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  • Industry News — September 2020

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Sep 16, 2020

    MALLETECH Jim Bailey
    Jim Bailey Announced as Director of Sales and Marketing
    Malletech is proud to announce the hiring of Jim Bailey as Director of Sales and Marketing, reporting directly to Founder and Chief Executive Officer Leigh Howard Stevens. Blending over 20 years of experience as both a music educator and member of the musical products industry, Jim recently served as Educator Relations Manager for D’Addario and Company. In that role, Jim pioneered and implemented the company’s first multifaceted educator loyalty program, developed content for six diverse brands, managed strategic partnerships, and assisted in planning and execution of digital, social, and in-person experiences. These innovative programs connected Jim and the D’Addario brands to thousands of players and educators worldwide.

    Prior to his work at D’Addario, Jim established himself as an accomplished band director and instructor for the seven-time world champion Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. As a performer, he has played under the direction of Dr. Stephen Pratt (Indiana University), Raymond Leppard (Indianapolis, Symphony Orchestral), as a member of the Cavaliers 1995 World Championship ensemble, and holds a PASIC international soloist title from 1996.

    “I am beyond excited to put my skills and experiences to work for a company that continues to be the world’s visionary for keyboard percussionists everywhere,” Bailey said.

    In his new role, Jim will be responsible for planning and overseeing all sales and marketing efforts company-wide. His involvement will mean a sharper strategic focus and a refreshed approach to artists and influencer collaborations.

    Leigh Howard Stevens commented, “With the addition of Jim Bailey and the experience he brings, Malletech is well-positioned to expand our business and increase our market presence. I’m really excited to see what the future holds.”

    NATIVE INSTRUMENTS Native Instruments
    New CEO and President
    Native Instruments Co-Founder & CEO Daniel Haver and Chief Innovation Officer and President Mate Galic announce they are handing over NI to a new generation of leaders, appointed from within the company. Constantin Koehncke, currently Global Marketing Director and heading up the company’s Los Angeles office, will become NI’s new Chief Executive Officer. Robert Linke, currently Director of Sound Products, will take on the position of Chief Product Officer and President. Making up the new Management Board, both will step into their new leadership roles as of October 1, 2020, marking a new chapter in NI’s history. Daniel Haver and Mate Galic will remain at Native Instruments, actively supporting the company and its new leadership as Chairman and Deputy Chairman via a newly-formed Supervisory Board.

    This announcement comes at a time of strength for the company, with a string of highly successful releases from NI’s KOMPLETE Instruments and Effects division, and a financial year on course to be the best in the company’s 24-year history. Haver says, “Mate and I believe now is the right time to hand over the company to a new generation of leaders. Native Instruments today is in a very strong place, and it’s on this foundation that Constantin and Robert will bring fresh energy, continuing to deliver exceptional products. Their many years of leadership in Marketing and Products and countless successful contributions made them the perfect choice to lead Native Instruments into the future. It’s been a privilege for us to lead Native Instruments for over 20 years, and we’re immensely proud of what we have achieved as a company, as well as personally. Native Instruments will always be home to Mate and I, and we’re excited to support Constantin and Robert in writing the next successful chapter.”

    Formed in Berlin in 1996, Native Instruments pioneered real-time sound synthesis on standard computers with its first ever product, Generator (later known as REAKTOR). Daniel Haver joined Stephan Schmitt as a co-founder in 1997, and has led the company as CEO since. Mate Galic joined Native Instruments in 1999 and developed a symbiotic relationship with Daniel Haver. Since 2009, they have led the company together and their friendship, complementary skill sets, and relentless pursuit of innovation have kept the business at the cutting edge of digital music creation and performance.

    Over his 10 years with Native Instruments, Constantin Koehncke played a crucial role in positioning the company at the cutting edge of music creation. With a track record of building and managing high-performing teams—including NI’s Americas Marketing division in the company’s largest market—he’s created a multitude of high-profile campaigns and partnerships, leaning on his deep relationships with the global artist community and the wider music industry. Prior to NI, he worked as a publicist and journalist, and was an active DJ in London and Berlin.

    Robert Linke joined NI in 2006 and is currently Director of Sound Products, encompassing the company's virtual instruments, audio effects, and sound libraries as well as the flagship KOMPLETE bundles. He has proven to be a vital contributor in shaping Native Instruments’ outstanding product quality and variety in his 14 years at the company. Prior to NI, he worked for Mercedes Benz South Africa and was an active electronic music producer and DJ.

    Koehncke says: “The accomplishments of Daniel and Mate in taking NI to this point are extraordinary. They grew the company from a small group of passionate technologists in Berlin into one of most relevant brands in music technology, still driven by the same passion and vision that created it. It’s an incredible honor to take on the challenge to transition Native Instruments into the future. Robert and I are especially thrilled to work with and learn from our passionate, talented and collaborative team, and to partner with all of them to take the company forward."

    In addition, Tobias Baumbach, currently Vice President of Engineering, officially becomes Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and joins the new leadership team. Baumbach has served as interim CTO since January 2020, having made major contributions for over a decade as a developer and senior manager in the company’s engineering department. Lars Kröger and Tom Kurth remain key pillars of the organization, having served over 15 years at NI, most recently in their roles as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Legal Officer.

    Contest Winners Announced
    The OU Percussion Press is proud to announce winners of the OUPP Percussion Ensemble Composition Contest.

    The First Prize composition is “Cyclus” by Austin Theriot. Austin is a composer, vocalist, and pianist from Austin, Texas. His music has been performed nationally and internationally by ensembles such as Houston Grand Opera’s community outreach division (HGOco), KC VITAs Chamber Choir, and the Atlantic Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble.

    The Runner-Up composition is “Emerging Victoriously” by Chris Prather. Composer and percussionist Prather graduated with his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and his Master of Music degree from Oklahoma City University. One of Prather’s goals as a composer is to shed light on social justice issues with his music. He is currently in the process of expanding No Justice, No Peace, an opera that shows a family’s struggle with police brutality, into a full-length opera along with Megan Prather and Kenneth R. Woods. The winning pieces will be available for purchase later this year. 

    PDP PDP Abe Laboriel JR
    Abe Laboriel Jr. Plays Concept Classic Series Drums
    The first-call studio and touring drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. recently visited Drum Channel Studios. While recording he discovered the retro-inspired PDP Concept Classic Series kit featuring plied European Maple counter hoops. The powerhouse drummer was also enamored by the sonic attributes of the 14- x 26-inch bass drum that accompanied the setup.

    PDP Concept Maple Classic bridges the gap between modern build techniques and vintage aesthetics. The 100% European Maple drum shells with matching counterhoops deliver a round, focused sound with minimal overtones, ideal for any studio environment. The three-piece kit is available with a variety of kick drum sizes. Bop configurations are offered with a 14- x 18-inch kick. The kits are finished in a range of understated satin lacquer finishes. Standard features include True-Pitch tuning, vintage-style low-profile die-cast Claw Hooks, Dual Turret Lugs, and Remo heads.

    Laboriel Jr. is known for playing oversized drums and cymbals, while harnessing the subtle nuance of their dynamic range. Commenting on the sound of the drums in his home studio in Los Angeles he said, “These PDP wood hoop drums are consistently killer! These drums are super versatile and great to record!”

    Laboriel Jr. grew up around some of the biggest names in music, with a father who is amongst the most influential bass players of our time. He made his live debut with Paul McCartney in 2001 and has played on every tour since. A highly sought-after session drummer, he has worked with Eric Clapton, Sting, Sheryl Crow, Lady Gaga, Seal, Chris Isaak, and many others.

    To find out more about PDP and the Concept Maple Classic kit and snare, visit

    PMC Virtually Connecting with New Drummers
    While the entire music products industry has faced changes associated with the global coronavirus pandemic, the Percussion Marketing Council doesn’t view these challenges as obstacles. Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2020, Percussion Marketing Council’s leaders and members combined efforts, synergy, and creativity to not miss a beat when it comes to growing the market with newly created players and drummers.

    Making a direct impact with drummers through promotional opportunities and keeping the PMC’s educational programs moving forward was essential. This spring, the “Get Your Sticks Together” promotion, providing monthly winners with 12 free half-hour drum lessons at a music retailer’s teaching studio, was quickly expanded to include online drum lessons if the music store was closed because of Coronavirus mandates.

    As the COVID-19 pandemic escalated nationwide, the PMC kicked off a new International Drum Month promotion in May, offering drummers a chance to win an online “Lesson with a Master” with internationally recognized celebrity drummers Gorden Campbell, Rick Latham, Rich Redmond, and David Stanoch. In light of the many COVID-19 restrictions across the country, this year’s reimagined International Drum Month virtual drum lessons worked perfectly with social distancing guidelines.

    Both online lesson promotions have been tremendously successful with an unprecedented number of new drummers visiting the website for contest entry, featured drumming news, webinars with professional drummers, and connections to PMC member websites.

    “This year, we’ve seen a significant increase in junior-size drum set sales as a result of the stay-at-home circumstances,” commented PMC’s special counsel representative Brad Smith. “Parents recognize the value of their kids playing drums and view it as a positive educational experience. These self-starting drummers will be a tremendous new crop of young players and students for private lessons as we evolve back to normal instructional lessons.”

    As for the PMC’s in-school educational presentations (Drum Set in the Classroom) and hands-on drumming presentations (Percussion in the Schools/Libraries), the obstacle faced were how to sanitize and disinfect drumsticks that are shared by hundreds of students in an all-school assembly. The PMC received a huge product donation from a member allowing the PMC to create 30–40 individual “Personal Percussion Packs” for each in-school workshop or drumming class. The PPP consists of a pair of drumsticks, an 8-inch tunable practice pad, and instructional CD/book packet which the participating student drummer uses and can keep permanently, as a gift from the PMC. As soon as schools reopen, the previously delayed in-school presentations will be rescheduled, offering schools these PMC Personal Percussion Packs as a connection and hosting incentive.

    PMC Co-Executive Director Karl Dustman explained, “Our leadership team and membership stepped up to the COVID-19 challenges, seizing every opportunity available to continue new player-drummer market development growth for retailers. Now more than ever the PMC is working with its membership and all percussion retailers to make certain we come together to support drummers of all ages. We cannot lose sight of the potential to create new customers as a result of increased time and interest in trying new things like drumming. Once the Coronavirus is under control, we’re optimistic that drums and drumming will see significant increases in interest, product demand, and more new drum lesson students in the retailer’s teaching studios.”

    Lessons with a Master Winners Announced
    The Percussion Marketing Council kicked off a new International Drum Month promotion in May offering drummers a chance to win an online “Lesson with a Master” with internationally recognized celebrity drummers Gorden Campbell, Rick Latham, Rich Redmond, and David Stanoch. In light of the many Covid-19 restrictions across the country this spring, this year’s reimagined International Drum Month promotion worked perfectly with the new social distancing guidelines.

    “We wanted to create an educational opportunity for drummers to learn from and experience a private online lesson with some of the industry’s most respected players. People are becoming more familiar with online teaching technology used for live lessons. Even with a simple video chat, the audio quality is good enough, and you can hear what someone is playing on an instrument. It’s not too different to a face-to-face lesson,” PMC Co-Executive Director David Jewell explains.

    The giveaway attracted close to 500 entries from player of all levels, genders, and ages from across the county via, the PMC’s official website. Each randomly selected winner had a private one-hour video-conference lesson with one of the four artists. Winners include: Marcus Cain, Bolivar, MO; Johnny Shankel, Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Jack Johnson, Eau Claire, WI; Nathan Bales, Springport, IN; Daniel Jimenez, Milbank, SD; John Helm, Gardena, CA; and Stephanie Krichena, Oklahoma City, OK.

    “We were extremely fortunate to have these teaching artists step forward to help us draw attention to the 25th anniversary of the Percussion Marketing Council and participate in this very special 2020 International Drum Month campaign,” states Jennifer Paisley, PMC Co-Executive Director.

  • Adapting Stone's Stick Control as 4-Mallet Floor Exercises by Jason Baker

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Sep 14, 2020

    Many of us have found ourselves stuck at home and away from our instruments; this is particularly true in the case of keyboard percussion. The percussion community has had to embrace a newfound resourcefulness in finding ways to practice and perform that will hopefully last well beyond our return to normal access. While the use of new technology has greatly aided in this, I have found inspiration in something old and time-tested: Stick Control.

    Published in 1935, George Lawrence Stone’s Stick Control for the Snare Drummer is considered among the best and certainly most well-known snare drum method books. Percussionists have created their own variations on Stone’s exercises and transferred them to countless other settings. This is due to the genius simplicity behind the book and its universal appeal to performers of all percussion instruments: taking a set rhythm and varying its execution through a wide variety of sticking patterns while striving for a uniform sound throughout.

    I initially developed my “Stone Variations” for 4-mallet marimba as floor exercises. Having studied with Mark Ford at the University of North Texas, I was made familiar with this concept as a way to address the mechanics of various strokes away from the instrument, allowing for focus on movement and grip without obsessing over note accuracy. Plus, you can do them anywhere, from your living room while watching Netflix to the green room at Carnegie Hall. By sitting with your back flat against a wall or foot of a couch, your hands rest comfortably at your side and allow the same angle and upper body relaxation needed when playing at the marimba.

    The variations I am going to share are based on Exercises 1–13 on page 5 of Stick Control (“Single Beat Combinations”), after which applying the ideas to other sections of the book should seem intuitive. The 4-mallet techniques addressed (using the nomenclature from Leigh Howard Stevens’s Method of Movement) will be double vertical, single independent, single alternating, double lateral, and triple lateral strokes. Explanations include the numbering of mallets as 1, 2, 3, 4 from left to right.

    These only demonstrate a handful of ways this material can be adapted to 4-mallet technique; many more can certainly be discovered with a bit of creativity.

    This variation is the easiest to explain. The designated “R” and “L” sticking would be executed by the respective hands with both mallets in each hand, taking care that both mallets strike at the exact same time (no “flams”) and grip/stroke mechanics are used that ensure a fluid motion as the tempo increases. The first three exercises from page 5 are given below. All subsequent examples would be performed in the same manner.

    Exercise 1

    Baker Stick Control F-1

    Exercise 2

    Baker Stick Control F-2

    Exercise 3

    Baker Stick Control F-3

    All the examples on page 5 can also be used to work on single independent strokes, using four variations: inside mallets, outside mallets, odd-numbered mallets, and even-numbered mallets. This is demonstrated with the first two exercises and can easily be applied to variations throughout the page.

    Exercise 1

    Baker Stick Control F-4

    Exercise 2

    Baker Stick Control F-5

    Double strokes (“RR” and “LL”) appear in exercises 3–8. In these examples, single alternating and (in faster tempos) double lateral strokes can be applied. Four variations for executing double strokes are given: beginning each grouping of doubles with the inside mallets, outside mallets, odd-numbered mallets, and even-numbered mallets.

    Exercise 3

    Baker Stick Control F-6

    Exercises 5–8 combine doubles and singles in a “paradiddle” fashion. Below, doubles are given starting on both the inside and outside mallets. While the single strokes in these examples are indicated with the inside two mallets, they can also be played with the outside mallets or a combination of inner and outer.

    Exercises 5–8

    Baker Stick Control F-7

    The next four exercises (9–12) are played using single alternating or triple lateral strokes, beginning on either the inside or outside mallets.

    Exercise 9

    Baker Stick Control F-8

    The same approach can be applied to the rest of the exercises in this subset.

    Exercise 10

    Baker Stick Control F-9

    Exercise 11

    Baker Stick Control F-10

    Exercise 12

    Baker Stick Control F-11

    In addition, these can be performed by alternating between inside and outside mallet lead within each measure, helping achieve fluidity at a faster tempo and building the motion needed to develop one-handed rolls.

    Exercise 9

    Baker Stick Control F-12

    This idea is continued in Exercise 13 with four-note groupings.

    Baker Stick Control F-13

    In addition to serving as floor exercises, these variations can also be useful in developing permutation exercises at the instrument and serve as a basis for improvisation. Below are two examples using the sticking in Exercise 5 (RLRR LRLL): one using open fifths in each hand and the other with interval changes determined by voice-leading in a I-vi-IV-V chord progression.

    Baker Stick Control F-14

    Baker Stick Control F-15

    As previously mentioned, the concepts listed throughout this article can be applied to other sections of the book, such as “Triplets” (pgs. 8–9), “Short Roll Combinations” (pgs. 10–13), and “Short Rolls and Triplets” (pgs. 14–15). I hope that these ideas serve the percussion community well during our current context of limited access to instruments, but also provide additional inspiration for creative problem solving for the lack of instrument access that we all face occasionally as percussionists, regardless of outside circumstances. Happy practicing!

    Jason BakerJason Baker is a percussionist, author, and composer/arranger living in Starkville, Mississippi. He serves as Professor of Music at Mississippi State University, Associate Editor for New Literature Reviews of Percussive Notes, and Chair of the PAS University Pedagogy Committee. You can contact him at

  • Five Question Friday: Susan Powell (The Ohio State University)

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Sep 11, 2020

    Susan PowellSusan Powell is Professor and Director of Percussion Studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Powell is an active chamber performer, appearing with the Pendulum Duo and Sympatico Percussion Group at festivals, universities, and PAS Days of Percussion across the country. She has performed as a solo and chamber musician across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Mexico, and is the recipient of the OSU Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and the School of Music Distinguished Teacher award. Powell holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM) and Northwestern University (MM, DM).

    Rhythm! Scene: What other jobs, music or otherwise, did you have prior to your current university position? 

    Susan Powell: I was fortunate to have a mother who worked as a costume designer in theater, so all of my summer jobs, from middle school through college, were playing musicals in local repertory theaters. Probably as a result of this exposure, I have a weird talent for remembering lyrics to showtunes, but I don’t see many career possibilities for using this in my future.

    R!S: What's one thing in your institution or city/town (other than your school of music or music department) that you are proud to tell people about?

    SP: The North Market in Columbus is an amazing place! As the Percussive Arts Society convention used to land here in Columbus often, I’m sure many past PASIC attendees remember visiting it directly adjacent to the Columbus Convention Center. 

    R!S: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

    SP: Anyone who knows me well knows I have a little dog with whom I’m in love. Anyone who doesn’t know me should know this, because she’s awesome. Her name is Leia (as in princess), so there’s another tidbit about me: I love Star Wars!

    R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?

    SP: What I love about being a percussionist is never having to choose just one! But if I have to select one, I do enjoy the xylophone, particularly seeking out and creating new repertoire for the instrument. 

    R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?

    SP: I split my childhood between Anchorage, Alaska and Casper, Wyoming, so I can claim past residence in rather unusual places. Between these two locations, I had amazing teachers and experiences in music for which I’m eternally grateful.

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