John S. Beckford, D.M.A.
Professor of Percussion and Music History
Furman University





The Program

Percussionists at Furman are both music majors; seeking one of five music degrees, and non-music majors, pursing a degree in one of the other liberal arts. Opportunities for performance are extended to all percussionists in the following ensembles: Orchestra, Concert, Symphonic and Marching Bands, Percussion Ensembles, and Jazz Ensembles. Further performance experiences are gained through off-campus requests from churches, orchestras, theaters, shows, etc. for Furman percussionists to assist in their performances.

Percussionists majoring in music are required to take private percussion lessons for at least two years. Performance majors study privately for four years. The non-music major has a number of private lesson plans from which to choose. These range from the half-hour lesson per week for no academic credit, to a one-hour lesson per week for two hours of academic credit per semester. Some of these percussionists show their talents through solo recitals and concertos with the Furman Orchestra or Band.


The percussionist at Furman has a complete line of percussion instruments to complement the "total percussion" approach in lessons and ensemble performance. Practice facilities reserved exclusively for percussionist provide an appropriate environment for concentrated study.

Frequently, special events highlight the percussion experience at Furman. On-campus percussion clinics have ranged from the avant garde expertise of the Percussion Group/Cincinnati to the drum corps knowledge of Fred Sanford. Other guest clinicians have included Richard Wiener (Cleveland Symphony), Roland Kohloff (N.Y. Philharmonic), Ed Soph (drum set), Bill Molenhoff (vibes), William Moersch (marimba), Nexus (percussion ensemble), Rod Morgenstein (drum set), Robert Van Sice (marimba), and Neil Grover (Boston Pops).

Perhaps the best word to describe percussion at Furman is opportunity. Percussionist at Furman will find that the department is small enough to give all interested players an opportunity for performance in as many different areas as possible. From a strictly undergraduate institution, Furman percussionists have opportunities to solo with band or orchestra and to play literature which might be reserved more exclusively to graduate students at a larger institution. At Furman we are pleased to be able to challenge our students with these opportunities.  


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