Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesPerforming Arts · 3 weeks ago

How can I purchase or borrow orchestral percussion without funds, as well as convince the the Committee it is needed?

I direct a 25 piece community band and we have no percussion instruments except a drum set.

My committee seems to think it is enough to have just a drum set and a "drummer". They don't understand that there are various percussion parts to band ensemble music, (in addition to drum set). Also, they think the "drummer" is only to keep a beat and look at it as a crutch.

My view is that the percussion section is to provide both the beat (and often) the color of the music, but not as a crutch for band members to stay together. (The band is supposed to first watch the Conductor for that).

how can I:

1) Purchase or borrow percussion instruments such as auxiliaries and timpani?

2) convince them that we need more than 1 percussionist and they must be able to rotate within a section to cover all necessary parts. We have not been able to get a "Drummer", no less percussionists. But, perhaps of course having the equipment on site would be a draw. The Committee always says, "right now, we just need a drummer". Very frustrating because 1 drummer is not enough. What if they are absent? Also, it does not cover all the parts.

1 Answer

  • Cogito
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    A good percussion section is essential for every orchestra.

    My father was the director/organiser/conductor for a large youth orchestra for over 40 years.  He managed to get a few sponsors, we raised money by doing every sort of fund-raising thing known to mankind.  We did sponsored walks, play-ins, silences - anything we could think of.

    And we bought instruments of all kinds for those whose families couldn't afford them, we bought a set of timpani, a side drum, a bass drum, cymbals and all the other bits and pieces.

    I learned to play every percussion instrument over a few years and ended up teaching the younger kids.  You need at least three players for a decent sized orchestra.  We had three plus two reserves who usually played clarinets but would step in, in case of sickness.

    Try to explain to this committee that a good percussion section is absolutely necessary.  Yes, they provide the beat and the colour of the music, but actually they DO act as a crutch for novice or diffident band members to stay together.  It takes experience and confidence to always be watching the conductor.  

    A steady beat during rehearsals can help them to gain confidence and mentally link what they hear with how the conduction gives the beat.  Percussionists should know when to tone it down for a real performance, or even remain silent but at the rehearsal stage they can really help it all come together!

    Good luck!

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