What is a percussion instrument?
Percussion instruments are a family of instruments that have similar characteristics to one another. They are divided into two categories: pitched percussion and unpitched percussion instruments. Such characteristics are:
1) Sound - All percussion instruments, regardless of pitched or unpitched, require striking from one object, more commonly a stickor mallet, to another object.
2) Pitches - Unpitchen percussion instruments can not change pitches. The percussionist will need to decide what bar (key) to strike on the pitched percussion instruments.
Does it require a lot of maintence?
Every instrument in the band requires some level of TLC (tender, love, and care). Fortunately, percussion instruments require little maintence, if taken care of properly. It is still advised to have a professional technician look at the instrument every 6-12 months to make sure it running in top condition. *Quick and easy fixes will be taken care of by the band director.
Students will learn how to properly assemble and disassemble the instrument (and place it in the case correctly) in addition to other valuable actions to prolong the playability of the instrument.
Is this a good fit for my student?
This is the best question on the list and we love that parents ask this question! We think this is the most important step to the process as this will set up a positive and successful year(s) of band or an absolute disaster of a year. We recommend three things:
1) Go over the pairing sheet that was sent home after your student tried some of the instruments at school. If the instrument was emphasized, that means we believe they can be successful on that instrument.
2) If the student is still unsure, visiting a local music shop that sells band instruments will be the next best thing. Tey wil lbe glad to help you make a decision.
3) Talk! Having a simple conversation and going over expectations (without any pressure) will help everyone up for success.
Bonus 4) We will do everything we can to help your student be successful on any instrument they choose.
What is the snare drum?
The snare drum is a round percussion instrument with a set of wires across the bottom of the instrument. Sound is created by striking a drumstick to the top of the drum.
Is the snare drum hard to play?
The snare drum is often viewed as the easy choice but there are big responsibilities in addition to some challenges to playing percussion. They are:
1) A strong internal pulse is necessary to play percussion instruments.
2) Set up and tear down can be challenging and time consuming.
3) Sound level of a drum can be quite loud. All snare drum rentals can expect a practice pad that a student can practice on at home or in situations that require a little more sound control.
What are bells?
The bell set is a percussion version of a piano. The set up of the bells is exactly like a piano with the exception that the bell set is smaller and the keys are metal bars of varying lengths. Sound is created by striking a mallet (a stick with a different tip usually plastic or metal) to the metal bars.
Are the bells hard to play?
Since the bells are set up like a piano, everyone can expect students to learn fun melodies and important parts in the band. With that said, the most common challenges of the bells are:
1) It looks more intimidating than playing a snare drum.
2) Striking a small object such as a bell bar requires attention to detail and concentration.
What percussion instruments does UP Music start their students on?
We start our students on both snare drum and bells (if available). We think it is important that percussion students understand not only rhythmic qualities but also tonal ones as well. We have considered students age, average body size, and complexity of the instruments and deemed that students would have the most success on these instruments. Additionally, these are the beginning instruments that are considered best practices by most organizations.