PercEnsemble Lesson Plan

For the next rehearsal, please be prepared to review the following items:


Warmups – add roll exercises; continue marking time sequence;

Run through Pure Imagination.

Music Ensemble for Wizard Intro (and DDWID based on time)

Set first 2 sets of Wizard Intro


Start with Warm ups; nothing new.

Introduce marking time with feet sequence/refine with exercises.

DDWID Measure 9 through 18


Start with warm ups.

Finish any Pure Imagination corrections needed.

Move into Wizard Intro clarifications.

Start DDWID music: GOAL – beginning to Measure 9


We will return to Pure Imagination for ensemble work this week to make sure we have not lost any skills from our camp.  Please download any updated music from the Student Access page for percussion.

Rehearsal will start with standard warm up exercises in order to keep  building our skills for our hands.  We will start our feet skills next week.


Update for all sections – This weeks focus is going to be 3 main items.  First is finishing the current written show, controlling our stick heights/establishing “levels”, and working in additional/new exercises for technique building.  We will also start introducing movement concepts once we return from Thanksgiving break.  Don’t forget about our Triplet timing exercise we added last week.  That needs to be in our repertoire also.

Levels – Levels are related to stick heights or in the music world dynamics.  Below are established Levels to be incorporated into your/our daily routines from this point forward.  The inches are related to how high the tip of your stick/mallet is above the playing surface.  Battery heights are as stated; Front Ensemble (FE) heights are to add 1 inch above what is stated.  In other words, for example, Level 1 for Battery is 2 inches.  For FE that would be 3 inches and so on.  Accent heights follow the same rules for FE.

Level 1: piano (p); 2 inches; accents 4 inches

Level 2: mezzo forte (mf); 4 inches; accents 6 inches

Level 3: forte (f); 6 inches; accents 9 inches

Level 4: double forte (ff); 8 inches; accents 12 inches

Snares/Tenors – pull from the handbook Sixteenth Diddle exercise.  The recording is on the Student Access Page link.  This is your additional at home practice homework for this week.  Start at Level 1 and grow to Level 3.

Bass Drums – Start to work splitting basic rhythms with 8th notes, 16ths, and eventually we will work up to sextuplets.  Download a metronome app onto your device (free) and set a tempo of 90 beats per minute with 8th note division.  Then work on placing your notes on your count of a pattern listed below.  You can download Metronome Beats for apple at: and for Android at:

Bass split patterns – these are on the shared drive under Music PDF folder.  We can name them A, B, C, etc.

Previous Lesson Plan updates:

Front Ensemble – Green Scales in C Major and Ab Major, Double Beat, work on pulling the notes out from the keyboard, Show Music up to Letter D

Snares/Tenors – Current Exercises; Add Triplet Diddle, Sixteenth Diddle, and Sixteenth Accent Pattern (Pg. 18, 20, 21 of the Handbook); show music

Bass Drums – Work through all rhythmic patterns of the show music and start highlighting/memorizing your specific notes.  Top bass is on the note G (Treble Clef), second bass is on E, third base on C, and fourth bass is on A.  Continue to work technique in how we hold our mallets and approach the drum head.  Splitting 8th and 16th notes.

Visual – After Thanksgiving break and during our first December 15th camp, we will learn a few movement scenarios for how we are to maneuver around on the floor.  A full manual will be compiled and uploaded into our download folders.  However, until then, here are key notes from today’s lessons:

  • Posture – Shoulders up, back, and then down into position.  Should feel like shoulder blades are pushing toward spine while the sternum is pointing out and upward.
    • Squeeze the buttocks and abdominal muscles to support and use your core muscles.
    • Align hips to knees to ankles – do not push knees all the way back however
    • Feet are in a “V’ shaped position.  There is not an official dance position name for this however we could use a “Forward First Position” for a naming convention.  Heels together – toes apart.  Place left heel into right arch while right foot is at 45 degree angle and make a “T” (I know we can all do this!).  Then pull the left foot back and even with the right foot to make your “V”.  This is the closest I have found to be able to clean this position.
    • Use hands on the hips while drums are not being warn
  • Tendu’s – Pronounced (ton-dew’), is a ballet move we pull from and modify for our needs.  The move starts in our “V”.  Then while pushing the sesamoid (ball of your foot) forward, lift heel off the ground and push your toe forward.  Return to the “V”.  This is a brisk movement.  Your leg should be straight at all times.
    • Sequence: Left foot to the front for 8, out the left for 8, and back for 8; switch and do the right foot forward for 8, right for 8, and then back for 8.
  • Backward Step – We start here because it is the most uncommon movement for us.  We are made to move forward.  You should be on your toes/sesamoids (balls of your feet) at all times while moving backward.  Otherwise, you WILL fall at one point and either hurt yourself or hurt others around you.
    • On first count, push up and back from your sesamoids.  Be mindful to point your heel straight back or in the direction you are traveling.  Otherwise, you could trip as you are leaving from a “V” stance where you heel is point into your body center.  Goal is to have at least a 22.5 inch step.  Repeat with right foot.
    • No heels ever!  Unless you are coming to a halt.
    • Legs remain straight except for slight bend when moving leg passes stationary leg.
    • Use subdivision to cross ankles on the “&” beats
    • Do not allow your posture to weaken; remain up and actually if you are straight up and down, you will feel as if you are leaning forward some while marching backward.
    • Continue to squeeze your core at all times to maintain solid support for your upper body
  • Forward Step – We do this most often.  We get out of bed and we walk forward to our next task.  However, instead of heel first, for indoor, we are learning toe first.
    • Apply Tendu technique (listed above) to push out the sesamoid and then roll down to the heel.
    • Make sure your initial step size is 22.5 inches unless otherwise instructed
    • Posture remains the same from waist up
    • Ankles cross on the “&” beats
    • Legs are mostly straight except during that “&” moment
  • Crab Step – General point>>right foot always stays in the line of march.  If you are going left, then left foot is behind right foot.  If you are going right, then left foot is in front.  This keeps the right foot always on the line to march.  You should be on the sesamoids (balls of your feet)
    • Transition from left to right: On count 8, right foot should be crossed over left and in front.  For count 1, do not move – it’s called a “dead count”.  On count 2, move the right foot out to the right.  On count 3 bring the left foot across in front of the right foot and place it in a cross step, continue.
    • Transition from right to left: On count 8, left and right feet are apart in an open second type position.  Without swaying toward your right foot, pick up your left and move it straight back for count 1.  We call this rearticulating the left foot.  For count 2, cross over in front of your left with your right foot and continue the motion.
  • Box Drill – Exercise to utilize and practice all basic maneuvering we will need for the season.  Sequence is 8 counts forward, 8 left, 8 backward, 8 right, 8 forward, 8 right, 8 backward, 8 left, and halt.  We will be adding another 8 forward and a varied “Position” during the next visual rehearsal.

<Updated: 11/18/18>