My Percussion Journey: Time to Stop?

Dhir Patel, Editor in Chief

Throughout my time in high school music, I had always thought that I would be involved in music until I graduated. It was a surprise, however, when junior year was the first year I did not receive high school band in my schedule.

I can remember this moment exactly, where I was pacing back and forth and could not think, with my eyes wide open. Eventually, I realized that the only reason I was not able to be in the high school band was because of my two AP classes, which made my schedule very tight and not as flexible. All of my classes were full year classes except 4th period, where there was no high school band. Now, I ask myself: Should I continue playing music?

I have been in a band since 5th grade, where I had first started music with the flute. Although I stuck with this instrument throughout the year and did not give up on music, the flute was never an instrument that I really enjoyed playing. This is why, the next year, I decided to play percussion instead, which I continued playing for 5-6 years.

Percussion is defined as musical instruments played by striking, either with the hand or with a stick or beater. Some of these instruments include drums, the xylophone/marimba, cymbals, the gong, bells, etc. As a percussionist, I knew how to play all the instruments that fall under this musical section. Unlike other musical instrument groups, like brass and woodwind, percussionists should be able to play all the instruments in their musical group and they switch between different instruments depending on the song.

When I had high school band in my schedule, it was always the best part of my day. I loved being able to play music and have the skill and opportunity to play the winter and spring concerts. I always think about playing music in school again, but my love for percussion didn’t stop in the class.

I have many extracurriculars in school, including a Jazz Band, which I have been in since 7th grade. Today, Jazz Band is no longer a club at the school, but I will never forget it. Playing jazz music on the drums and xylophone gave me a happier feeling than the other extracurriculars I had. I was ecstatic to be playing a different style of music, where I could have my own solos and express myself through music in a very different way.

While I did play all the instruments in the percussion section of our school band, I mainly focused on the xylophone, which is also known as a mallet instrument. Playing the xylophone was more of my specialty than any other instrument, and I was better at playing it than the drums. 

In 9th grade, I got into the Southeastern Massachusetts School Bandmasters Association Festival after my audition. During the online festival, I was playing the xylophone. I consider myself more talented at playing it than other percussion instruments, which is why I have a special interest in getting better at playing it. 

I can clearly see how I have started to play music less and less. Not being able to play music in a band has made me somewhat unmotivated to play, but I will not make waste of everything I learned. At my house, I have a drum set, xylophone, and piano, which I play occasionally. In theater, I also sing, so having an understanding of instruments and music helps me in a number of ways. I stay more focused, I am more attentive, and am also more talented and skilled. While music may not be part of my life forever, I don’t think it is time to stop or keep going. It is only time to keep my skills and use them so my future will be beneficial and better.

The drums (Ewan Topping)