General Posts

New Year’s Resolutions For The High School Percussionist

Welcome back to the Chops blog! We’re already a week into 2016, but I’d like to suggest some New Year’s resolutions for the high school percussionist.

As a young and developing percussionist, you’ve got lots of room for growth and improvement. However, it can be easy to follow bad advice or spend time on the wrong things. The following suggestions are applicable to all young percussionists:

Learn more percussion instruments

A well-rounded high school percussionist is equally comfortable on mallets, timpani, drums, and accessory instruments. If you are unfamiliar with any instrument used regularly in your band, address those weaknesses this year.

Don’t know where to start? You can easily find guidance by asking your band director or percussion instruction. Chances are they have some experience, or can help you find someone who does. If you’re serious about percussion, and learning new instruments, you’ll need to find a private teacher. Private lessons will help you grow as a musician faster than anything else

Improve your music reading skills

The ability to read music separates the truly excellent and mediocre musicians. A strong reader spends less time figuring out what to play, which allows them to focus on how to play. They look at a piece of music and quickly identify each symbol on the page, and instantly understand how to perform it. Weak readers must spend time deciphering the melodies, rhythms, symbols, and words on the page before they attempt to perform the music.

How do you get better at reading music? Do these simple things while practicing:

  1. Practice SLOWLY.
  2. Count out the rhythms.
  3. Use a metronome while practicing and counting.
  4. To improve rhythmic reading, practice basic rhythmic patterns, such as sixteenth note check patterns.
  5. To improve melodic reading, practice scales, both major and minor.

Listen to more music

Great percussionists and musicians listen to new music regularly. Thanks to the internet, discovering new music has never been easier. Simply google an artist and listen to their music through a streaming service, or on YouTube.

Practice more

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

We’re already a week and a half into 2016, but you should make a late New Year’s Resolution to learn more percussion instruments, improve your reading skills, listen to more music, and practice more. The best percussionists and musicians have already made these four acts into habit. Join them, and you’ll have a productive 2016!

Just got your first drumset? Time for some lessons!

Did you just get your first drumset this holiday season? What next? If not already taking them, private lessons are the next step in getting a good start. This will help ensure a return on your investment with a lifetime of music making enjoyment. We don’t currently offer lessons here at Chops, but here’s our list of suggestions in finding a lesson instructor that’s right for you or your child.

– Ask your band director and/or school percussion instructor. Most will have a list of instructors in the area that they know will get you started on the right path to success.

– Ask other students in your school. Sometimes great private lesson instructors fly under the radar and might not yet be well known to your band director.

Call us! We’d be happy to refer you to qualified private instructors we know and trust! These would be on the northeast side, so if that works for you, just give us a call and we’ll refer you to some of the best in the area.

– Online lessons. There are new online lesson opportunities popping up all the time. If you choose this route, be sure to do some background and read all the reviews you can find.

Even if you didn’t get that drum set you wanted yet, get into lessons now so you can be prepared to groove when you finally get the set of your dreams!

Gift Ideas – Part 3

Welcome back to the Chops blogs! Today we’re going to finish our series on holiday gifts by discussing some last minute ideas.

#1 – Sticks and mallets

As we’ve already discussed, drummers and percussionists can never have too many sticks or mallets. See our previous entry here. If you are purchasing a gift for a drummer, consider purchasing them several pairs of their favorite stick. If you are purchasing a gift for a percussionist, consider replacing mallets they use regularly, or expanding their collection with a type of mallet they need.

Again, be sure to know which brand and model your drummer or percussionist prefers before making a purchase.

#2 – Metronome

A metronome is a crucial tool for the rhythmic and time development of all drummers and percussionists. We carry many metronomes, ranging from the $31 Seiko DM50 to the $159 Boss Dr. Beat. We prefer the features and price of $69 Boss DB-60.

#3 – Accessories

All drummers and percussionists also need accessories!

For the drummer, consider drum keys, dampening products (MoonGel, etc.), replacement tension rods or cymbal felts, or cleaning products. For the percussionist, consider drum keys, replacement parts, or small instruments such as triangles or tambourines. For the marching drummer, consider stick tape, or stick bags.

If you’ve waited until the last minute to purchase gifts for a drummer or percussionist, don’t worry, they’re easy to purchase gifts for. Please contact us for advice or help finding a product.

Chops Percussion will be open the following hours this week:
Monday – Wednesday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Thursday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Friday-Sunday: Closed

My First Drumset


We shared this blog post at about this time last year.  Christmas is a popular time for kids to get their first kit, so it seemed appropriate to share this again. is a great resource for those just getting started in the world of drumming.

Are you taking up drumming for the first time? Are you buying a drum set for the drummer in your life this holiday season? If so, you may want to start at This website was created by the people at Pearl Drums with the idea of educating not only the drummer, but the parent or loved one who is buying the set. Here are the highlights:

  • A “Welcome to Drumming” video with appearances by some of the top names in the drumming world.
  • A step-by-step video that shows you how to correctly unpack and set up your drum set.
  • Video tips on tuning, warming up, and playing your first beats on your new drum set.
  • A drum set buying guide.
  • A very informative FAQ section.
  • Statistics that show what a great thing drumming can be for the mind, body, and spirit!

If you or someone you love has decided that this is the year to take up drumming, there really is no better place to start than! And when you’re ready to make the purchase, Chops Percussion has many great instrument options for you to choose from, including the Roadshow kit. We also have a rent-to-own program that features the Pearl Export: The best selling drum set of all-time! Be sure to check out all of our rental offerings at Welcome to the world of drumming!

IPA Clinic Day 2015 Is This Saturday!


The 2015 IPA Clinic Day will be held this Saturday, December 12th, 2015 alongside the Individual & Ensemble event at Franklin Community HS (map). And once again, IPA is very excited to bring you a multitude of outstanding clinic day activities for this annual event. This year’s event will also feature clinicians for instructors, the IPA Individual and Ensemble contest, and the IPA Winter Meeting. All students interested in attending this event will need to register and pay a $15 participation fee in advance (instructors will be admitted free), or walk-ins are welcome for $20 at the door.

Registration begins at 8:30am and the clinics kick-off at 9:00am.

View the full schedule.

2015 Clinicians Include:

  • Pablo Rieppi – New York City Ballet Orchestra/NY Philharmonic
  • BYOS – Entertainment and Performing Arts duo
  • Glenn Kotche – Drumset player for Wilco
  • Colin Hill and Brian Blume – BluHill Percussion Duo
  • Bonnie Whiting – Percussion director of DePauw
  • Plus… the DePauw University Percussion Ensemble and
    the Pendleton Heights High School Percussion Ensemble

Director Clinics:

  • Josh Torres – How to Build a Percussion Program
  • Christian Good – Electronics Clinic

Go here to register. Online registration ends December 8, 2015!

Clinic Day Flyer (click for full resolution version)