Philosophy of UAB Percussion Studio

The UAB Percussion Studio is geared towards the success of its students in today’s highly competitive job market. Students must first audition to become a music major at UAB, and from there are placed into the appropriate level for Applied lessons (private study). Students without previous experience in a high school band program will generally not be admitted until some remedial work is completed.

studio philosophy

The basic philosophy of the studio is to gain competency on the three main areas of concert percussion: snare drum, keyboards, and timpani. Once a basic understanding of these areas is within the students grasp, other areas of interest may be explored, especially as they pertain to the students desired career path. For example, students in the Music Technology program may elect to study MIDI percussion programming and BA students may choose to study drum set or jazz vibraphone. These areas are usually taken in conjunction with traditional percussion studies.

Students in the Music Education degree program will generally continue studies on keyboard instruments and general percussion in an effort to enhance their overall musicianship and to provide exposure to typical teaching situations when possible. All students are encouraged to participate in Marching Band if at all possible; it is the best single vehicle for improving the technical ability of any student on any percussion instrument. Ensemble experience is also a crucial part of any students experience, including percussion ensemble, steel band, and various instrumental groups, and is encouraged and supported. Regular meetings of all students with the percussion faculty are maintained through weekly studio classes, giving students additional exposure to guest artists and regular performance experience.

The percussion faculty at UAB is committed to the growth of all students involved in the percussion program at UAB, whether pursuing music as a major or just enjoying being a part of one of our ensembles.

UAB Percussion Alumni

  • Andrew Bullard - Young Performing Artist Recital (2017), BA Mus. Ed. 2018.
  • Cody Ray - Young Performing Artist Recital (2017), BA Mus Ed. 2018.
  • Josh Ford – Young Performing Artist Recital (2016), BA Music Technology 2016.
  • Joe Collins - Graduate Percussion Recital April 2014, MEd April 2014.
  • Seth Noble - Young Performing Artist Recital (Fall 2010), BA 2010 (Dec.).
  • Adam McDowell - Young Performing Artist Recital (Fall 2009), BA Mus. Ed. 2010 (Dec.).
  • Kristina (Banks) Howard - Soloist with Percussion Ensemble (Spring 2008), BA Mus. Ed. 2008.
  • David Verin – Soloist with Percussion Ensemble (Spring 2007), Graduate Percussion Recital April 2008), MEd 2008.
  • Diedra Robinson – Young Performing Artist Recital (Spring 2006), BA 2006.
  • Keith Lloyd - Instructor of Music/Percussion at McMurry University since August of 2006. MM from the University of Kansas. Bachelors from UAB, 2001. Departmental Recital, 2001.
  • Brad Palmer – co-owner of DoubleStop Percussion in Birmingham, AL. Front Ensemble coordinator for the Bluecoats drum and bugle corps. MM from the Middle Tennessee State University. Bachelors from UAB, 2001. Departmental Recital, 2001.
  • Shane Reeves – DMA from University of South Carolina. MM from the University of Florida. Bachelors from UAB, 2003. Departmental Recital, 2001.
  • Sean Womack – MM from the University of Georgia. Bachelors from UAB, 2001. Departmental Recital, 2001.

History of UAB Percussion

The Percussion Area at UAB has come a long way in a relatively short time. The university band program began in 1978 as a basketball “pep” band under the direction of Dr. Everett Lawler. In 1987, Dr. Clifford Winter joined the faculty as Director of Bands and was charged with starting the first edition of the “Marching Blazers” in 1994. For two years, percussion instruction was handled by Chris Moore, a native of the Birmingham area and teacher of many high school programs.

As the band grew, the need for full-time percussion instruction increased. Eric Hollenbeck joined the faculty as Assistant Director of Bands in the fall of 1996. Under his guidance, the percussion ensemble saw its first substantial growth in talent and numbers. The studio began to evolve as more percussion students were enrolling at UAB to pursue their music degree. The early years saw the UAB Drumline compete in the PASIC indoor drumline contest in 1994, 1996, and finally in 1999, finishing in second place. During this time, the addition of a complete set of steel pans enabled the percussion area to include a steel band. Dr. Hollenbeck left UAB in 2001 to pursue his DMA and now is on the faculty of Colorado State University.

Dr. Gene Fambrough joined the UAB faculty in the fall of 2001 and continued the direction established through the diligence of Dr. Hollenbeck. Dr. Fambrough began acquiring MIDI percussion instruments in 2002 and started the Electro-Acoustic Percussion group in the summer of 2004. After re-establishing the front ensemble of the Marching Blazers in 2002, Mrs. Laura Noah was hired as an instructor for the section in the fall of 2004. The subsequent growth of the percussion area allowed the addition of Mrs. Noah as adjunct faculty instructor of percussion in the fall of 2007 and Michael Glaser in 2008.

Percussion Inventory (partial)

  • 3 - 5.0 octave concert marimbas
  • 1 - 4.3 octave concert marimba
  • 4 - 3 octave vibraphones
  • 2 - 3 octave xylophones
  • 2 - glockenspiels
  • 2 - concert chimes
  • set - 5 timpani
  • 4 - concert bass drums
  • 4 - 4.3 octave marimbas (marching band use)
  • 3 - 3 octave vibraphones (marching band use)
  • 1 - 3 octave xylophone (marching band use)
  • Steel Drums (2 lead, 2 doubles, cello, bass)
  • 6 - drumsets
  • Electronic drumset
  • DrumKat
  • 2 - MalletKATs
  • Roland HandSonic
  • Roland SPD-s
  • ZenDrum
 

Resources