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Percussion Studio

Percussion                     Specialist: 
M. Champion

For more on Mr. Champion, 
please visit his website

SmartMusic is the award winning software used by music educators around the world to enhance their programs and provides a way to dramatically improve their students’ skills. Student practice is focused because they receive immediate feedback while listening to their performance and seeing the correct and incorrect rhythms and pitches onscreen. It also allows the teacher to provide students with the individual instruction and customized feedback needed to get better faster. Students are also able to hear their part in context with SmartMusic’s professional background accompaniment, giving them a pitch and rhythmic reference when practicing at home.

SmartMusic is purchased as an annual subscription, which gives your student access to the largest digital sheet music library with accompaniment in the world. Subscribers sign up for classes designed by their teachers, and receive practice materials tailored to their specific needs. This allows students to receive the individualized instruction necessary to improve at a faster pace.

About Hinsdale Central Percussion Studies
Hinsdale Central offers two percussion courses that meet separate from their bands to work on snare rudiments, mallets, and to prepare percussion ensembles independent of the course's band literature. Percussion placements are auditioned-based, except for concert percussion, which allows students to be placed in the class that they will find most success. These courses may meet at the same time as their band class, but may also meet at different times of the day. 

Concert percussion is an entry level course. Students work collaboratively in percussion ensembles and individually on:
  • Beginning snare rudiments
  • Mallet technique
  • Auxiliary percussion
  • Basic drumset methods 
  • Basic timpani skills, and 
  • Perform with the Concert Band at concerts
Symphonic percussion is the second-level, auditioned percussion course. Students work collaboratively in percussion ensembles and individually on: 
  • Refining and completing their 40 snare drum rudiments 
  • Continue with advanced keyboard techniques with 2-4 mallet literature 
  • Discover advanced latin grooves on the drumset
  • Manipulate pitch on the timpani during a piece, and
  • Perform with the Symphonic Band at concerts

Hinsdale Central's Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble have six percussionists in each band and spend their time in rehearsal with the winds.

The Hinsdale Central percussion studio was invited to give a demonstration clinic at the Illinois Music Educators Clinic in 2014, in Peoria, Illinois. All students from Concert Percussion to our Wind Ensemble percussionists demonstrated technique, literature, and equipment used for a successful percussion program.

Recommended Equipment
These items may be purchased from the local music store or are available for purchase from HCHS.
  • Mallet Bag and Drum Key
  • Metronome
  • Practice Pad
    • Vic Firth 12 inch Double sided Practice Pad (or 6 inch version as a lighter option)
    • Evans Real Feel 12 inch Double Sided Practice Pad (or 6 inch version as a lighter option)
  • Concert Snare Sticks - Vic Firth General (SD1)
  • Marching Snare Sticks - Vic Firth Ralph Hardiman Corpsmaster
  • Yarn-Concert Marimba Mallets
    • Mike Balter #83 Medium
  • Jazz Stick Bag
    • Jazz Sticks - Vic Firth American Classics 5A (Plastic Tip)
    • Metal Brushes
    • Hot Rod Sticks

Resources for Percussionists
The following section is available for enhancing curriculum outside the classroom. 
Vic Firth is a reputable company that values excellent music education through online resources, and sells quality percussion products

**Beginning textbooks to enhance daily practice**

                                                      Use with SmartMusic                                                         Use with SmartMusic
                                                     Alfred's Drum Method Complete                                                  Rudimental Etudes and Warm-ups                                          A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion
                                                              Sandy Feldstein & Dave Black                                       Steve Murphy, Joe Testa, Kit Chatham                                               Mark Wessels

Concert Percussion Snare Drum Rudiments
Like a wind player needs to know scales, percussionists need to be fluent in identifying and performing the 40 basic rudiments. 
Begin by watching John Wooton's introductory video on grip, basic strokes, and how to practice your rudiments.

Roll Rudiments
Single Stroke Rolls
Multiple Buzz Rolls
Double Stroke Rolls




Concert Percussion Mallet Instruction
Students will be able to read notes on the treble clef and bass clef with speed and accuracy. Two note reading programs are:
Name That Note - Use the exercises to improve note reading skills

Current Concert Percussion Success

Concert Percussion Assessments