Vic Firth: Percussion 101

This site is a great starter tool for beginner percussionists. It has a wonderful way for starting percussionists, and even band directors, to get a bit more information about the world of percussion. There is a very basic look and feel to it, which in turn, makes it easier to work with. The layout of the site is simple. Vic Firth has a list of different types of percussion categories and instruments. Click on the type of instrument on which you would like information and it sends you to another page that is full of videos and merchandise for purchase (including other companies).

The videos are done very well by David Skidmore. The videos are done in a relaxed, controlled atmosphere which allows for easy concentration. The videos are even specified for different basic concepts from maintenance of instruments and mallets, to proper technique for different styles. It really is a great way to start your world of percussion. Even using this as a teaching technique or supplement is something that is highly recommended.

How can I integrate PERCUSSION 101 into my curriculum?

Whether you are a college percussion methods instructor, a band or orchestra director or a private percussion lesson teacher, we've made this resource a valuable "HANDS-OFF" teaching resource! The information for all of the instruments is presented in a series of videos which cover all the fundamentals, so student can watch on their own. Here are some recommendations for implementing this in your curriculum:


On each instrument "module", there is a STUDY GUIDE that students can download. This study guide will keep them on-task by asking simple questions on information that was included in the video (in sequential order). Simply assign an instrument to the student (giving him or her the appropriate link on our website), hand them a printed study guide, then collect the study guide as proof that they watched the videos!


At the end of each list of videos there is an embedded ONLINE TEST that can be administered through any web browser. The study guide questions are shuffled, and multiple choice answers are provided. At the end of the test, the student will be given a number grade with a copy of his or her completed test explaining all the correct answers.

If the student passed with a 70% or above, a "CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT" is available for printing at the end of the exam (to hand in to you for recording in your grade book). The student also has the option of emailing the certificate to you (or their friends), as well as the option of posting it on their Facebook, Myspace or Twitter accounts.

You can use as little or as much of the program as you see fit. Especially if you are in a situation where you aren't a percussionist or you have students in no position to take private lessons, this is a must see.

If I had only one complaint about this site it would be its pandering to Vic Firth; as a band director, I'd like more diversity. But hey, someone has to pay the bills. Regardless, it's a perfect "free" site to help those who are in need of a headstart in the right direction of percussion success.

- Octavio Cedeño

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