The Power of the Percussion Ensemble

The experience of a percussionist differs greatly in a large ensemble setting compared to that of a wind player, string player or vocalist. It is for this reason that opportunities need to be given to young percussionists to learn pitch, rhythm and ear training in a more inclusive manner. This course is that opportunity.
Dr. Jim Yakas, Director of Percussion Studies at VanderCook, along with percussion educator and ensemble composer Clif Walker, lead this course on starting, expanding and refining your percussion ensemble program. This hands-on course involves repertoire selection, instrument selection/organization, rehearsal techniques and performance challenges. The course will culminate with a final project involving each student creating a detailed plan for their own ensemble including repertoire selection, rehearsal/equipment planning and performance scheduling.

Instructor: Dr. James Yakas

Yakas,_Jim_headshot_2015_CROPDirector of Percussion Studies Dr. James Yakas joined VanderCook in 2015, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in percussion performance from the University of North Texas, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree in music education. After earning his master’s degree in percussion performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University, he spent 12 summers in the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, eventually becoming their percussion coordinator and arranger in 2003. Dr. Yakas has performed at festivals in Trinidad/Tobago and Seoul, South Korea. He studied Afro-Cuban drumming with Orlando Cotto, and accompanied ethnomusicologist Dr. Steven Friedson for tribal drumming studies in Ghana. Yakas endorses Yamaha Percussion, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Remo Drumheads and World Percussion Instruments, and Sabian Cymbals. Currently he is vice president of the Illinois PAS chapter.

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288