6306 Drum Set Techniques for the School Music Program


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Recital Highlights

This course is designed for music educators who teach and coach drum set performers within the context of a school music setting. While activities and objectives are geared toward non-percussionists, those with prior experience playing drum set will also benefit from this hands-on course. Throughout the week you'll develop a broad vocabulary of styles, ways to communicate musical ideas to drum set players, and a working knowledge of expert drummers to reference within your daily teaching practice. Everyone will spend a significant amount of individual and group time playing throughout the week, so you are sure to learn basic grooves and fills that you can model for students immediately this fall. You’ll also learn tips and tricks for taking care of electronic and acoustic drum sets so that you can keep your drummers happily drumming throughout the year, and limit strains on your repair budget.

Electronic and acoustic drum sets will be provided for this class. Students should bring a pair of drumsticks, studio headphones, and throne if possible. Questions about equipment can be directed to the instructor at

Instructors: Rick Palese & Steve Houghton

Palese,_Rick_Headshot_Sp16Rick Palese is a PhD in Music and Human Learning candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, serving as an Academic Assistant in the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music. He is also involved with the University of Texas String Project, one the most significant teacher training and string instrument instruction programs of it’s kind in American colleges and universities. Prior to his arrival in Texas, Rick earned both his B.M.Ed  and M.M.Ed degrees in Music Education at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois, where he was honored with the Esprit de Corps award on three separate occasions, and graduated as Senior Salutatorian.

Rick began his teaching career at Prairie Hill School in Cary, Illinois, directing 5th and 6th grade bands, and sponsoring  jazz and podcasting clubs from 2003-2010. He worked with the Cary Education Foundation to secure a grant, commissioning the work Colliding Visions by Brian Balmages.

In 2010, Rick returned to VanderCook as administrative faculty. He served as the Director of the Music Education Center of America (MECA) Continuing Education program. Rick was also as the Director of Student Teaching, and co-taught technology in music education courses.

Mr. Palese has presented at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and Illinois Music Education Association conferences, and taught at the Wisconsin Center for Music Education, and presented a number of continuing education courses in the MECA program. Rick’s professional memberships include Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, The National Association for Music Education, the Percussive Arts Society, and the Vic Firth Education Team. As an active performer and educator, Rick is passionate about teacher education, learning strategies, curriculum design, applications of music technology, and models of popular music education in the schools.


Head_ShotSteve Houghton

Internationally renowned jazz drummer, percussionist, clinician, author, and educator, Steve Houghton initially received acclaim at age twenty as the drummer with Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herd. Since then he has shared stage and studio with luminaries Freddie Hubbard, Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, Dave Stryker, Clay Jenkins, Shelly Berg, Jared Gold, Lyle Mays, Bob Sheppard,Billy Childs, Bobby Hutcherson, Pat LaBarbara, Bobby Shew, Geoff Keezer, Wayne Bergeron, Bill Cunliffe, Arturo Sandoval, Steve Allee, Joe Henderson, Ray Brown, Karrin Allyson, Dianne Reeves, among others.

As a bandleader Houghton’s discography includes: The AHA! Quintet – Freespace, The Manne We Love: Gershwin Revisited, a recent release of John Williams’ charts for big band and quintet,  Live @ The SenatorSteve Houghton Quintet, Windsong, Remembrances, and Steve Houghton Signature. In total Houghton attributes more than one hundred recordings to his credit as a participating artist. As a classical percussionist, Houghton has performed with the Boston, and Philadelphia Pops orchestras, U.S. Army Band, as well as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. He frequently appears as a soloist with numerous orchestras and wind ensembles throughout the world.

As an author, Houghton’s publications boast more than thirty educational books, videos and DVDs including: Drumset 101, Kid's Drumset Course- books 1 & 2, Essential Styles- books 1 & 2, The Ultimate Drumset Chart Reading Anthology (Alfred), Play and Teach Percussion (GIA), and The Drumset Soloist (WB), and his latest project, Rhythm Section Workshop for Jazz Directors (Alfred) which is a DVD-book series that addresses the entire rhythm section. He has recently created two new educational series for the Vic Firth website, entitled:  Rhythm Section 101, and The Jazz Trio – An Inside View, in addition to many online lessons on jazz drumset.

Houghton is Professor of Percussion and Jazz at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.  In addition to his academic duties, he presents yearly clinics and master classes to students around the world, most recently in Germany, England, China, New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan.  Houghton is a Past- President of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) a founding member of the Jazz Education Network (JEN) and endorses, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Yamaha drums and percussion and Remo world percussion products and drumheads.  




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Course Information

6306 Drum Set Techniques for the School Music Program

July 25-29

3 graduate credits
Classroom: TBD

Click HERE for a campus map.

Tuition: $960
A $75 deposit is required at time of registration. Tuition balance is due in full by the first day of class.


July 25-29
Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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