Percussion & Steel Band Academy Session

June 14 - 27, 2015


About the Birch Creek
Percussion & Steel Band Program

The Percussion & Steel Band program offers a comprehensive summer education experience for the young adult percussionist/drummer. Through firsthand experience in many performances, small-group instruction, and master classes, the Percussion & Steel Band Program provides an incredible study of all the instruments and styles expected of today's percussionist who is planning on working at the college level and beyond. Birch Creek provides an enviroment not found on larger, lecture-style campuses. Our small size and very busy concert schedule challenges each student, whatever his or her level, to learn and perform at a pace found on the professional music scene - with personal guidance from professional faculty members each step of the way. Students study in classes, master classes, optional private lessons, and perform in concert percussion and mallet ensembles, steel bands, world drumming ensembles from Brazil, Cuba, and Africa, and a handful of theater pieces, à la Blue Man Group and Stomp.

Areas of Study

drumset practice

Concert Percussion

Concert/rudimental snare drum technique and reading skills, timpani, and accessory instruments (tambourine, triangle, cymbals, etc.)

Mallet Percussion

Two/ four-mallet keyboard technique and reading skills, concert marimba, jazz vibraphone/improvisation, ragtime xylophone

Drum Set

Jazz, Rock, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Caribbean styles

Steel Band

Technique, history, and arranging

World Percussion

Afro-Cuban (congas, bata, etc.), Brazilian samba instruments, pandeiro), East Indian (tabla), African (Gahu dance and instruments)

Orchestral Percussion

Snare drum, timpani, and accessory instruments

Music Software

Recording, composing & notation software

Professional Studies

College audition/performance strategies, time management workshops, sightreading classes, and music business presentation

Detailed admissions information, including AUDITION RECORDING REQUIREMENTS (note: Percussion & Steel Band auditions are only required if applying for financial aid), can be found on the Admissions Procedure page.

Program Director: Ben Wahlund

(Percussion specialist for Naperville School District 203 and St. Charles North High School, educator at North Central College, owner of Black Dog Music Studio in Aurora, Illinois. Mr. Wahlund also performs in The Screaming Norwegians percussion duo)

Steel Band Director: Liam Teague

(Assistant Professor of Music, Northern Illinois University, and Co-Director of the Northern Illinois University Steel Band, DeKalb, IL)

steelpan concert