December 19, 2014

Local percussionists attend master class

Five local students participated in Washburn University’s Total Percussion Camp.
During a master class offered on July 16 of the camp, noted percussionist Jeff Hamilton taught a captive audience of more than 40 including Gardner Edgerton High School students Allison Fabing and Nick Smith, Spring Hill High School students Ethan Martin and Nicholas Wright, and Wheatridge Middle School student Josh Lopeman.
The students worked through different strokes meant for using brushes, sticks or mallets on a drumset. They “sang” what they intended to play and focused on the importance of internalizing music and letting it really come from within. And they got a lesson in “good housekeeping” while playing the drums, to always know where their sticks, brushes and mallets are, and be able to switch easily.
Because the act of playing a whole note is the same as that of playing an eighth-note on percussion, “we have to learn to play musically,” Hamilton said. “If you want to play music with people, you have to learn to play legato – to fill the space.”
After teaching the master class, which was attended by some community members as well as camp participants, Hamilton and his trio performed Wednesday as a highlight of the camp.
Several Washburn music alumni, including Brandon Graves, are teaching other master classes and working with students. Washburn music faculty also are teaching, including Tom Morgan, director of percussion for Washburn music, and others, said Nancy Morgan, administrative director of the Total Percussion Camp.
Each of the 33 camp participants was given a placement audition when he or she arrived to campus Tuesday afternoon. They study in ability-based groups. All students are participating in drumline, drumset, ensemble and master class sessions.
Participants from come from throughout Kansas, and two have traveled from Norman, Okla. The group includes students in grades 7-12, and one teacher, Nick Huck, who teaches at Central Christian School in Hutchinson, Kan., and is using the instruction as a percussion refresher for the coming school year.

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