Lesson Studio

joshvibePASICJosh Gottry earned a degree in Percussion Performance from Northern Arizona University and has over 25 years of private percussion instruction experience. He has presented clinics at Arizona and New Mexico state days of percussion, the Arizona Music Educator Association Conference, and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. Former students have gone on to study music at schools including Arizona State University, Berklee College of Music, Grand Canyon University, New York University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona. Some of these individuals are now working professionally as performers, music educators, composers, and music therapists. Josh Gottry is proudly affiliated with Meinl Percussion, Mike Balter Mallets, Remo Drumheads, Vic Firth Sticks, and Yamaha Percussion as an educator/endorser and was selected as a teaching artist for the Arizona Commission on the Arts in 2011.

Studio Policies

In an effort to provide a framework for each student's success in percussion lessons, as follows are the general studio policies.

Areas of Study: This studio is operated under the philosophy of Total Percussion. Students are expected to pursue performance skills and musical understanding in the areas of snare drum, drumset or multiple percussion, and mallet percussion. As appropriate, students will also study elements of timpani, hand held percussion, marching percussion, and ethnic percussion. During any given semester, students should expect to spend lesson and practice time in at least two of these areas of percussion. As long as the student meets a reasonable level of proficiency in all areas, additional emphasis may be spent on the area of greatest interest to that student.

Practice: Consistent, significant practice is necessary for successful progress on any musical instrument. Weekly assignments will be given based on the expectation that each student will practice six (6) days for a daily length of time equal to the student’s lesson length (i.e. half-hour lesson equals 30 minutes of daily practice). If needed, some students may be instructed to document practice time and items practiced.

Materials: Students must bring all materials to all lessons, including mallets, snare sticks (specific to drumset, marching, or concert snare as appropriate), notebook, methods and/or solo music. Failure to come prepared with all necessary materials more than once per month may result in cancellation of that lesson without reimbursement. Unlike most other instrumentalists, percussion students are not typically expected to own many of the instruments they play. Rather, many instruments are available for use at school and students are responsible for sticks, mallets, and possibly other small implements. Specific recommendations will be given dependent on student development and areas of study.

Communication: Students and parents are encouraged to contact me with any questions or concerns by e-mail (anytime) or by phone (8 a.m. - 9 p.m.). Communication to students and parents, such as schedule changes, upcoming performances and recitals, percussion opportunities of interest, etc., will be distributed at lessons and/or via e-mail. Please update me immediately with any changes to your contact information (e-mail and phone).

Scheduling: It is my intention to maintain a fairly consistent schedule of teaching times from year to year. Students will be given the opportunity to schedule lesson times for each school year in late spring/early summer, with priority given to continuing students who have shown consistent preparation and progress in their study. Students will also be given priority for their same lesson time from year to year. Consideration will be made for each student’s availability as possible, and flexibility is certainly appreciated due to the logistics of scheduling a full studio. Minor adjustments to the studio schedule may be possible from fall to spring semesters, but is dependent on the willingness of two or more students to switch lesson times. Summer lesson times will be designed independent of the school year schedule and slightly more flexible. Summer attendance expectations will be provided when each year’s summer schedule is released. A studio waiting list will be kept at all times for students unable to schedule a lesson time.

Attendance: Consistent lesson attendance is crucial to making consistent progress. Since a full percussion studio rarely allows for make-up lessons, it is imperative that students make lessons a priority in their schedule. If a student must cancel due to an unresolvable conflict, notification of the cancellation must be provided no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday of the previous week. Cancellation due to illness must be provided by 10:00 a.m. on the morning of the lesson. Lack of preparation or busy schedules are not suitable excuses for lesson cancellation. Students will be allowed no more than one excused lesson per month during the school year. Lessons may be offered during some holidays (i.e. President’s Day, Labor Day, Christmas Break, etc.) with no penalty for cancellations.

Payment: Lessons are to be paid on a monthly basis at the first lesson of each month (check or cash). Excused or teacher cancelled lessons will be credited to the following month. If a student discontinues lessons for any reason, advance lesson payments will not be reimbursed. If you have any questions on current balance, feel free to ask any time.

Performances: All students are expected to take advantage of as many performance and audition opportunities as possible to further their musical growth. The following are some events that may be available:

  • Studio Recitals (typically 2 per year in October and April) - these are open to any students showing appropriate progress in lessons and prepared with a recital appropriate piece. All students not performing are expected to attend so they can support the performers and learn from other members of the studio.
  • AZPAS Fall Drumline Festival Late September (registration in early September) all students
  • PSG Young Musicians Competition Early January (registration in late October) advanced junior high and high school
  • AMEA Regional Honor Band Auditions Late January (registration in mid-Nov.) high school
  • AMEA Solo & Ensemble Festival Late January (registration in mid-Nov.) high school
  • AZPAS Spring Days of Percussion Late March (registration in early February) all students

Ensemble Membership: All students with percussion opportunities (i.e. band, percussion class, etc.) at their school are expected to fully participate. Home school students or those without a band or percussion class at their school are highly encouraged to pursue other ensemble opportunities. Some recommended ensembles include:

  • Youth Symphonies (Phoenix Symphony Guild; East Valley Youth Symphony; Youth Symphony of the Southwest; Metropolitan Youth Symphony) - intermediate to advanced students; band & orchestra ensembles with weekly evening rehearsals
  • Community Jazz Ensembles (Valley Jazz; Young Sounds) - intermediate to advanced students; jazz combos and ensembles with weekly evening rehearsals
  • Local Public/Charter School Program - home school students may register for band class at their district schools
  • Community College ensembles - percussion ensembles and community bands including high school age students
  • Church praise band or worship team opportunities - talk with your pastor, youth pastor, or music minister

The Percussive Arts Society: All students are strongly encouraged to consider membership in the Percussive Arts Society. PAS is a worldwide organization whose purpose is educational, promoting through its activities a wide range of musical knowledge, encompassing the young percussion student, the teacher, and the performer. Its mission is to facilitate communication among all areas of the percussive arts. PAS accomplishes its goals through its two publications, Percussive Notes and Rhythm!Scene, its worldwide network of chapters, and the annual International Convention. More information is available at www.pas.org.

Finale Notepad: A free version of the industry standard composition and notation program, Finale, is available for download at www.finalemusic.com. Students may be asked to complete composition assignments related to current lesson topics and they are encouraged to make use of current technologies to assist in those assignments.

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