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Tuned Percussion


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#1 kenm

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 11:02

I don't have any specific questions, but as my own experience of percussion playing has been mostly on tubular bells[1], xylophone[2], and vibrapone[3], I wondered whether anyone reading Viva Percussion had an interest in these fascinating instruments.

1: regular soloist on a diatonic set with a brass band, 55 years ago; disastrous attempt to play in "Turangalila" on a chromatic set with damping pedal (very different), about ten years ago;
2: Chichester Psalms, 40 years ago;
3: during my second student days, c.2000.
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#2 bassmadmatt

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 12:06

Yeah! biggrin.gif Finally another tuned percussionist. smile.gif

I'm bored so I'm gonna write lots. tongue.gif
My interest in tuned percussion began a few years ago when I was hoping to join the Royal Marines band service as a bugler/drummer. I decided to take some grade exams in percussion with ABRSM, but didn't realise that tuned percussion was involved until I looked at the syllabus. This was a problem for me because I was experienced on general percussion but had never played any tuned percussion. So, I bought a very cheap xylophone and started to learn. I really enjoyed it and passed my Grade 1 with Merit, but things went downhill after that. I started learning the Grade 2 pieces and then realised that my small cheap xylophone didn't have a wide enough range! I looked into buying a bigger instrument but all the prices were at least £200 or more. Anyway, I took the Grade 2 exam and had to skip sections of the tuned percussion pieces. Needless to say that I failed it miserably. Since then I've resigned myself to the fact that I can't afford a bigger instrument, so my tuned percussion playing will have to wait until I'm out of uni and have a full time job; another 4 years. sad.gif
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#3 kenm

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 19:30

QUOTE(bassmadmatt @ Nov 6 2006, 12:06 PM) View Post
Yeah! biggrin.gif Finally another tuned percussionist. smile.gif

That's an overstatement as far as I'm concerned. I'm a musician whose professional qualifications are entirely academic (Music degree). I'm only an amateur performer on the instruments I list. However, I'm interested in all the orchestral instruments and how they can be used.
QUOTE
I'm bored so I'm gonna write lots. tongue.gif
My interest in tuned percussion began a few years ago when I was hoping to join the Royal Marines band service as a bugler/drummer. I decided to take some grade exams in percussion with ABRSM, but didn't realise that tuned percussion was involved until I looked at the syllabus. This was a problem for me because I was experienced on general percussion but had never played any tuned percussion. So, I bought a very cheap xylophone and started to learn. I really enjoyed it and passed my Grade 1 with Merit, but things went downhill after that. I started learning the Grade 2 pieces and then realised that my small cheap xylophone didn't have a wide enough range! I looked into buying a bigger instrument but all the prices were at least £200 or more. Anyway, I took the Grade 2 exam and had to skip sections of the tuned percussion pieces. Needless to say that I failed it miserably. Since then I've resigned myself to the fact that I can't afford a bigger instrument, so my tuned percussion playing will have to wait until I'm out of uni and have a full time job; another 4 years. sad.gif

Don't your University Music or Education Departments own any tuned percussion instruments? If so, you may find that they would let you practise on them. If that is not possible, I suggest you learn piano, for two reasons:

1) Orchestral piano parts are often covered by members of the percussion section. (Less likely with a fiendish one like "Petroushka".)

2) To play both piano and tuned percussion to a high standard (kit too, I should think; can anyone comment on this?), you have to be able to find the notes without looking. This takes lots of practice, and I would expect what you learn by practising it on the piano to give you a start in acquiring the kinaesthetic judgment you will need for the percussion.
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#4 notmusimum

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 14:20


Both my girls have orchestral percussion lessons via our Music Service, the eldest used to learn kit at school she gave up recently due to pressure of GCSE.

The percussion teacher is alternating half termly between percussion, tuned percussion and kit for those who are slightly more advanced. As my youngest does piano she is getting her lesson split to cover tuned percussion and kit. So that means we have another drummer in the family (for the time being).

My eldest is also doing kit at the moment and has beed advised to enter for Grade 4 (rockschool) I'm not too keen on this.
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#5 kenm

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 11:13

QUOTE(notmusimum @ Nov 15 2006, 02:20 PM) View Post
Both my girls have orchestral percussion lessons via our Music Service, the eldest used to learn kit at school she gave up recently due to pressure of GCSE.

The percussion teacher is alternating half termly between percussion, tuned percussion and kit for those who are slightly more advanced. As my youngest does piano she is getting her lesson split to cover tuned percussion and kit. So that means we have another drummer in the family (for the time being).

That gives them the options of orchestral, wind band or rock band, so is the right way to learn, IMO. It also provides the foundation of jazz, though I suspect there is a lot more to learn in that genre than in the others.
QUOTE
My eldest is also doing kit at the moment and has beed advised to enter for Grade 4 (rockschool) I'm not too keen on this.

Why the worry? I have to admit that after Bill Haley and the Comets (c. 1955?) rock music got away from me for several decades, but I have two offspring whose musical judgment I respect, and they have pointed me in direction of groups whose music I find perfectly valid, in particular Level 42 and (more by accidentally overhearing the choice of listening of one of my other offspring) Madness.

I can't remember who said "90% of everything is cr*p", but it's as well to bear that in mind when listening to contemporary music of any genre.
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#6 notmusimum

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 16:09

[quote name='kenm' date='Nov 16 2006, 11:13 AM' post='423083']
[quote name='notmusimum' post='422694' date='Nov 15 2006, 02:20 PM']Both my girls have orchestral Why the worry?
[/quote]

It's not the style of Music it's just that I don't think she will be ready for the exam, as she's not had lessons since July re-started last week. Having said that her school lessons were 10 mins and now she's having 30 Mins so that will make a differance.

If she practises and the leddond continue over the next 2 weeks then I'll consider it.

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#7 kenm

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Posted 17 November 2006 - 15:43

QUOTE(notmusimum @ Nov 16 2006, 04:09 PM) View Post
It's not the style of Music it's just that I don't think she will be ready for the exam,...

Good thinking.
QUOTE
If she practises and the lessons continue over the next 2 weeks then I'll consider it.

Bear in mind that once the entry is made, not being ready is not an acceptable reason for cancelling. Make sure that the teacher knows that you don't want the entry to go in without your specific approval. It's not unknown for a teacher to act first and tell you (with bill) afterwards.
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#8 notmusimum

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Posted 17 November 2006 - 22:39

QUOTE(kenm @ Nov 17 2006, 03:43 PM) View Post

Bear in mind that once the entry is made, not being ready is not an acceptable reason for cancelling. Make sure that the teacher knows that you don't want the entry to go in without your specific approval. It's not unknown for a teacher to act first and tell you (with bill) afterwards.


For Rockschool Grades we enter her ourselves when the teacher says she is ready, don't know why it's always worked that way. the one thing I can say about them is that they are also very helpful about moving to the next period if the candidates not ready. There's no charge if you do it before receiving the date. In the past we've also asked for the last week and got it. It's not an option I want to take, I'd rather be as certain as possible that she will be ready.
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#9 Manek

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 21:01

Although it'd be great to do tuned perc. it's never something I really had the option of doing, and thus can't... (I'm not really in any position to take up anything new atm, either!)
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#10 kenm

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 09:48

QUOTE(notmusimum @ Nov 17 2006, 10:39 PM) View Post
For Rockschool Grades we enter her ourselves when the teacher says she is ready, don't know why it's always worked that way. the one thing I can say about them is that they are also very helpful about moving to the next period if the candidates not ready. There's no charge if you do it before receiving the date. In the past we've also asked for the last week and got it. It's not an option I want to take, I'd rather be as certain as possible that she will be ready.

From the times you mentioned earlier, I deduce that you must have made a decision by now. Did she take the exam this session? and if so, how did it go?
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#11 notmusimum

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 14:33

QUOTE(kenm @ Dec 18 2006, 09:48 AM) View Post

QUOTE(notmusimum @ Nov 17 2006, 10:39 PM) View Post
For Rockschool Grades we enter her ourselves when the teacher says she is ready, don't know why it's always worked that way. the one thing I can say about them is that they are also very helpful about moving to the next period if the candidates not ready. There's no charge if you do it before receiving the date. In the past we've also asked for the last week and got it. It's not an option I want to take, I'd rather be as certain as possible that she will be ready.

From the times you mentioned earlier, I deduce that you must have made a decision by now. Did she take the exam this session? and if so, how did it go?


Hi Ken

She's not taken the exam yet, I was talking about entering her as opposed to not , she has been put in for it in the spring session. Still not sure I've done the right thing. She's done 3 Rockschool grades in the past and scored a merit for Grades 1 and 2 and a good pass for grade 3. Not bad considering she had 10 min lessons at school and the teacher had alot of time off!

I suspect as she's now in year 10 and not having lessons at school anymore that this will be her last exam and I'd like her to get a good mark. Her lessons at the moment are at the arts centre during what should be an Orchestral Percussion lesson so whilst she gets half hour they will not go on indefinately.
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