Abstract

The drum kit is a musical instrument comprising various items of percussion. It is ubiquitous in popular music (the majority of music produced and consumed by contemporary society) but is largely excluded as a requirement in the collegiate percussion studio. The authors contextualize this phenomenon in the wider cultural disparity between music in society (99% rock, pop, hip-hop and other contemporary styles) and music in higher education (almost exclusively Western art music and jazz). We ask the following four research questions: (1) How frequently is drum kit taught in the collegiate percussion studio, relative to other percussion instruments? (2) If drum kit is taught, what topics are taught? (3) If the participants play drum kit themselves, how did they learn? (4) What opportunities and/or challenges exist for drum kit instruction in the percussion studio? Fifty collegiate percussion instructors completed an online survey. Participants agreed that drum kit is important for music-making and teaching after leaving college, but for most, drum kit takes a backseat to snare drum, timpani, and marimba as foundational instruments of Western art music. We argue that including drum kit in the collegiate studio would require a shift in pedagogy and aesthetic orientation, but that such shifts are necessary in order for the collegiate percussion studio to remain relevant. Further research is required to understand how the percussion studio and higher music education more broadly can better serve students and society, including in music teacher education and in kindergarten through 12th grade schools. This article's exploration of drum kit and percussion underscores the importance of discussing the places and purposes of myriad musics and musicians throughout music education contexts.

You do not currently have access to this content.