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The Life of a Professional Percussionist

The day to day life of a working percussionist is one of constant variety. For players in full time jobs such as opera, ballet and contract orchestras, there is a constant turnover in repertoire with regular changes of performance venue. For the freelancer, quite literally each time you get into the car you could be heading in a different direction from the one previously taken and with a totally different set of equipment. The only repetitious situation of note amongst performing musicians is that of doing a long running theatrical production.

It may interest you to know that my book “The Percussionist’s Essential Survival Guide” (PESG) is a product of exactly that kind of situation. I started the notes for this then un-thought of book whilst working in the hit musical “Cats”, by Andrew Lloyd-Webber. The show ran for 21 years and during that time I decided to try and keep myself interested in things by writing down percussionists' folklore, including everything I knew about percussion instruments and playing them. By the time we finished the run I found, to my astonishment, that I had ammassed more than two hundred notebooks of ideas, nuggets of knowledge, bits of history, designs for instruments and hardware, plus a vast amount of other ephemera. The problem which then presented itself was what to do with it all!

After long discussions with friends I concluded that a book was the most sensible answer, but it was immediately obvious that such a book, incorporating all this source material, would be enormous and far too expensive for the people who had the most to gain from it.

There the matter rested until I discovered e-books! So, this carefully recorded information will now be available, chapter by chapter through our online shop, making it possible, for all those interested, to obtain as much or as little as they feel inclined in a time-scale to suit. The PESG is gradually coming together, with more chapters added to the shop on a regular basis. 

I have enough information to fill over a hundred chapters, some of which I hope you will find interesting




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