RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • Industry News — April 2021

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Apr 21, 2021

    Marching Arts Educators Community
    The “Marching Arts Educators” is a new educator-centric community created through a partnership between Conn Selmer Inc. and the Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps. The purpose is to facilitate access to valuable educational information and discussion centered on the pageantry arts. The community will provide a place for directors to share ideas and learn best practices from a host of top-tier educators and clinicians across the country.

    The Facebook page, “Marching Arts Educators,” launched March 4, 2021, offers opportunities for music educators to engage with a host of clinicians and educators who are some of the best in their respective specialties: brass, woodwinds, battery percussion, front ensemble, color guard, and electronic sound design, as well as highly regarded marching band directors across the country.

    On the second Wednesday of each month, the Marching Arts Educators Webinar will take place from 8–9 p.m. EST, focusing on a topic of relevance to marching arts educators everywhere.

    2021 Product Tours on YouTube
    A global audience of thousands tuned into Drum Day LA, a free livestream event held on February 5, 2021 to showcase the new products launched by Drum Workshop, Gretsch Drums, PDP, and Latin Percussion. Now available on the brands’ respective YouTube channels, drummers and percussionists can check out the very latest products at their leisure.

    Drum Workshop fans can see J.R. Robinson tour the new products in the DW booth including footage of Thomas Lang demonstrating the Purple Core Collectors series and the DW Manufacturing pedals with colored footboards. DW’s “wood whisperer,” John Good, accompanied by session great Russ Kunkel, also takes viewers on a behind the scenes tour of the California factory including a visit to the Candyland showroom and the permanent display of Neil Peart’s R40 kit.

    Eric Hernandez is the host for the PDP drums booth tour, which features the limited edition Twisted Ivory PDP kit, new Concept select snares, and the upgraded PDP hardware ably demonstrated by Tony Royster Jr.

    Gretsch fans are treated to a tour of the new gear by Gary Novak with Keith Carlock and Gergo Borlai demonstrating their respective new signature snare drums.

    Novak also shares his enthusiasm for Latin Percussion’s new products with exclusive performances by Stanton Moore using the Tambo-Stick he helped design and the versatile Tambo-Rings. Additional performances include Diego Alvarez & Friends using the new Wood Tapas and Camillo Molina & Marcos Torres playing the Barrill de Bombas.

    Drum Day LA was a unique celebration of drummers and percussionists worldwide and an excellent way to share with the drumming world, during a pandemic, the exciting lineup of the company’s new gear for 2021. All the product and factory tours plus the performances will be available permanently on the brands’ YouTube channels.

    DW TimelineProject Timeline
    DW Music Foundation (DWMF) is delighted to announce Project Timeline, a new initiative with the objective of highlighting the importance of the African American musical lineage and the influence it has had on a wide range of music genres.

    Project Timeline is a music-centric advisory board made up of manufacturing industry veterans and celebrated drummers and percussionists. It aims to deliver a program of working with schools in underserved communities to spark musical interest and engage young people of all ethnic backgrounds, ages, and abilities by donating resources including instruments and qualified, passionate educators.

    Special Ambassadors for Project Timeline include award-winning percussionists Kevin Ricard, Mona Tavakoli, Taku Hirano (Fleetwood Mac), and drummer Trevor Lawrence Jr. (Dr. Dre, Herbie Hancock, LeAnn Rimes). 

    Each year, during Black History Month, Drum Workshop will design and build an exclusive, limited edition run of 10 snare drums. These special drums will retail at $1,000 each with 100% of sale proceeds going to Project Timeline. For 2021 the all maple 6x14, 10-ply Collector’s Series drums are finished in Ivory Ebony Exotic with Piano Black lacquer bands and chrome hardware with special Project Timeline batter head.

    DWMF invites you to join them, as the foundation reaches out to underprivileged, disadvantaged, and deprived schools to kindle music engagement, illuminate the potential, and embolden growth with each beat of the drum.

    To learn more about DWMF, Project Timeline, and to purchase the limited-edition snare drums, visit

    An Online Marketplace for Drummers
    Many aspects of drumming, like so much of life, have moved online over the past few years. Unfortunately, due to this trend, serious drummers wanting to buy, sell, or trade drums, or just learn about the latest gear and how to take care of it, have fewer options when seeking a professional level of instruments, knowledge, and resources, online or off.

    In order to revive the traditions and values of the classic drum shop in an online experience, George Lawrence launched, a marketplace and community where drummers, drum retailers, and drum manufacturers can promote and sell their new, used, and vintage gear. While DrumSeller’s online listings feature product images, videos, and descriptions that are seen by a global audience, the website also offers educational content about tuning, head selection, maintenance, and many other topics.

    Lawrence is a successful touring and recording drummer, former drum shop owner, teacher, drum builder, and publisher of the Not So Modern Drummer magazine. According to Lawrence, DrumSellers is intended to be a modern, online version of the independent drum shop that supported the growth of drummers and drumming for the past 75 years. “The main ingredient of a successful drum shop was never just the drums,” explains Lawrence. “It was the people who worked there and provided the passion, education, experience, and expertise. It was about being a place to hang out with other drummers, as well. Today those qualities are too often missing.”

    DrumSellers offers concierge-style, service for one low sales commission. When a buyer or seller contacts DrumSellers customer service for help or info, there will always be a knowledgeable drummer to respond. In addition, there is no fee for trades or to join the site to take advantage of its popular features like the community forum and the email update of the latest listings.

    For more information, visit

    HLAG Educational AwardsHIT LIKE A GIRL
    Sponsors Contribute Lessons and Educational Awards. 
    In recent years, Hit Like A Girl's mission has expanded from encouraging girls and women to become drummers to helping girls and women become better drummers. As part of this commitment to supporting and facilitating the growth of the female drumming community, prizes for this year’s contest feature a number of scholarships for lessons, workshops, and camps as well as exclusive opportunities to study with some of the top drum instructors in the world.

    Educational prizes for Hit Like A Girl 2021 include: A lesson with Ableton Certified Specialist Danielle Thwaites, four private classes from a DrumHouse instructor or a pass to a virtual clinic by an international drum artist, lessons with studio legend Russ Miller from Gruv-X, lessons with Broadway drummer, author, and teacher Joe Bergamini from Hudson Music, access to online courses for beatmaking and finger drumming from Melodics, Summer Shot Scholarships from Musician’s Institute, one-year tuition and a feature on the My Drum Lessons website, a one-semester band and lesson package from School of Rock, a one-hour private lesson from international drum ambassador Dom Famularo, and an hour of legal advice from entertainment lawyer Paul Quin from The Sessions.

    Berklee College instructor Sergio Bellotti and Cirque du Soleil Amaluna drummer Emilie Cleuver have agreed to provide online lessons as special awards, while four one-hour, online lessons with world-renowned drummer/educator Emmanuelle Caplette are being provided on behalf of Hit Like A Girl’s “Stick Together” project. The ongoing program features stick control exercise videos by drummers from around the world on the Hit Like a Girl Instagram page plus a selection of Rewards from Sheet Music Plus, Tom Tom, and Hudson Music on the HLAG website.

    Finally, the “Hit Like A Girl Power Pack X” (presented by Hal Leonard) features free downloads of educational content and is available to all contestants. This year’s participating Power Pack sponsors include Hal Leonard, PAS, Hudson Music, Drum Channel, Drumeo, School of Rock, Tom Tom, Digital Drummer, SoundGirls, and more.

    To learn more about HLAG-X rules, sponsors, judges, prizes and more, visit

    Eastman School of Music Honored
    Yamaha Corporation of America has named the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester as a 2021 honoree in its inaugural Institution of Excellence program, acknowledging the school’s extraordinary commitment to innovation in the study of music. Only 10 outstanding schools nationwide earned the prestigious designation this year.

    Yamaha is committed to working with Eastman in substantive ways for the long-term growth and benefit of its music students and faculty. The Institution of Excellence program is tailored to respond to each honoree’s unique mission and the designation unlocks benefits for the institution, its faculty and its students.

    “We chose the Eastman School of Music for its outstanding work in elevating the quality and relevance of leadership throughout the field of music education,” said Dan Rodowicz, senior director, Institutional Sales, Yamaha. “From foundational programs like the Institute for Music Leadership to providing opportunities such as the Eastman Leadership Conference and Academy, Eastman is extraordinary for fostering collaboration among up-and-coming leaders. Working with partners like Yamaha, Eastman has built a unique ecosystem designed to equip leaders for practical, impactful careers. This is all part of a program that demonstrates our commitment to finding, celebrating and collaborating with institutions who share our vision for music’s crucial role in society.”

    “We are grateful to Yamaha Corporation of America for recognizing Eastman as an Institution of Excellence,” says Jamal Rossi, Joan and Martin Messinger Dean at the Eastman School of Music. “Yamaha has been a wonderful partner and supporter of our academic and musical goals for many years. It is an honor to be recognized for the positive impact our school and alumni are making in the world.”

    Yamaha and Eastman have enjoyed a longstanding relationship. The Yamaha Graduate Fellows program at the Eastman Leadership Conference, established in 2017 and run by Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership, recognizes Eastman’s role as a trailblazer in music leadership and development, and provides current and future music school leaders the opportunity to learn and discuss policies, programs, and strategies in a collaborative, professional, and musically rich environment. Yamaha graduate fellows receive full tuition scholarships, made possible through the generous support of Yamaha Corporation of America.

    This year’s 10 schools were selected by Yamaha following a rigorous, nationwide nomination and review process. Honorees are chosen for their dedication to providing unique and challenging experiences to their music students through diversity of thought and curriculum, exposure to a wider variety of voices and opportunities, and an emphasis on preparing students for the modern world of music. Each year, new Institutions will be selected for recognition and added to the roster.

    For more information about Yamaha Institutional Solutions, visit

  • Playing with Four Mallets: How to Hold Them by Emily Tannert Patterson and Josh Gottry

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Apr 19, 2021

    There are two categories of four-mallet grips: independent (in which the mallets don’t touch each other in the hand) and cross (in which the mallets intersect in the hand). The first independent grip was created by instrument designer and marimbist Claire Omar Musser. The Musser technique is less widely used today but can work well for some players. The Stevens technique was developed from the Musser technique and popularized by marimba virtuoso Leigh Howard Stevens. The two cross grips, both widely used today, are the Traditional grip and the Burton grip. Special thanks to Dan Moore and Brian Zator for their additional perspectives in making sure these grip descriptions are as accurate as possible to mainstream usage.

    The first step in playing with four mallets is selecting a grip and learning how to properly and comfortably hold the mallets in each hand. For this step, walk away from the keyboard; you can stand or even sit comfortably and should focus only on your hands. Make sure you have at least two matching mallets for each hand (two pairs) or better yet, four matching mallets.

    Start with one hand at a time. Regardless of which grip you try or eventually decide to use, once you feel you’ve successfully picked up the mallets, set them down and try the other hand by itself. Once both hands are reasonably comfortable individually, try putting mallets in both your hands. (Hint: set up your non-dominant hand first, while your dominant hand is not yet full of mallets.) Make sure to stretch out your fingers and hand frequently; to varying extents, each of these grips use a lot of small muscles that can tense and tire quickly in the initial learning phase.


    Gottry Stevens Grip

    Stevens Grip, top view (right). Stevens Grip, side view (left).

    While there are many books, blogs, YouTube videos, etc., that can show you how to hold and use two mallets in each hand using the Stevens Technique, the definitive guide for this technique is Method of Movement for Marimba by L. H. Stevens. The Stevens Technique works best when using birch shafts.

    Starting with the outside mallet, pick up the mallet and slide the shaft between the middle and ring fingers. The mallet shaft should travel along the top of the palm toward the outside edge of the hand and the end of the mallet shaft should align with the outside edge of the hand. The ring finger and pinkie should curl around the mallet for stability and support.

    Next, pick up the second mallet and place the end of the shaft at the base of the thumb. The shaft should rest on the first crease of the first finger, near the knuckle, and the thumb should rest along the shaft of the mallet, with space between the thumb and the hand. The middle finger should either sit on top of or wrap around the shaft of the mallet, inside the palm.

    In playing position, the hand should be perpendicular to the keyboard. The thumb should be at the top of the hand, facing the ceiling, with the outside edge of the hand facing the floor; the palms should face one another.

    Here’s a quick list of things to check: The index finger should be relaxed, forming approximately a 90-degree angle, not wrapped around the mallet shaft; it can be easiest to think of this as a bird perch. The shaft of the inside mallet should rest in the crease of the knuckle closest to the fingertip. The mallet shaft should rest in the center of the thumb pad, and the tip of the thumb should rest directly above the index finger. The thumb and index finger together should resemble a capital T. Be sure the ring finger is ONLY curled around the outside mallet, and does not touch the inside mallet. The base of the inside mallet should rest near the base of the thumb, or perhaps in the center of the palm (for smaller-handed students). No more than one inch of the outside mallet should protrude from the pinkie. The outside mallet should sit right behind the knuckle of the ring finger, not back in the webbing of the hand. The outside edge of the hand must face the floor (think “karate chop” hand position).

    The pinkie and ring finger are responsible for the outside mallet; the thumb, index, and middle fingers are responsible for the inside mallet; and they never share or cross over. The inside mallet should lay flat or even droop slightly, while the outside mallet should have a slight upward angle. This allows the mallet heads to lay in the same plane despite being in two different places in the hand. It is normal for beginners not to be able to do this (or not for very long), because they lack muscle strength in the palm and especially the outside of the hand. However, it is essential they keep correct hand position and not allow the hand to turn to even out the mallets. This can easily become a bad habit that will later have to be corrected.

    Using the Stevens Technique, the mallets are numbered from lowest to highest: left-hand outside mallet is number 1; left-hand inside mallet is 2; right-hand inside mallet is number 3; right-hand outside mallet is 4.


    Gottry Burton Grip

    Burton Grip, top view (left). Burton Grip, side view (right).

    The Burton grip was developed by jazz vibist Gary Burton and is one of two cross grips where the shafts of the mallets cross inside the hands. This grip is typically used with rattan shafts but may also be used with birch shafts.

    Start by laying the mallets in front of you on a flat surface. At this point, the shafts should be perpendicular to your body and parallel with each other. Cross the mallet shaft of the outside mallet on top of that of the inside mallet about 2/3 of the way towards the back end of the mallet (about where you would typically grab a snare drum stick). Insert your index finger into the top quadrant of the “X” that is formed by the mallet shafts. Wrap the thumb and remaining fingers around the mallets and pick them up. The thumb and index finger will meet on opposite sides of the inside mallet, in a fulcrum position similar to holding a single mallet in each hand. The middle finger should rest on the shaft of the outside mallet as it passes through the hand. The ring and pinky finger will curl around the back end of the inside mallet.

    To widen the interval between the mallets, pull the index finger toward the palm and pull the shaft of the outside mallet up toward the base of the fingers with the pinky and ring finger. To widen further, move the thumb in between both mallets (along with the index finger). To narrow the interval between mallets, point the index finger straight ahead, and push the mallet heads towards each other with the thumb while also using the back fingers to squeeze the mallet shafts together inside the hand.

    When using Burton grip, mallets are typically numbered from highest to lowest: right-hand outside mallet is number 1; right-hand inside mallet is 2; left-hand inside mallet is number 3; left-hand outside mallet is 4.


    Gottry Traditional Grip

    Traditional Grip, top view (left). Traditional Grip, side view (right).

    The Traditional 4-mallet grip is a popular cross grip in Europe and Asia and is used by such outstanding marimbists and teachers as Keiko Abe and Nancy Zeltsman. This grip can be used equally well with either birch or rattan shafts.

    Start by laying the mallets in front of you on a flat surface. At this point, the shafts should be perpendicular to your body and parallel with each other. Cross the mallet shaft of the inside mallet on top of that of the outside mallet approximately two to three inches from the back end of the mallet shaft. Insert your index finger and thumb into the top quadrant of the “X” that is formed by the mallet shafts and wrap your remaining fingers around the mallets. The shape of the index finger and thumb should make a “C” in the left hand and a backwards “C” in the right hand. The index finger will make contact with the outside mallet slightly above or below the first joint of the finger, whichever feels more comfortable to change intervals. The thumb will make contact with the inside mallet between the first joint and tip of the thumb. The back of the hands should face upwards to the ceiling or at a 45-degree angle away from your body. This will make it easier to keep the “C” position with the index finger and thumb.

    At an intermediate interval, the tip of the middle finger will rest on the shaft of the inside mallet and the ring and pinky fingers will be wrapped comfortably around both mallet shafts and the point where they cross. To widen the interval between the mallets, spread the index finger and thumb further apart, allow the middle finger to wrap around the outside mallet only, and have the tip of the ring finger remain touching and supporting the bottom of the inside mallet. At this point, only the pinky and ring fingers will be securing the mallet shafts at the point at which they cross. To narrow the interval between mallets, squeeze the mallet shafts together using the middle finger along with the pinky and ring fingers, while pulling the index finger and thumb closer together.

    When using the Traditional 4-mallet grip, mallets are usually numbered from lowest to highest: left-hand outside mallet is number 1; left-hand inside mallet is 2; right-hand inside mallet is number 3; right-hand outside mallet is 4.

    Emily Tannert PattersonEmily Tannert Patterson is a percussionist and online educator in Cambridge, U.K. Previously she was a percussion educator, arranger, clinician, and consultant in the Austin, Texas area, serving as the percussion director at Rouse High School and Wiley Middle School, in Leander, Texas from 2015 till 2018 and at East View High School, Georgetown, Texas from 2011 until 2015. Her ensembles garnered numerous accolades, including winning the 2016 PAS IPEC. Patterson holds a Master's degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied with Thomas Burritt and Tony Edwards. Patterson earned her Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Studies, along with an undergraduate Performance Certificate in Percussion and her Texas teaching certificate, from UT in 2008, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Northwestern University in 2004. Patterson marched with the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps in 2003 and was a member of the 2004 Winter Guard International world champion indoor drumline Music City Mystique. Prior to her move to the U.K., she was active in judging around the country. Patterson holds professional memberships in the Texas Music Educators Association and the Percussive Arts Society and serves on the PAS Education Committee. 

    Josh GottryJosh Gottry is a respected educator, accomplished percussionist, and internationally recognized composer, who has been working with, and creating music for, the next generation of percussionists for over twenty years. He has served as part of the music faculty on college and university campuses around the Phoenix metropolitan area, works regularly with ensembles and students at all grade levels as a clinician and within his private lesson studio, and his performance record includes professional orchestras, musical theater, worship teams, jazz combos, community and chamber ensembles, as well as solo performances and recitals. Gottry is an ASCAP award-winning composer whose works have been performed at universities, junior high and high schools, and multiple national conferences, and he serves as editor for Rhythm! Scene.

  • R!Solo: “Just a Step Away” for Solo Keyboard Percussion by Daniel J. Krumm

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Apr 17, 2021

    “Just a Step Away” gets its name, as well as its dark and colorful tones, from one of my favorite synthetic scales: an Fmaj7 chord with half steps above each chord tone. The spelling of the scale is F, G-flat, A, B-flat, C, D-flat, E. This piece is all about balancing stability and flexibility in harmony as well as expression. The major triads using scale degrees 1-3-5 and 2-4-6 combine with five different half-step pairs so that almost any note can feel like home, while never allowing the piece to settle completely. 

    Featured also in this piece is the augmented triad (F, A, C-sharp/D-flat). The triad fits the scale, and the addition of a half step above any of the three notes creates a minor seventh chord: G-flat min7, B-flat min7, or D min7. Reading and learning the piece will be much easier if you practice the scale and augmented triad before beginning.

    Krumm Scale Graphic 

    The numerous expressive indications are guidelines to the generally shifting nature of the piece. Performers are encouraged to sing and breathe in every passage, and find the tension and relaxation of each gesture for themselves. The descriptive dynamics at the top are intended to tie an expressive intent to each resonant zone on the instrument. No instrument or number of mallets is specified, and the piece could be played on almost anything with any combination of mallets. The resonant character of each instrument would naturally change interpretive decisions significantly, and some written indications could reasonably be changed or disregarded.


    R!Solo: “Just a Step Away” for Solo Keyboard Percussion by Daniel J. Krumm. from Percussive Arts Society on Vimeo.

    Just a Step Away Score

    PDF Download Button

    Dan Krumm Daniel J Krumm
    is a percussionist of wide-ranging experience. Equally at home in the symphony orchestra, musical theatre ensemble, samba bateria, salsa band, folklorico, djembefola, chamber ensemble, solo stage, or teaching studio, he brings a diverse array of skills and sensibilities to any situation. Having received formal training in percussion during his undergraduate studies at Iowa State University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Dan is now living and working in central Iowa. He can be heard on Matthew Coley’s CD Souvenirs, Neil Thornock’s CD Between the Lines, and the Heartland Marimba Festival’s inaugural CD, Heartland Marimba Dances.

Contact Us

Percussive Arts Society
110 W. Washington Street Suite A 
Indianapolis, IN 46204
T: (317) 974-4488
F: (317) 974-4499