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MUSIC 3P03 Percussion Methods

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. John Brownell


Office: Togo Salmon Hall NULL

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23884

Office Hours: By appointment

Course Objectives:

This course surveys fundamental performance techniques for the percussion instruments found in Western orchestral music: the snare drum, timpani, keyboard percussion instruments (xylophone, glockenspiel, marimba, and vibraphone), bass drum, cymbals, small accessory instruments, drumset, and hand drums.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Hoffman, Stewart,

2017 The Band Teacher’s Percussion Guide: Insights into Playing and Teaching Percussion. New York: Oxford University Press.

Method of Assessment:

Evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

Snare drum test (October 6) 25%

Midterm take-home test (Due November 3) 20%

Final take-home exam (Due December 8) 25%

Concert review (Due December 1) 10%

Participation 20%

Grading Scale:

A+ 90-100 B+ 77-79 C+ 67-69 D+ 57-59 F 0-49

A 85-89 B 73-76 C 63-66 D 53-56

A- 80-84 B- 70-72 C- 60-62 D- 50-52

The concert review is a short, newspaper review length (approximately 800 words) report on any performance that features a preponderance of percussion (typically a percussion ensemble concert but any “percussion-intensive” performance will suffice – see me if you are not sure).

Students will receive a midterm grade of at least 10% by Nov. 10, 2017.

After one week, late assignments will not be accepted, except in the case of a justifiable absence.

In addition, basic maintenance and tuning of the instruments will form an important part of the course content.

This is a “hands-on” course. A great deal of class time will be spent playing which accounts for the weight given to participation.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Currently under review. Changes to the General Academic Regulation, Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work, Fall 2015 will have and impact on the current text.

[Approved text for the MSAF is automatically generated, however, additional messaging can be added below]

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.