Becoming a percussion instructor.

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Darrien995 Offline
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Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:30 pm



Ok, so I want to be a percussion instructor when I grow up. I'm only in 8th grade and I'm sure this is what I want to do. I have 0 other interests other than drumming. It' crazy. So I was just wondering, is it difficult becoming a percussion instructor?
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AHSTenor93 Offline
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:17 pm



you're only in 8th grade, don't count on your interests to remain the same by the time you can become one.
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:20 pm



AHSTenor93 wrote:you're only in 8th grade, don't count on your interests to remain the same by the time you can become one.
This. Last year i was dead set on becoming an animator/major in animation. I even looked into colleges and their requirements to be accepted in. This year i'm not so sure lol.
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Darrien995 Offline
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:53 pm



Eh, but seriously. Drumming is my life. Something drastic will have to change it.
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:24 pm



First off, you're 13/14. You have no real idea with what you want to do with your life right now, I promise. Your opinion will more than likely change over the next four years. I'm not saying you will definitely change your interests, but it's a natural part of growing up.

Second, being a percussion instructor will never amount to a full time job (unless you're really lucky.) You can do summer jobs, or winter line, but the pay will not be enough to support you. At best, it would be a nice secondary job.

That said, you may want to look into getting a degree in music education. Since you're in 8th grade, you are in a good position to build your chops and make sure you are accepted into a good college percussion program. This way you can look into getting a job as a music/band teacher, AND wont have to hire a percussion instructor every year, lol. Plus, learning and teaching other instruments is pretty fulfilling.

Don't let me discourage you, though. Just thought I'd be the voice of reason. Good luck to you, sir.


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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:43 pm



The best job to have while drumming/being an instructor is teaching. Like Elementary, middle, or high school. It's one of the only schedules that allow perfect time for it.
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:46 am



The only way you will be able to tech your entire life is to make yourself miserable. You will have to tech a school, a university, an indoor line, a corps, and compose. Otherwise, you won't make any money. (You will probably still be poor as hell, unless you become amazing).

If you truly want to pursue that, go for it man. I admire the focus. However, I advise against it unless you can truly devote that much time away from the more important things in life. (Family, etc.)

EDIT: If you can become a band director, you will be MUCH better off. Major in music and do some teching.
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SpaceJam Offline
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:52 am



I understand that it is less common outside of Texas, but there are such things as "Percussion Director" positions in school districts around here. It's essentially an assistant band director position, but all you work with is the percussion sections of the middle and high school bands.


Darrien995 Offline
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:05 am



SpaceJam wrote:I understand that it is less common outside of Texas, but there are such things as "Percussion Director" positions in school districts around here. It's essentially an assistant band director position, but all you work with is the percussion sections of the middle and high school bands.
Good thing I'm in Texas. Would I be able to support a family and what not with this kind of job, or just become a full time band director?
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:23 am



Hey! I'm in eighth grade too. I teach 6th grade Percussion with the assistant band director at the high school. And it also depends on where you teach as to how much you get paid.
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SpaceJam Offline
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:26 pm



Darrien995 wrote:
SpaceJam wrote:I understand that it is less common outside of Texas, but there are such things as "Percussion Director" positions in school districts around here. It's essentially an assistant band director position, but all you work with is the percussion sections of the middle and high school bands.
Good thing I'm in Texas. Would I be able to support a family and what not with this kind of job, or just become a full time band director?
It is a full time job, and you get the same pay as an assistant band director (so yes). It does require at least a Bachelor's degree though. Also just know that many school programs will have a position titled "Associate/Assistant Band Director", when the actual job is solely working with the percussion sections in your district. You might have a concert band to direct in the spring, in some cases; either way, if you've gone through the schooling to get a music degree, you will be qualified and prepared to teach one. Texas is one of, if not the best state to be in if you're looking for a band director job.

But I'm with the others who have said similar things, chances are you will have a way different perspective on things when you're graduating high school. Being a music educator was the last profession on my mind until I was like 17 or 18. If your high school offers a music theory class, take it. If you can take one through a local community college, do that.


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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:43 pm



It's my dream to teach percussion at my current school. I don't want future kids to have my experience. t's kinda like when parents say, "I want you to have a better life than I had." Only I'm saying, "I want you guys to have a better drumline than what I was in."

I've been in jazz theory for two years. It's basically like music theory. My senior year schedule is going to be Band, Percussion, Jazz Theory, Music Theory, Jazz Band, and A+ Tutor for band and most likely Pottery. Very musical schedule.

I'm super excted to go to college and do what I love.
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:20 pm



- first of all, don't let other people tell you what or how you are going to feel in a couple of years. They don't know. This happened to me. I let people talk me out of doing what I wanted to do, and lost 10 years of my life because of it. I was in the same boat as you...I knew in 5th grade that I wanted to be a drummer, and deal with drumming for a career.

- as someone mentioned above, make sure that you soak in every ounce of knowledge about music that you can get. Take private lessons. As a percussionist get proficient on all percussion instruments. Attend clinics. Go to summer camps. Try to get into all the ensembles you can in school - marching/concert/indoor/pit orchestra/jazz band...whatever. If your school offers them, take music theory classes and any music tech classes you can. DO solo and ensemble.

It is through this process that you will find out what is truly needed to be a music teacher/percussion instructor. You will find that the biggest thing that turns people off is the amount of time and dedication to being a musician. It isn't just standing in front of the line and clicking sticks. Also offer to work with otehr students younger than you t osee if you like that aspect. That is the aspect that is the most challenging, and it is 100% of your job. Make note of how your band director and other leaders deal with kids who don't want to be there, or who are their for reasons otehr than wanting to do well at band - (unfortunately this is the majority sometimes). Those of us who love this activity soemtimes think that everyone involved have this same attitude and we have a hard time thinking that people would do band for other reasons.

- you als o have to at some point realize that you are not goingto be millionaire doing this activity, but you can make money. What is your definition of happiness? Is it what you do, or what you have? Do you want to be known for having a good line, or a fancy car/house etc....
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:33 pm



If you truly enjoy what you do, then it won't matter the amount you make. And never let anyone talk you out of your own beliefs.

As for your question, you need to be able to relay information in an effective way, and you need to have a large "music/percussion vocabulary" if you will.
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:48 pm



Darrien995 wrote:Ok, so I want to be a percussion instructor when I grow up. I'm only in 8th grade and I'm sure this is what I want to do. I have 0 other interests other than drumming. It' crazy. So I was just wondering, is it difficult becoming a percussion instructor?
It all depends on how baqd you want it man.
I went to college the last year for music ed...... after my first year i KNOW that i still wanna teach just not in the public school system. There is ALOT you have to do to get what you want.
I suggest taking lessons yesterday=ASAP. Then when your on that level teaching someone else to get your name out. Then go to school for it.
If your going to teach in texas you have to be superhuman..... no lie, the kids are freaks ( i taught 3 lines in texas for a couple years, greatest times of my life).
Most important HAVE FUN. You will be bogged down with all kinds of people telling you this and that but it all boils down to you. You will have to go through paper work, bad kids, pissed off band parents..........but it makes it ALL WORTH WHILE when its half time and your line is playing the BREAK YOU wrote and there having fun.
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:16 pm



honestly, the next 7 years of your life will be full of interest turns and twists... in the past 2 months i found out that i love to write music and instruct percussion, im not tying to discourage you but these next years will be crazy. But right now i encourge you to write music and lesson plans because it is good practice and if you give drum lessons you can earn some income for college!
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:57 pm



weird, I never knew percussion director was uncommon outside of texas. I kinda just thought everybody did close to the same thing. How much do Percussion directors typically get paid with a bachelor's degree? master's? Doctors?
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:36 pm



AjaxHammer wrote:weird, I never knew percussion director was uncommon outside of texas. I kinda just thought everybody did close to the same thing. How much do Percussion directors typically get paid with a bachelor's degree? master's? Doctors?
To put in in perspective, I teach in Oklahoma at a 6A school, which is the class for the biggest schools in the state. Every Fall, I write the front ensemble and battery book, and teach the battery pretty much full time: rehearsals every week in the summer, band camps, two hour rehearsals Monday through Friday in the morning, a two hour sectional once a week, and all of the football games and contests. This doesn't include all of the time I spend doing equipment maintenance, budgets for equipment, and staff/design team meetings. Many of my friends do the same thing. I'm fortunately paid in the upper echelons of everyone I know, and I only take in $2500 for the season. Some of my friends have it in their contracts that they also get X number of private students for the season, but even then, it's pretty much impossible to live on the income of just teaching percussion here.

There is one person I know who does do nothing but teach for a living, but he teaches one high school line, one college line, writes the book for four different schools, serves as an adjunct professor and has an army of private students. Really that's the only way to do it up here unless you want to get a Doctorate and work in a university setting.


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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:09 pm



It's possible to make a semi-decent living on marching percussion alone. You won't be making six-figures but if you teach a high school line and a college line you'll get your name out there if they're doing good and then you'll get offers to consult/arrange and teach private lessons. A music degree helps and since you're only in 8th grade you have over 3 years to master all the percussion instruments for a college of music audition.
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:07 pm



In my opinion, go for it. I'm not even done with high school, and i'm already teaching high school drumline. When you go to school for drumline instructing, make sure you go for EVERY aspect. Composition. That's where the money is made. I know of three drumline instructors that are living in big, nice houses by the lake up here, all because they compose music for University AND High School. They pay ALOTTA money to get special treatment. Right now we are paying $300 a day for a man to come and tell us we're doing things wrong. The only difference is that HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING. When colleges look for directors and instructors, they look for the best known. Composing music for drumline is just like composing music for famous singer bands. Just different settings. I could go on and on, but i really don't think it matters what i think, i'm going to school to become a drumline instructor and i will have money, and lots of it. :D
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:01 pm



DrummerGrrl wrote:In my opinion, go for it. I'm not even done with high school, and i'm already teaching high school drumline. When you go to school for drumline instructing, make sure you go for EVERY aspect. Composition. That's where the money is made. I know of three drumline instructors that are living in big, nice houses by the lake up here, all because they compose music for University AND High School. They pay ALOTTA money to get special treatment. Right now we are paying $300 a day for a man to come and tell us we're doing things wrong. The only difference is that HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING. When colleges look for directors and instructors, they look for the best known. Composing music for drumline is just like composing music for famous singer bands. Just different settings. I could go on and on, but i really don't think it matters what i think, i'm going to school to become a drumline instructor and i will have money, and lots of it. :D
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:35 pm



DrummerGrrl wrote:In my opinion, go for it. I'm not even done with high school, and i'm already teaching high school drumline. When you go to school for drumline instructing, make sure you go for EVERY aspect. Composition. That's where the money is made. I know of three drumline instructors that are living in big, nice houses by the lake up here, all because they compose music for University AND High School. They pay ALOTTA money to get special treatment. Right now we are paying $300 a day for a man to come and tell us we're doing things wrong. The only difference is that HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING. When colleges look for directors and instructors, they look for the best known. Composing music for drumline is just like composing music for famous singer bands. Just different settings. I could go on and on, but i really don't think it matters what i think, i'm going to school to become a drumline instructor and i will have money, and lots of it. :D
Ha, you are in for a rude awakening. This all depends on the area you are in. I am a composition major currently and tech 2 high lines and guess what, I still am not making enough money. Given, that may be because the area I'm in is incredibly far behind the national curve when it comes to marching percussion, but that's besides the point.

You gotta realize you have an extremely fortunate program to be offering your instructors that type of money. I get about that much for a month's worth of rehearsals and not even that much for an ENTIRE well-written winter program that I write. Should I charge more? Probably. But it's too much of a risk for me because the directors may just decide they "spend" their money better "elsewhere." And guess what, this area is still that far behind and kids have their experiences shorted and great potential killed.

I have to live in my grandma's basement in order to go to college, teach lines, and participate in WGI. No college teaches you how to instruct a drumline and you will not have lots of money. Get some experience before you start talking. You will NOT get $300 a rehearsal with your first line out of high school. Trust me.
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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:55 pm



I can't believe how negative (and false) this thread is. There are many opportunities to make a living or -- more realistically -- part of a living teaching percussion. There are not all that many cozy full time"Percussion Director" positions out there at schools, but there are plenty of schools that need part-time help teaching and writing for the marching band's percussion section. Plenty of band directors would love to pay someone to keep their percussionists busy during concert band. And there are at least a few students at every school who would be interested in private lessons if they were readily available.

MY STORY: Last year, I was teaching two marching drumlines on the side of working full time. I took a risk this year and jumped into making half my living teaching percussion. So far, I'm at a middle school one morning per week, a high school one morning per week, directing a winter drumline and marching percussion section, helping other schools' percussion sections whenever possible, and up to 3 private lesson students so far. That accounts for $9,000 of my annual income. I make that working 2 days per week, so if you were to try for 5 days per week, you could potentially make enough money to live on. The other 3 days I use my music education degree and state teaching license to teach K-8 music and band at a small private school (not a percussion-specific job). That pays about $17,000.

MY ADVICE if this is the type of career you want to pursue:

-Get into private lessons with a reputable instructor.
-Become skilled on all percussion instruments.
-Get experience playing in as many high level ensembles as possible: DCI, WGI, All State Band/Orchestra/Percussion Ensemble, university honor bands, even community bands.
-Go to college somewhere close to home. In the end, where you went to school isn't nearly as important as your connections. You probably have connections near home.
-Tech local high school percussion sections as much as possible while you are in college. Start out working for free if need be. Also try to pick up some private lessons while you are in school.
-As you get later into your college career, try to get a caption head teaching position for a small program. You might not make much money doing it. You might have to write the book for free. However, you might pick up some private students. You can also get another band director's reference for future jobs.
-As you finish up school, you should have connections with a couple high school programs. Try to make yourself percussion director of one or more schools and start a private lesson studio out of one or more schools, even if these are small schools that can't pay much.
-Consider starting a winter drumline at a high school. You can put together a show for about $5,000-6,000 (including paying yourself about $1,000-1,500). If the band booster can't/won't support it financially, charge the kids about $150 each in fees to join. They could fundraise those fees down to almost nothing easily by selling T-shirt ads and candy bars.
-Be prepared to do some part-time work in something other than percussion. I am lucky enough to make decent part-time income with my teaching license. With a percussion performance degree, you might have to settle for something in the retail or service industry. There's no shame in doing that part time to support your dream of teaching percussion.
-See if your parents are willing to let you live at home for a couple years after college while you build your percussion studio and reputation.
-Finally, and perhaps most importantly, marry someone who makes more money than you do.

This isn't the only way to do it. In fact, it's more of a "plan B." Ideally you will find a cozy full time percussion director position open somewhere and be set. But, let's face it, that's not realistic. The above scenario is realistic because I have basically done it. Other guys I have graduated with have followed similar formulas if they haven't found a full time position.

Finally, don't let people discourage you along the way from doing this. There is a market for percussion instruction. It's not a huge market and it doesn't pay enough to live all that comfortably. However, the opportunity exists. It is realistically within your reach if you are ready to work for it. If it is your dream, you should do it.


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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:37 am



I taught a line this year. I still have no clue what I'm getting paid. It will most likely be $100 or less.


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Re: Becoming a percussion instructor.

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:53 pm



dgaking wrote: This isn't the only way to do it. In fact, it's more of a "plan B." Ideally you will find a cozy full time percussion director position open somewhere and be set. But, let's face it, that's not realistic. The above scenario is realistic because I have basically done it. Other guys I have graduated with have followed similar formulas if they haven't found a full time position.
Honestly, finding a percussion specialist position is extremely realistic, in Texas anyway. Don't know about elsewhere. Most of the 4A/5A schools here have them, and a lot of 3A's are beginning to get them. Three of my friends who graduated last year have all picked up positions as the percussion specialist for school districts here in Texas this school year. If somebody is going to pay their way through school then they are probably going to want a position with decent job security with health/dental care and a comfortable enough income to pay off student loans on top of supporting themselves. That's what I'm going for, anyway.


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