What do percussionist do when they grow up?

No, it’s not a set up for a joke. As a drum teacher in Raleigh, NC, I get that question quite often. I recently heard an interview on NPR with Emil Richards, a Hollywood studio percussionist. Mr. Richards has been on the scene for many decades, and has played on sound tracks for a number of hit movies, and even provided the finger snaps for “The Addams Family” theme song! Opportunities to do what Emil Richards does are in somewhat shorter supply today, thanks to digital sampling and music software that can do most anything, it seems.

Still, I have a number of students who become “multiple percussionists” in church groups, school ensembles and other community groups. Those performances are live, and in the case of churches require a player that can cover a number of instruments, often two or more at one time, since most churches don’t have that many resident percussionists. It’s not Hollywood, but I suspect that the people appreciate the percussive sounds every bit as much as Emil Richards’ listeners. Enjoy every chance that you get to play!

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