Beyond Basic Percussion
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Beyond Basic Percussion

10 Beginning Percussion Ensembles
by Eric Rath & Ralph Hicks
Price: $89.00
Duration: 1:30–2:40 each
Pages: 126
Level: Easy to medium-easy
Personnel: 4-10 players
State Lists: Missouri, Florida, Texas


Beyond Basic Percussion was developed with one concept in mind: Help the percussionists in your ensemble become musically independent so you can spend more time making music and less time worrying about their logistics.

This practical and fun collection is designed by Eric Rath and Ralph Hicks, both of whom are accomplished band directors AND professional percussionists. Inside you'll find ten beginning-level percussion ensemble pieces that address the most common obstacles new percussionists and their teachers face in class. These pieces build on skill sets and difficulty as they progress, and each ensemble is creatively written to confront basic percussion challenges such as:

  • Approaching percussion musically
  • Accessory percussion techniques
  • Multipercussion setups
  • Unique sounds, dampening concepts, etc.
  • Sticking patterns on mallet instruments
  • Equipment logistics
  • Latin percussion techniques
  • and more!

The accompanying enhanced DVD is packed with full-length, multicamera video examples (see "watch/listen" tab above) of each ensemble being performed, plus tips from the authors, technique demonstrations, individual parts in PDF format, and audio files.

Beyond Basic Percussion is also a great resource for university-level methods classes by giving non-percussionist music education majors experience with the "do's and don'ts" in the percussion world. All in all, this collection is packed with variety and enough educational material to last several semesters--everything you'll need to take your percussionists beyond the back of the room and into the music!


 List of ensembles, their principle focus, duration, level, and number of players:

Title Focus Duration Level No. of Players
(incl. optional parts)
Batterie Introducing accessory percussion instruments 1:32 Easy 6-8
Trap Door Using trap tables 1:51 Easy 5-10
Multitasker Multiple percussion setups 1:43 Easy 4-8
Low Tide Control and dynamic expression at a slow tempo 2:29 Easy 7-10
Follow Suit Producing non-standard sounds on standard instruments 1:54 Easy 6-10
Traumatic Chromatic Fast chromatic scales 2:21 Easy 6-9
Mi Milagro Making music and ensemble autonomy (no conductor) 2:40 Med-Easy 3-8
Rechargeable Batterie Furthering knowledge of accessory percussion instruments 2:36 Med-Easy 8
Clave & Sons Introduction to Afro-Cuban instruments in their traditional roles 2:33 Med-Easy 8-10 (or more)
Escape Artist Tying together all concepts in this collection 2:19 Med-Easy 6-7 (or more)



Eric Rath and Ralph Hicks are both educators and deal with common issues band directors face with their percussion students every day. If you'd like to correspond with them to share ideas or ask questions, they've generously made themselves available via email. Click here to email them!


Five Minute Drill Also available from Rath/Hicks, Five Minute Drill provides simple ways to keep your percussionsists busy during daily classroom wind drills. A complete set of exercises and play-along tracks for practice pads and keyboards that they can run themselves!

Let Them Drum! A portion of the proceeds from this title will go to Let Them Drum!—a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation providing recreational drum therapy treatments and performance opportunities for the special needs and assisted living communitites in The Woodlands, TX and surrounding areas.



Dr. Dave Gerhart- Percussionist, Educator, Composer
"I have used the book for the past three years, and I love it. It is perfect for my percussion methods class. I always used it at the end of the class before their final exam. We ran pieces and the students conducted them. I would walk around the ensemble and we would discuss common mistakes that happen in an ensemble setting. It is the perfect book for them to apply what they learned over the semester. I would highly recommend it for any percussion methods class or young percussion ensemble.

Dr. Susan Martin Tariq- Professor of Percussion, West Texas A&M University 
"Beyond Basic Percussion" fills a great void in beginning percussion instruction. Music educators should be thrilled to have video/audio demonstrations of the various percussion instruments used in concert performance and fun music for immediate application."

James B. Campbell- Professor of Percussion, University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
"Beyond Basic Percussion" is a great resource for any school band program that wants to develop well-rounded percussionists. The musical concepts presented in this series pick up where other methods leave off. The music and performance techniques are presented by veteran teachers who are in the classroom every day and know what works to help students achieve their best. "Beyond Basic Percussion" is a welcome addition to the field of percussion education - a must-have for any serious teacher."

David Ratliff- Director of Bands, Madison Southern HS & Foley Middle School (Berea, Kentucky)
"I think this collection is going to fill a very valuable gap in current percussion ensemble literature. The "easy difficulty level" but "quality composed" range has long been void of much literature. This book is going to work perfectly with my students, allowing them to work on individual techniques and instruments within the framework of an actual piece of music. Great book!!"

Brian S. Mason- Associate Professor of Percussion, Morehead State University
"There are so many issues that percussionists face apart from simply playing the music. "Beyond Basic Percussion" helps the instructor address those issues in a logical and guided format that will provide a fun and musical experience for the students. This book is a must-have for any serious educator of young percussionists.

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"Tapspace percussion ensembles offer the opportunity to play music at all levels for all percussionists. The quality of the writing is some of the best I have seen in my 25 years of teaching. It challenges every player in the ensemble from the triangle to the marimba. It challenges each player to perform showing good techniques and skills in all areas of percussion. Thank you to Jim Casella and all the composers from Tapspace for producing such high level literature!! "