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The Snare Drum

a project by Jonathan Curtis

In Collaboration with Arts Council England


I conducted this project throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, from the end of 2020 to January of 2022. Funded by Arts Council England, this project allowed me to explore the pedagogical aspects of the snare drum, both compositional and in terms of its performance as a practitioner. I studied with some of the world's most renowned snare drum practitioners, conducted research into concepts and techniques, composed a swathe of original repertoire, and produced a collection of accompanying educational literature and media.

To begin, I conducted research into the instrument, trying to become familiar with its own characteristics, idioms, philosophies, and core repertoire. I worked extensively with Bob Becker, both in conversation with him, and with his seminal Rudimental Arithmetic. This introduced me to rhythmic concepts that I would go on to explore further in my own work.

Throughout this period, I also studied with Joe Tompkins and Rick Dior. Tompkin's French-American Rudimental Solos were eye-opening, and his insights into compositional methodology and concepts directly influenced my own work. Rick Dior is one of the most technically impressive percussionists I have ever seen, and his grasp of stick technique, grip, and his ability to teach was instrumental in helping me to develop my own technical proficiency.

By January 2022, I had written ten solo pieces and four duets for snare drum and marimba. These were recorded and released along side their publication as collections of repertoire. Snare Drum Compositions Volume I presents the five most comprehensive solo pieces, whilst The Music Box Suite presents the duets in full. Both collections include extensive performance and compositional notes.

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