School of Music


Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)


Stephen Muller


Music | Music Education | Music Pedagogy


Instrumental Techniques courses are imperative to prospective instrumental music educators. After all, it is not practical or possible to major in every instrument in a band or orchestra. These classes provide students with a chance to get a basic understanding of the fundamentals covered on each instrument. For wind instruments, these fundamentals include foundations such as embouchure placement and breathing/articulation techniques. Most of these lessons are covered in a limited course of study. Although the instruments are different, many of the techniques, like tonguing and articulation, are consistent. With regards to technical percussion techniques however, things like instrumentation, notation, and performance practices are much more diverse. Since Percussion Techniques courses have one of the widest array of instruments to be covered, one semester is barely enough time to cover all this required material. From marching band to indoor drumline, marching percussion (front line included) is a substantial part of the high school instrumental educator’s focus. A middle school educator must prepare in these areas because they are training the next generation of high school percussionists, and many times they are assistants to the high school director for marching season. Middle school directors are active parts of building a firm musical foundation for the high school ensemble. Still, preparation in this area is lacking. Students studying to become band directors are getting approximately two days of percussion instruction on marching percussion techniques in the general Percussion Techniques course, if any at all. This is too limited a time to devote to a subject that will affect half to all of a high school band director’s year. With the growth of marching percussion popularity, the need to offer a separate Marching Percussion Techniques class should be required in the course offerings for prospective middle and high school band directors.