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Versatility and the 21st Century Percussionist: Late 20th and 21st Century Works for Classical Percussion, Drum Set, and World Percussion
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Twenty-first century percussionists must be able to perform in all three major areas of percussion: concert percussion, drum set, and world percussion. Regardless of a performer's ultimate aspirations, the ability to work in all areas is essential to building a successful professional career. This trend is apparent in academia as well. University teaching positions routinely attract 100 or so applicants for even entry-level jobs, and often require a variety of skills. Knowledge and performance ability in all three of these areas are therefore requirements for a stable career as either a performing or teaching percussionist. This project will explore the depth and breadth of works written for all areas of modern percussion, and will present both newly-composed and standard works that use a variety of classical, jazz and world percussion techniques. The works studied and performed will comprise a "core curriculum" that all modern percussionists should be able to perform. This project will also serve as a pedagogical model. Curricula at major institutions recognize that undergraduate students should be exposed to all areas of percussion, but these schools typically parcel the teaching out to multiple faculty "specialists." It is my goal to become part of a "new generation" of percussion teacher who can teach in all areas. My ability to perform and teach in all three of these areas is therefore of fundamental importance. This project will help to develop both a repertoire for study and to showcase a clear model for the "next-generation" percussion teacher and student by presenting three public recitals in which these areas will be highlighted and explored. The first recital focused on concert percussion and included works for snare drum, mallet percussion, and timpani. The second recital was comprised of works for drum set in both solo and chamber settings in both classical and jazz idioms. The final recital consisted of composed and improvised works for Latin American, African, and Caribbean world percussion instruments in both solo and chamber settings. This completed project has demonstrated the model of a comprehensively-trained modern percussionist. It showcases the techniques and skills utilized by the 21st century professional percussionist. This project serves as a pedagogical model for what a "next-generation" percussion studio should include.