- Assist your colleagues in striking the stage following a percussion recital — even it you didn’t play. This is common courtesy and will be greatly appreciated when you are the performer.
- Arrive far enough in advance of a rehearsal to guarantee that all equipment is set up and you are properly warmed up before the rehearsal begins. This may mean from ten minutes to an hour before a rehearsal depending on the complexity of the set-up.
- Following a rehearsal, remain long enough to return all equipment to its proper location. Leaving before this task is complete is selfish and inconsiderate to those who remain. Even if you did not play all the instruments, help everyone until the task is complete.
- Never challenge a conductor’s musical decisions during rehearsal. “The conductor is always right, even when he/she is wrong.” Use your section leader or principal to communicate alternative opinions.
- Do not rely on others to bring music, mallets, or equipment you are required to provide. Avoid the reputation of being the “mallet moocher” or worse, the “percussion parasite.”
- Come to rehearsals with your music learned. Rehearsals are for rehearsing, not for practicing.
- Your ears are extremely important to any musician. Wear ear protection when necessary.
- Keep a calendar so that you do not “double book,” forget engagements, or simply fail to have your time organized.
- Attend as many percussion related performances as possible, especially those by professionals in the field. Much can be learned by witnessing your colleagues, or the professional who makes a living at this craft.
- Read as much as possible regarding percussion.
After 32 years as Furman’s first full-time percussion instructor, John Beckford was appointed dean of the faculty in March 2008 and later became vice president for academic affairs and dean, the university’s chief academic officer. Prior to these appointments, he headed all areas of percussion studies at Furman, taught music history, held state offices in the Percussive Arts Society, and was principal percussionist with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra until 2006. He continues to be an active performer as a member of the Greenville Symphony percussion section, performs with other organizations, and teaches the world music course at Furman.
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