Robert Everson, Percussion


Program Description

Percussion Power is a demonstration of all of the percussion instruments commonly used in the symphony orchestra. Over 30 instruments are shown and demonstrated by Robert Everson, the timpanist with several Chicago orchestras. Because percussion instruments are always in the back of the orchestra, they are often unseen. With Percussion Power the instruments are now up front where they can be seen, heard and demystified.


  •        Percussion  
  •        Snare Drum
  •        Bass Drum
  •        Cymbals
  •        Tom tom
  •        Sticks
  •        Brushes
  •        Mallets
  •        Melodic Percussion
  •        Rhythmic Percussion
  •        Sound Effects
  •        Xylophone
  •        Marimba  
  •        Resonators
  •        Vibraphone
  •        Orchestra Bells
  •        Glockenspiel
  •        Timpani
  •        Gong
  •        Tam Tam
  •        Roto toms
Musical excerpts:
  •       Gaouthreaux: American Suite-Latin (Snare Drum)
  •       Bizet: Prelude from Carmen (Xylophone)
  •       Kritsler: Tambourin Chinois (Marimba)
  •       Mozart: The Magic Flute  (Orchestra Bells)
  •        Schinstine: Tritoms  (Timpani/rototoms)


Q:        What are the four families of instruments in a symphony orchestra?
A:        Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion.

Q:        What does percussion mean?
A:        Percussion means to strike. 

Q:        Name four ways to strike a percussion instrument?
A:        With a stick, brush, mallet or the hands

Q:        Name two categories of percussion instruments.
A:        Rhythmic and melodic.

Q:        Give examples of rhythmic percussion instruments.
A:        Drums, cymbals.

Q:        What are some examples of melodic percussion instruments?
A:        Xylophone, marimba, bells, vibraphone, timpani.

Q:        What is the difference between rhythmic percussion and melodic percussion?
A:        Melodic percussion can play melodies, rhythmic percussion can play only rhythms.

Q:        What are the pipes that hang from the mallet instruments, and what do they do?
A:        They are called Resonators, and they help amplify the sound of the bars.

Q:        Can one use more than two mallets at a time to play a mallet instrument?
A:        Yes, one can use four mallets, two in each hand.

Q:        What makes the bars on an instrument higher or lower in pitch?
A:        The size of the bar determines the pitch. The smaller the bar, the higher the pitch.

Q:        What are sound effects?
A:        To play one’s instrument or to play a specialized instrument, in order to imitate other common sounds, for example a bird call.     

Q:       True or false: Percussion instruments are always loud.
A:        False, the player determines and controls the loudness of the instruments.

Q:        What is the difference between a tam tam and a gong?
A:        A tam tam is a type of gong having no discernable pitch. Gongs are tuned to a specific pitch

Q:        Are timpani merely rhythmic or are they melodic too?
A:        They are tunable to different pitches and are able to play a melody, so they are melodic.

Q:        Are all percussion instruments old in origin?
A:        No, roto-toms are an example of a recently invented percussion instrument.

Encourage your students to write to us!

  •       If I were a percussionist, I’d like to ……
  •       Thinking of today’s performance, the percussion instrument of my choice is….   because….
  •       This particular concert made me think of…..
  •       If I were the performer, how would I grasp the audience’s attention…..
  •       I enjoyed the concert today because I learned that…..
  •       I’d like to be a musician one day because…..

Please send artwork / essays / evaluations to:

International Music Foundation
Attn:  Maria Valdes-Vargas
30 E. Adams Street, Suite 1206
Chicago, IL   60603 

11 E. Adams St., Suite 350-B
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312/670-6888
Fax: 312/670-9166