This series of video lessons will provide students and instructors alike with a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental techniques for the most common percussion instruments. From instrument setup to maintenance to performance techniques, Vic Firth's PERCUSSION 101 will cover the essential skills necessary for today's all-around percussionist.

The curriculum for this series was compiled by members of Vic Firth's Collegiate Educator Program which includes some of the most influential university instructors in the country. Presented by percussionist David Skidmore in a relaxed, approachable atmosphere, this series is sure to become the most widely referenced video guide for percussion education!


To learn the essential fundamentals for timpani maintenance, tuning
and playing techniques, first take some time to watch the following videos.
After you've finished, test your knowledge with our online quiz!


TEACHERS: The online test is the perfect way to use Vic Firth's PERCUSSION 101 in your classroom!
and get ideas for how to implement this valuable resource in YOUR curriculum!

01: Instrument Characteristics & General Maintenance
An overview of the timpani and tips how to maintain and transport the instrument. Including an extensive article on replacing timpani heads.
06: Muffling
The basics for stopping the sound with the fingers, including muffling for note length and for clarity.
02: Setup
Suggestions for properly positioning the drums, music stand and mallet tray.
07: Tuning
Learning to sing and hear pitches as well as transferring the pitch to the drum. Including finding the best drum for a given pitch.
03: Grip and Basic Stroke
Presenting the fundamentals of gripping the sticks (French, German, American), proper beating area and playing with a relaxed, full stroke.
08: More Tuning Recommendations
Covering other tuning topics: singing intervals, tuning with a tuning fork, sympathetic resonance and tuning etiquette.
04: Sticking Considerations
A discussion of alternating, leading-hand, cross-over and double sticking techniques.
09: Articulation and Stroke Speed
Using stroke speed to create more articulation without changing mallets.
05: Rolls
Suggestions for developing a relaxed sustaining roll sound on timpani. Including a discussion of roll speed and moving from drum to drum.
10: Mallet Selection
An overview of some of the sound possibilities possible using a variety of mallets.
Replacing/Clearing Timpani Heads
Including complete instructions on replacing a timpani head, clearing (tuning) it, and adjusting the pedals.
Interval Recognition Chart
A collection of tunes for all of the intervals, ascending and decending.
Tim Genis Timpani Clinic
Presented at the 2007 PAS International Convention by Tim Genis (timpanist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra)
Recovering Timpani Mallets
Including an instructional video on how to recover your Vic Firth American Custom® Timpani mallets.
Stuart Marrs on Elliott Carter
Watch Stuart perform and examine “March” from Elliott Carter's “Eight Pieces for Four Timpani”


IMPORTANT NOTE: Each computer station has ONE OPPORTUNITY to take this test and receive a CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT
(you may take the test as often as you like – but no certificate will be offered on subsequent attempts). We recommend that if you
taking this test for a grade, YOU USE THE STUDY GUIDE as you watch the videos BEFORE ATTEMPTING THE TEST!

Concert Bass Drum Tambourine
Crash Cymbals Suspended Cymbal
Gong / Tam-Tam Triangle
Keyboard Percussion Instruments Wood Blocks / Temple Blocks
Concert Snare Drum Marching Percussion
Timpani Drumset

About David Skidmore:

David Skidmore is active as both a performer and composer of music for percussion. David is a member of the Ensemble ACJW, Third Coast Percussion, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Lucerne Festival Percussion Group, and Collide. He is a dedicated advocate for the music of our time, having commissioned, premiered, and performed dozens of new works by many of the great composers of the 20th and 21st century.

David has been featured as a soloist with the Royal Academy of Music Orchestra in London, the Pacific Soundings series in Sapporo, Japan, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra LaSalle Bank Chamber Music Series. As a chamber musician, David has performed for the Music on the Edge series in Pittsburgh, the Cleveland Art Museum Concert Series, June in Buffalo, Klangspuren Schwaz, the Philharmonie Essen, the Ojai Music Festival, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, the Bang On a Can Marathon, the Princeton Composers’ Ensemble, and at three Percussive Arts Society International Conventions.

David’s compositions are performed regularly in concert halls and universities across the country. Two of David’s pieces were performed in November 2007 at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. In May of 2007 his latest piece, “Unknown Kind”, was premiered at Carnegie Hall. He was awarded 1st prize in the 2005 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest and 2nd prize in the 2004 contest. His piece “Whispers – for 9 Percussionists” was a finalist for an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award in 2005, and has been recorded by the Northwestern University Percussion Ensemble.

David received the Bachelor of Music degree from the Northwestern University School of Music and the Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. His teachers have included Robert Van Sice, Michael Burritt, James Ross, Paul Wertico, and Michael Hernandez.