Percussion Articles

These articles contain several in-depth posts ranging from basic ideas, like setup and technique, all the way to advanced formulas incorporating the speed of sound, and its equivalent delay, into field music. If you like an abundance of information then check here often for fairly regular updates about the world of percussion.

Patrick’s articles are added to this page between marching seasons. Several articles have been planned and there is always new and better information to be found in the fast moving activities like field band, drum corps, indoor percussion, as well as in the drumset world too. Please check back regularly for updates and insights from the perspective of a percussionist from New York!

New articles are always in the works! If you have suggestions for a piece, or would like to get paid to write one for this site, please contact me for more information.

Click the headlines below to open each article and learn more.

Or you can view a continuous blog here! Streamline through each article without stopping!

Drumline GoPro & Best Mounts

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Drumline, Hardware | Comments Off on Drumline GoPro & Best Mounts

If you’re like a lot of other drummers in a drumline you want to grab as much footage as you can. And rightfully so, as soon as you graduate or age-out you’ll start to miss it and want to look back, you NEED some sort of video at least. If friends or family record from the front you’ll get a great (hopefully) audience perspective on what you did, but if you truly want to re-live the moments you’ll be looking for a first person shot. A lot of activities are really grabbing hold of the GoPro setup because it’s easy...

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Implements of Choice

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 in Drumline, Hardware, Pit, Shop | Comments Off on Implements of Choice

If you’re auditioning or have been given a position in one of Mr. Blakley’s percussion sections then this is a list of items you’ll need to have. If you’re not in one of his groups then this is just a list of choice items that are highly recommended through years of experience with them. Since 2003 the sticks and mallets chosen to be used have been the same, as well as the manner in which they are used by the performers. In the next section you’ll see an itemized list by instrumentation that the groups all use....

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Shellshock Mounts Available For Sale!

Posted by on Mar 27, 2016 in Hardware, Shop, Snares, Tenors | Comments Off on Shellshock Mounts Available For Sale!

Shellshock Mounts are a concept inspired by years of performing with, teaching, and watching numerous drumlines and percussion ensembles. The idea is that you want to have the option of playing on the drum’s shell surface without damaging the drum or the drum’s finish.  The Shellshock Mounts allow just that! You gain a playing surface that is out of the way and takes all the abuse so that the drum stays pristine. Best of all they are easy to mount and remove by attaching to only two of the drum’s tension rods. These mounts...

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Megaphone App

Posted by on Mar 18, 2016 in Instruction, Rehearsal | Comments Off on Megaphone App

Alright, before you make fun of this article for being about an app with a blurry logo image and a ton of one-star reviews, hear me out. This app is actually pretty cool, and with a bit of know-how can be very useful (especially if you’ve read the last few articles about using your smartphone as a metronome and then hooking it up wirelessly to the Long Ranger. This article is going to piggyback on both of them and show you how to speak into your phone and broadcast it through the Long Ranger via Bluetooth. There are some issues with the...

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Top 3 Metronome Apps!

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Practice, Software | Comments Off on Top 3 Metronome Apps!

There’s TONS of metronome apps on the market right now, but rather than sift through all of them I’ll give you the skinny on the best ones. Not one app is going to be perfect for everyone so the list includes the best overall metronome apps spanning all platforms. This is a bit of a review article, but mostly it will just be concerning specs, options, and performance. Only the best three apps will be analyzed because when you get into the thick of the metronome app market they become pretty general and equivalent. You should...

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Wireless Long Ranger Metronome

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Instruction, Rehearsal | Comments Off on Wireless Long Ranger Metronome

Do yourself a favor by welcoming technology into the logistics of your marching ensemble! Think of how many things you carry around from warmup area, to rehearsal spot, to show warmup site, and beyond. Wouldn’t it be easier to just leave the metronome and fifty feet of instrument cable behind? Let me answer that for you: Yes! With Bluetooth technology it is entirely possible and incredibly easy! Take a look at The Bluetooth Audio Receiver by Proxelle on This handy little tool turns any audio output device into a receiver...

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“Waldos” Drum Rudiment

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Practice | Comments Off on “Waldos” Drum Rudiment

I know there are a million different snare drum rudiments out there, with 40 fundamental ones and who knows how many hybrids. But this is a fun and creative rudiment that hides grace-notes within an open roll in a clever way. Most hybrid rudiments are a combination of several basic rudiments, but Waldos are a combination of only a few – which makes it easier to learn, though definitely hard to master. The last diddle of the left hand in the measure is actually a triple stroke, in the same vein as an egg-beater. This take a lot of...

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Free Makemusic Finale Drumline Template

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in Arranging, Composition | Comments Off on Free Makemusic Finale Drumline Template

Makemusic’s Finale software is incredibly in-depth and powerful, but sometimes you just want to get in and go create right away! Some of the settings and options can be tricky as well, so to alleviate that I created a ready-to-use template that is already set up as soon as you double-click it! So without further adieu – here are the Drumline Template files you’ll need: Download the Finale 2014 Template File Here! Download the Finale 2012 Template File Here! Save those bad boys to your computer and simply open them with...

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Downbeat Percussion now selling Books!

Posted by on Mar 12, 2016 in Book | Comments Off on Downbeat Percussion now selling Books!

Downbeat Percussion, a local Central New York percussion group, has now been selling books at their show booths. More specifically, the two books they now carry are Quadratics: The Multi-tom Focus and also The Field Percussion User Manual by Patrick R. F. Blakley. Downbeat Percussion sets up a bright green booth at many New York State Field Band Conference competitions as well as New York State Percussion Circuit competitions including the Syracuse University Dome show and SRC Arena show respectively. Check out their next booth to find...

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