The Percussion Section Unpacked: World Percussion Instruments


All online MECA courses
conclude on May 3, 2020.

Visit our MECA FAQs page.

Drop, withdraw or change using
Add/Drop Form.

For other MECA-related questions,
contact us at

or 312.788.1139.


As globalization takes ahold of our culture, so too does our music diversify. As band directors, it is our duty to perform music from other cultures in the most competent, knowledgeable and appropriate way we can, though we are not always equipped with the tools necessary to bring these foreign styles of music to life. This class aims to provide you with that toolkit. In modern band arranging it is very common to find a piece based on a traditional style from around the world, but it often misses the mark when it comes to the percussion section. Arrangers commonly simplify rhythms, either rendering the original tradition unrecognizable or embellishing the piece with rhythms that don’t relate to the original tradition at all. This class addresses proper techniques for playing common percussion instruments from Cuba, Brazil, the Caribbean and more. We’ll also look at multicultural middle and high school band repertoire and explore rhythms and styles that will bring the music closer to its tradition while keeping your percussionists busy and excited! 
Course Takeaways
  • Strategies for modifying percussion parts to make them more interesting and stylistically appropriate.
  • Techniques for playing common non-western percussion instruments found such as congas, bongos, timbales, maracas, shakers, etc.
  • Rhythmic transcriptions of styles commonly used in multicultural band repertoire such as samba, mambo, salsa, cha-cha-cha, etc.

Instructor: Zachary Himelhoch

Based in Nashville, TN, Zachary Himelhoch (MMEd ’16) is a world percussionist with specialization in Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Caribbean styles. He has performed with numerous artists including Andy Narell, Chance the Rapper, Lenny Castro, Etienne Charles, The Cool Kids, Daru Jones, Mark Walker and Dave Garfield at events throughout the country including the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Lollapalooza, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival Benefit Concert, Windsor Jazz Festival, and the Syracuse Jazz Festival.
Prior to earning his master’s degree from VanderCook, Himelhoch earned his bachelor’s degree in instrumental performance from Columbia College Chicago. He has taught clinics and master classes in percussion at a number of venues including the Jim Lee Fine Arts Camp, Columbia College Chicago, Holly Middle School, and Mott Community College. In addition, he currently develops and teaches world percussion curriculum at the high school and middle school levels in Nashville Public Schools.
Himelhoch owns and operates ZJH Percussion, a company providing instructional programs, presentations and private tutoring in all aspects of world percussion. ZJH Percussion, in collaboration with Columbia College Chicago’s Community Arts Partnership and the Music Institute of Chicago, served Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Parks District for over four years by providing culture and music education to underserved learners throughout the Chicago area. ZJH Percussion recently expanded to serve the greater Nashville area.



VanderCook Online is powered by Schoology ( Through this learning management system, you'll be able to interact directly with your instructor, students in your classes, and members of the greater VanderCook Online community.

The summer online term officially begins on Monday, June 10. The week prior to June 10, you'll be added as a new Schoology user. Be on the lookout for an email from or with log-in instructions. Once you are given credentials, simply visit to login. On the morning of June 10, you'll have access to your classroom and course material.

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.

You’ll have the opportunity to work at your own pace each week while completing assignments and posting responses to discussion questions. You’ll constantly be interacting with your instructor and classmates online, and working through new material each week. We know how crazy summer schedules can get, so our instructors try to make everything as flexible as possible!

Click to Register for Summer MECA Courses

The Percussion Section Unpacked: World Percussion Instruments

Instructor: Zachary Himelhoch

3 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $1.020, due in full with registration    
Course Code: 7748
Chat Sessions:
No chat sessions required.
-A selected multicultural band piece and score (preferably in a Caribbean/Cuban/Brazilian/ African style) that would benefit from improved percussion parts.
-Access to Latin Percussion instruments, battery percussion instruments (bass drum, snare drum), (congas, bongos, timbales), other assorted percussion (guiro, bells, maracas)
SuggeSoftware/hardware requirements for Mac & Windows users:
-Internet access is required.
-Access to music notation software (Sibelius, finale, etc...)-preferred


VanderCook College of Music

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

Stay Connected


Continuing Education  




Powered by Website design and development by, Inc