Percussion Pedagogy

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Michael Udow

General Info

Year of Published: 2019
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-1909-0295-7
Cost: $75.30


In Percussion Pedagogy, author Michael Udow offers a practical guide for students interested in teaching percussion as well as improving their technique. Udow first introduces the bouncing ball system, a technical analogy that teaches students to resist the effects of inertia. Throughout the book, the bouncing ball analogy develops into a core performance principle based on integrated motions resulting in refined tone quality and meaningful musicianship. The book applies this principle to several instruments including snare drum, timpani, marimba, vibraphone, multiple-percussion, tambourine and triangle, bass drum, cymbals, tam-tams, and a variety of Western concert and world percussion repertoire. In particular, Michael Udow addresses the importance of coupling stroke types with stickings to set the foundation for precise rhythmic playing and expressive musicality. Chapters also focus on integrated rhythms, breath, and pulsed rhythms, anatomy and physiological health, psychological health, purposeful listening, and the importance of singing when practising. Offering solutions to common performance problems, the book's many examples serve as a paradigm for future problem solving. A comprehensive companion website complements Michael Udow's teachings with a wealth of video tutorials and listening examples.

Table of contents

1 Flowing Strokes: Follow the Bouncing Ball! . 5
2 The Grip: To Grip, or to Gripe, that is the Question. 7
3 Stickings and Stroke-Types: Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water 17
4 The Art of Phrasing: Sing, Sing, Sing! 31
5 Purposeful Listening: Listen, Listen, Listen! . 39
6 Integrated Rhythms: The Prequel . 45
7 Embellishments: Back to Basics 51
8 Teaching Duple Subdivisions: What's Up? 63
9 Rhythm: Who Could Ask for Anything More?. 67
10 Integrated Rhythms: I'm All a Quiver!. 73
11 Breath Rhythms: A Breath of Fresh Air. 97
12 Timpani: The I's, Y's, and Beyond . 103
13 Mallet-Keyboard Instruments: Move over Elephant, There's an Octopus in the Room. 169
14 Triangle and Tambourine: Turkish Cooking in the Kitchen - 243
15 Cymbals, Bass Drum, Tam-tams, and Gongs: Asian and Turkish Delights. 267
16 Multiple Percussion: An Integrated System of Form and Function. 297
17 Drumset: Oh Say, Can you See... Hear... Play!. 329
• Robert Breithaupt
18 Marching Percussion: Not Just on Saturdays. 361
• Dennis DeLucia
19 Language, Speech, and Notation: The Gryphon and the Mock Turtle - 381
20 Anatomy and Physiological Health: Constant Comment. 399
21 Psychological Health: Ohm, by Georg e, Without Resistance. 411
Conclusion. 425
Timeline 427
Notes . 433
Glossary. 441
Bibliography. 461
Index of works discussed. 469
General index 471 


Student Reviews

"This book is the percussionist equivalent of a music theory textbook. The first eleven chapters are focusing on the very specific attributes that a percussionist needs to focus on from something as small as wrist angle to size of hands best suited to playing the instruments in the percussion section. It starts with explain the different stroke types, grips, phrasing, listening, sticking, counting, embellishments, and more. In each chapter giving very clear and concise information about all the different things to focus on from start to finish. This is not however a book I would recommend for younger students, it is more focused on a college, or professional level of advancement. Learning how to focus on what oneself or a student is doing that could be changed to work better and produce a better sound while also putting less strain on the students’ wrists and arms. This book also lists in the chapters from twelve and on the other instruments in the percussion sections and the very specific ways. Going over sound and sound quality production and quality along with playing styles and information to make the best sound on the instruments. This book focuses on more of a meat and potato’s approach to instrument care and maintenance. But will give you the best and longest explanations of the science and physical approach to playing the instruments and the best way to conduct how to learn to play each instrument and focusing on the key elements of percussion playing. I gave this book a rating of four stars, because its consistency, information and explanations were very informed, detailed, and well worded to give the best possible results in being able to correct and work with students to have them playing their best." - Thomas Scott

Works for Percussion by this Composer

A Bird Whispered, ""Your Children Are Dying""Percussion Quintet
Acoustic Composition No. 1 (Solo)Multiple Percussion; Tape
Acoustic Composition No. 1 (Ensemble)Percussion Duo; Tape
Acoustic Study No. 1 – Multiple Percussion
African Welcome PiecePercussion (12+)
As the Wind ColorsPercussion Quartet
Barn Burner – Multiple Percussion; Trombone; Piano
Bog Music (Solo) – Multiple Percussion; Percussion Ensemble
Bog Music (Ensemble) – Percussion Quartet
Concerto for Percussion with String Quartet – Multiple Percussion; Strings
Coyote DreamsPercussion Trio; Marimba
Cycle, Retrace, Progress, Be StillVibraphone; Dance
Dance for J.P.C. – Percussion Quartet
Dinosaur Dance (Solo)Timpani
Dinosaur Dance (Ensemble) – Percussion Quartet; Timpani
Dreams from A Bayou - Long Ago but not Forgotten - – Vibraphone; Flute
Duet (Udow) – Multiple Percussion; Dance
Flashback – Percussion Quartet
Flashback with MIDI – Percussion Quintet; Tape
Four Movements (Udow) – Percussion Quartet
Fracture – Multiple Percussion
Illusion I – Solo Percussion - Claves; Conductors (5)
Inside - Out with a Secret P.S.Snare Drum
Lightning II – Percussion Trio; Oboe; Saxophone
Limits – Percussion Trio
Music for Cross-Cultures, No. 1 – Percussion (12+)
Reality I – Percussion Quintet
Remembrance (Udow) – Multiple Percussion; Wind Ensemble
Sandsteps I – Percussion Duo
Shadow Songs I – Percussion (12+)
Shadow Songs IV (Sextet)Percussion Sextet
Shadow Songs IV (Ensemble) – Percussion Ensemble; Marimba
Suite for Jazz Drums and 4 Handclappers – Drum Set
Tennei-Ji – Marimba
The Contemporary Percussionist – Multiple Percussion
The Enchanted Land – Percussion Duo; Oboe
The Shattered Mirror
Thoughts from Almost Near Somewhere – Percussion Sextet
Threnody – Multiple Percussion; Tape
Timbrack Quartet – Percussion Quartet
Token City – Multiple Percussion; Video
Two Transparent Structures for Percussion Quintet (Ensemble) – Percussion Ensemble; Marimba
Two Transparent Structures for Percussion Quintet (Quintet) – Percussion Quintet
UnderstandingPercussion Octet; Tape
Vistas – Multiple Percussion; Bass Clarinet
Zig-Zag – Percussion Duo

Books for Percussion by this Composer

Udow, Michael. Percussion Pedagogy. Oxford University Press, 2019.
Udow, Michael and Watts, Chris. The Contemporary Percussionist. Meredith Music Publications, 1986.