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Fall 2020 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Ensemble Drumming: Drum Set Techniques & Methods


September 21-December 13, 2020

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits


$1,065, due in full with registration


It is said that the drum set is the heart and soul of any ensemble, and that a drum set player can make or break a band. This course will break down the nuts and bolts of what makes a good ensemble drummer. Whether you’re a trained percussionist looking to expand your drum set playing, a school ensemble director, or a composer or arranger, a thorough understanding of ensemble drum set playing can greatly enhance your creative or educational efficacy.

This course looks to fill the holes found in other areas of percussion/drumset education. Percussion methods classes rarely address drumset playing. Most drum set methods provide myriad examples of beats, grooves and soloing while never really addressing the fundamental role of the drum set player. Think of this course as a drum set methods class. We will discuss and learn the building blocks of the drum grooves needed for the various styles one will encounter most often. We will look at the various forms of written drum set music, from fully written sheet music to basic pop lead sheets. We will also study the masters of ensemble drum set playing since the kit was introduced to modern music.

If you have always had an appreciation of drum set technique but wish to develop that into a deeper technical and musical comprehension, this course is for you.


Knowledge and ability to perform the basic grooves found in jazz, rock, pop, Latin & soul music
Improved understanding of the stylistic differences in ensemble drumming
Ability to write for the drum set and notate drum parts, lead sheets and rhythm section charts
Technical ability to perform basic drum fills in each style
Ability to impart ensemble drumset knowledge to band members and students
Awareness of the “sounds” of the drum set in ensembles of different eras and genres


Chat Session

Sept. 29, Oct. 20, Nov. 24, 7:00 p.m. CST (all dates)



Required Text(s)

The Ultimate Drumset Reading
Anthology: For the Working Drummer

by Steve Houghton (Alfred Music)

Software/Hardware Requirements

Schoology is a learning management system that allows you to interact directly with your instructors, fellow students, and members of the greater VanderCook community.

Soon after you register, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. 

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

More information about Schoology can be found at

Online course grades are available within two weeks of the course(s) completion.  If you need a transcript, please CLICK HERE to access the online transcript request form. For a faster turnaround time, please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).


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