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Percussion Resources

Where to Go for What

I believe that middle school and high school band directors should strive to be masters of resources, knowing where to direct students for additional learning and experiences that can complement what happens in the classroom. Below are a few helpful and proven resources to share with your students. The choices listed here are only a tiny portion of available resources, but they are reliable, trusted sources which can meet many of your percussion education needs. Having a local percussion teacher to lean on is ideal, but if you don't know where else to start, start here.

Online Resources

Includes a wealth if information, videos, lessons, play-alongs, practice tools, and more

Part of the Vic Firth site, but I list it separately as it’s a great tool for learning the basics of all the common concert percussion instruments—snare, mallets, timpani, cymbals, bass drum, tambourine, triangle, wood blocks, temple blocks, gong/tam-tam

Also within Vic Firth site, but a great go-to resource for learning and teaching the 40 PAS snare drum rudiments, each with its own video lesson and practice tools.

Lists 100+ pop songs by tempo (40 BPM up to 208 BPM), to be used as reference tempos. Can also be used as precise tempos for play-along practice.

200+ free play-along grooves at various tempos in various styles, to replace metronome.

  • Marching Percussion YouTube Playlists 

Instructional videos and “inspirational” videos. Click each instrument for playlist.



        Bass Drums


Includes resources for directors and students, plus videos from clinics/conventions. Access 

to many resources require PAS membership. New in 2017, schools may purchase group memberships 

for their entire school and allow access for all students for $250 annually.

Band Class Resource

       Provides basic exercises for your percussion students to practice during band class while winds are warming up. Includes entertaining play-along tracks​.

       Picks up where its predecessor, Five Minute Drill, leaves off with a series of “next level” exercises for practice pad and mallet keyboard. Take  intermediate students through the paces with their technique, rudiments, and ultimately their musicianship.​

  • Up Front, by Jim Casella and Jim Ancona - great resource for front ensemble (marching band)

  • Percussion Repair and Maintenance, by Mark Bonfoey

  • Practical Guide to Percussion Terminology, by Russ Girsbirger w/ Anthony J. Cirone

  • Percussion Methods, by Stephen Primatic

  • Percussion Instruments: Purchasing, Maintenance, Troubleshooting, by Stephen Primatic

  • The Percussionist's Handbook, by Pater Saleh

Top Publishers of Educational Percussion Materials and Music

Snare Drum Methods & Etudes


  • A Fresh Approach to Snare Drum, by Mark Wessels

  • Stick Control, by George L. Stone

  • Drum Method (Book One), by Haskell Harr


  • Intermediate Snare Drum Studies, by Mitchell Peters

  • Standard Snare Drum Method, by Benjamin Podemski

  • Portraits in Rhythm, by Anthony Cirone


  • Advanced Snare Drum Studies, by Mitchell Peters

  • Portraits in Rhythm, by Anthony Cirone

  • Douze Etudes, by Jacques Délécluse

Keyboard Methods & Etudes

  • A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion, by Mark Wessels

  • Fundamental Method for Mallets, Vol. 1, by Mitchell Peters

  • Fundamental Studies for Mallets, by Garwood Whaley

  • Keyboard Fundamentals with play-along tracks, by Brian Zator

  • EXTRA: Three great books of easy-intermediate two-mallet solos. Perfect for young solo & ensemble students:

    • Mainstream Mallets, by Jason Hammond-Wood

    • Masterpieces for Marimba, by Thomas McMillan

    • 20 Solos for the Young Mallet Percussionist, by Kennan Wylie


  • Modern School for Xylophone, Marimba, and Vibraphone, by Morris Goldenberg (This goes from pretty basic to quite challenging.)

  • *Method of Movement, by Leigh Howard Stevens

  • Vibraphone Technique: Dampening and Pedaling, by David Friedman

  • *Simply Four, by Gifford Howarth

  • EXTRA: Four great books of easy-intermediate four-mallet solos. Perfect for intermediate solo & ensemble students:

    • *Marimba: Technique Through Music, by Mark Ford

    • *Mallets & Music: A Guide to Four-Mallet Music, by Mark Thomas Boseman

    • *Intermediate Masterworks for Marimba, Volumes 1 & 2, compiled by Nancy Zeltzman

    • Impressions on Wood, by Julie Davila


  • Modern School for Xylophone, Marimba, and Vibraphone, by Morris Goldenberg 

  • *Method of Movement, by Leigh Howard Stevens

  • *Permutations for the Advanced Marimbist, by Kevin Bobo

  • *A variety of etude collections and transcriptions by Gordon Stout, Paul Smadbeck, Eric Sammut, Anthony Cirone


(* 4 mallets)

Drumset Methods & Books

  • A Fresh Approach to Drumset, by Mark Wessels w/ Stanton Moore

  • Alfred’s Beginning Drumset Method, by Dave Black and Sandy Feldstein

  • Groove Essentials (1.0 and 2.0), by Tommy Igoe

(This list could be hundreds of titles long… The three listed are great starting points!) 


Timpani Methods & Etudes
Complete (highly recommended)

  • Modern Method for Tympani, by Saul Goodman

  • Fundamental Method for Timpani, by Mitchell Peters

  • The Complete Timpani Method, by Alfred Friese and Alexander Lepak


  • Fundamental Studies for Timpani, by Garwood Whaley

  • Fundamental Solos for Timpani, by Mitchell Peters


  • The Solo Timpanist, by Vic Firth

  • Pedal to the Kettle, by Kirk Gay


  • The Solo Timpanist, by Vic Firth

  • Technique for the Virtuoso Tympanist, by Fred D. Hinger

  • Thirty Etudes, by Jacques Delécluse (elementary through advanced)

Orchestral Excerpt Studies (a large part of timpani playing for college-bound music students)

  • The Working Timpanist’s Survival Guide, by John Tafoya

  • The Timpani Players Orchestral Repertoire (Vols. 1-6), by Fred D. Hinger


Directors should encourage their students to engage in local music opportunities and music-specific educational experiences. Here are a few ideas:

       - Band/orchestra concerts

       - Percussion ensemble concerts
       - Operas/ballets

       - Jazz band concerts

       - Faculty and student recitals

       - Guest artist concerts/classes

  • Major act shows coming through town (popular bands/artists) 

  • University summer music camps

  • Audition-based orchestral and chamber music camps

       - Tanglewood

       - Interlochen 

       - Masterworks Festival

       - So Percussion Summer Institute

       - Chosen Vale Seminars

       - many more!

  • Local, regional, or national music competitions 

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