First Things First: Have a Plan

What is the plan for your percussion rehearsal?
What’s the plan for your rehearsal today?

Happy Perc-day Everyone!

This post goes out to all the percussion instructors and staff out there. This weekend I was thinking about a competitive High School program that I was the percussion caption head for, and all of the planning that went into each rehearsal. I was reminded of how important it was to really truly understand what it was that we wanted to try and accomplish each rehearsal. This program was very special to me mostly because of what a great group of young people they were and the tremendous accomplishments they achieved by the end of the season.

Admittedly, some of the planning that happened actually occurred on the drive to the rehearsal. But a mere listing of bullet points of all the accomplishments that I wanted to ensure that we hit for each rehearsal was largely successful. Make no mistake, the success of that percussion program was largely due to the laser-sharp planning that went into each rehearsal and warm-up throughout the season.

What is it that you want your section to accomplish today? What are the big problems that you’re working on for this rehearsal? What are the long-term issues that you are striving to eradicate? Which performers in your section need help with certain skills or technique challenges? Are there music or visual changes the need to be made? What are the larger organizational goals for this rehearsal or for this week? These are some of the questions that can help to create an agenda for each rehearsal.

When you have answers to these questions it sometimes helps make a big difference in the success and accomplishments of the percussion section.


Take some time before each rehearsal to really think about answers to these questions and at the very least create a bullet list of items that you want to attack, preferably in chronological order. Include exercises specific warm-up and technique building items as well as the music and the sections of the music that you particularly want to ensure get quality rehearsal time. Also be sure to include full ensemble time and definitely plan for breaks as well as time to transition from one location to another within the rehearsal facility.

Lastly,  what is a plan without communications? Be sure to review your intentions with your directors and entire staff. As well, take some [planned] time to review with the membership.