Program Notes

Pitter PADder was commissioned by Adam Blackstock and the Troy University Percussion Ensemble for their performance at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in November of 2019. I was asked to write a piece that was accessible to even the smallest of programs, and I eventually remembered the one thing that nearly all percussionists have when they start out: PRACTICE PADS!

This piece is meant to serve as both a “primer” for younger students who are just starting to learn about marching percussion concepts for the first time and a method for reinforcing concepts in older marching band students. This piece requires many skills that are frequently used in marching percussion applications, including paradiddles, single stroke rolls, double stroke rolls, backsticking, and split parts. Whether your students are just getting into marching percussion or are already seasoned veterans on the field, they are sure to have fun with this one!


Pitter PADder is available through Row-Loff Productions. Find it here!

Pitter PADder was reviewed in the April 2020 edition of Percussive Notes:

“Pitter PADder” is a fun quartet written for snare drum practice pads. The composer recommends using Remo Tunable Practice Pads; however, any practice pad that has a rim and can be mounted to a stand will suffice. The parts for this piece can be easily doubled for a larger group, making it more accessible. The piece is made up of primarily sixteenth notes, triplets, and eighth notes. Stickings are written in and a few rudiments are utilized. The ensemble members should be fairly confident with paradiddles and paradiddle-diddles. There are no rolls throughout the piece, with the exception of an eight-bar section that requires the group to place a diddle on a sixteenth note. Each player is given a solo section, which can be extended or removed depending on the player’s ability or comfort level. The composer states in the notes that this piece should fun to play, and “when in doubt, be funny!” He also gives suggestions on how to make the piece more comedic. This piece would be good for a junior high or high school group, or even for a group of collegiate percussionists looking to play something for fun. While the music itself may not be difficult, the theatrics this piece incorporates will make it fit nicely on any performance. Robert Clayson has done a wonderful job writing a piece that younger ensembles can have fun with.

- Josh Armstrong