RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

Summer Study: Distance Learning Edition

May 16, 2020, 08:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

Stick Together Project Rewards Drummers Who Improve Their Drumming Skills at Home
Hit Like A Girl began in 2012 with a mission to highlight female drumming and encourage more girls and women to become drummers. With its new “Stick Together” program, the organization has expanded its mission to help girls and women become better drummers. And, since the COVID-19 pandemic has given drummers another reason to keep playing and support each other, “Stick Together” allows players to strengthen the drumming community at the same time they strengthen their hands. Here are the highlights of the project:

Dozens of today’s top female drummers have been invited to record short videos demonstrating their favorite rudiment, warm-up, or stick-control exercise. The short hand-technique exercises can be played with just a practice pad and a pair of sticks. These exercise videos and transcriptions are viewable on the @hitlikeagirlcontest Instagram page.

Players can collect a downloadable “Stick Together” certificate and access “Rewards” that are special discounts on educational supplies by visiting Participating sponsors include Sheet Music Plus, Hudson Music, Tom Tom magazine, and more.

The first group of posts feature exercises from drummers Sam Landa, Camille Bigeault, Jessica Goodwin, and Victoria Gridzhan. Visit for further details.

Interviews with Top Drummers and Industry Executives Now Available
HLAG’s new “Hit Like A Girl LIVE” show is the latest expansion of the organization’s ongoing effort to showcase and support female drummers, percussionists, and beatmakers. The weekly live stream takes place every Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. EDT/10:00 a.m. PDT on the @hitlikeagirlcontest Instagram page and is hosted by HLAG Director, founder of Tom Tom magazine, drummer, and advocate for the female drumming community, Mindy Abovitz.

Hit Like A Girl LIVE features exclusive interviews and Q&A sessions with some of today’s top female drummers and drum industry executives. Upcoming guests include Lucy Landymore (The World of Hans Zimmer), Marla Leigh (The Frame Drum Academy), Sarah Hagan (Zildjian Artist Relations), DeArcus Curry (Janelle Monae), and more.

Tune in Tuesdays at and visit for more information.

Percussion Festival Now Online
The Eastman Percussion Festival is now the Eastman Online Percussion Festival, running the same dates as before (July 6–10). It is open to high school, collegiate, and adult percussionists; no audition is necessary to apply. The tuition price has been reduced to $350 for the week. The course will feature interactive Zoom group sessions, masterclasses, and two livestreamed performances by the faculty (carefully distanced, of course). Explore more details about this percussion festival and register at

Summer Tabla Workshop

 Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summer Tabla Workshop will be offered in a revised online format. The dates remain the same: June 29 to July 5.

The workshop will take place via the Zoom video conferencing software, which has been adopted by McGill University for all online teaching. The overall structure of the workshop will be virtually the same. Participants will be divided into groups, based on previous experience. There will be daily group classes and daily group practice sessions. This year will be the 10th edition of the summer workshop, and to celebrate, we will have special guest presentations, and concert performances (all online, of course). The revised tuition for this online edition is $300, and registration is due before the end of April.

Because of these exceptional circumstances causing the change in workshop format, anyone who has already registered can choose from the following options: continue as a participant in the online version of the workshop (receiving a partial refund for the tuition difference, or the option to put the money towards private lessons); cancel participation in the workshop and put the tuition payment towards pre-payment for private lessons; or cancel participation in the workshop and receive a full refund.

Uniquely for this year's online edition, there will unfortunately not be a class for people with no prior experience. If you are in this situation, please contact Shawn regarding options for beginning your table studies.

For more information and to register, visit

Virtual Summer Institute
In light of the current situation we are all experiencing with the Covid-19 national emergency, we are designing a new virtual Sō Percussion Summer Institute, in place of our 12th annual Sō Percussion Summer Institute on the campus of Princeton University. Although SōSI is normally limited to percussionists and composers, SōSI Online is available to musicians of any instrument or creative discipline in music, and is available in two main tracks:

TRACK 1: Collaborative SōSI
This is an interactive festival of online collaboration with other participants and Sō Percussion. Tuition is $500. This track will be held during the same two weeks of July that SōSI was scheduled for: July 12–26, 2020. It will provide a creative laboratory to make and perform new works through online collaboration, with direct mentorship from Sō Percussion. Other features will include guest lectures, talks, and listening sessions with Princeton faculty, Sō Percussion, and other amazing guests (TBD). Public live-streamed performances will be featured on Sō Percussion's social media channels.

In order to participate, you must have availability during the two-week festival July 12–26, access to a computer, laptop, iPad, or cell phone for recording purposes, and reliable internet. All applicants currently accepted to SōSI 2020 have been contacted by Shelby Blezinger-McCay about this update. Please refer to your email, or contact us with questions.

TRACK 2: SōSI Online Course
This track is automatically included with Collaborative SōSI, but also available as a standalone course for tuition of $250. This is an online course designed by Sō Percussion covering a vast terrain of interests in percussion, chamber music, new music, and experimental music. The program will run July 12–26, 2020, concurrently with Collaborative program. It will allow individuals to learn at their own pace as they explore an exclusive library of pre-recorded content: videos, writing, lectures, exercises.

Content examples include: Chamber Music 101: The fundamentals of playing together in an ensemble. Includes cueing, part preparation, rehearsal techniques, performance tips; A deep dive into the percussion ensemble repertoire: focusing on pieces such as Steve Reich's "Drumming," John Cage's "Third Construction," and David Lang's "The so-called laws of nature;” and courses designed by the individual members of Sō Percussion, covering topics such as steel drum performance in contemporary music, coordination on drum set, the history and practice of 20th and 21st century experimental music, and integrating technology with new music.

Registration for SōSI 2020 Online opens at on May 15. Please email SōSI Program Director Shelby Blezinger-McCay with any questions at

NYU and Sandbox Percussion announce our first-ever virtual seminar that will take place on August 2-7, 2020. This seminar will feature live discussions and masterclasses on topics ranging from practice and rehearsal techniques, to entrepreneurship tips for creating a career in the arts. We will also feature four guest artists:

Julia Wolfe, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and co-founder of Bang on a Can
Robert van Sice, legendary performer and pedagogue
Doug Perry, omnivorous musician and improvisor
Molly Joyce, enterprising composer and performer

These guests, along with the four members of Sandbox will be available to all participants within an intimate learning format where dialogue and interaction are encouraged. The week will culminate with the premiere performance of a new piece by Molly Joyce, composed specifically for our remote forces, performed by everyone involved in the seminar, and released online. The seminar will take place over a few sessions each day, scheduled to accommodate participants in all 4 US time zones, and all sessions will also be recorded to allow participation from overseas. 

This virtual seminar is available at the reduced tuition of $300 for the week, and the application deadline is July 1. Please click here to learn more, or feel free to contact us at if you have any questions. We hope to see you in August!

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