to produce a proper tone and to play simple parts on percussion, and small percussion instruments.

course prerequisites

Acceptance to University Transfer Music Program or permission of instructor. 

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.