how to learn a 4-mallet marimba piece (and a juilliard-related bonus video!)

this is the easiest time of the year to ruin a 4-mallet marimba solo. in fact, thousands of students all over the world are doing it right now.

see...since it’s the beginning of the school year, you’re probably starting new pieces.
you’re playing super fun and complicated things like THIS! (etude #1 by paul smadbeck)


and like THIS! (reflections on the nature of water by jacob druckman)


and since these are such demanding passages you’re probably focused mainly on playing all the notes in the right order.

well, that’s the trap.

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because the VERY BEGINNING of the note-learning process is when everything starts to become muscle-memorized. 

if you work on the notes and ignore the many other elements that make up an audition-winning 4-mallet marimba performance, your weaknesses are going to stick out like a wine stain on a tuxedo shirt. (not that i’ve ever experienced that...)

you have to start from the very beginning with musicality…and tone…and voicing. or else that stuff won’t make it to audition day. and i’ve heard lots of players with huge potential shoot themselves in the foot by missing those things.

today’s video is about how to learn a 4-mallet marimba piece.

and there’s another bonus video today! here’s my performance of the 4-mallet marimba chorale for the juilliard prescreening audition.

it’s by georg neumark and it’s called wer nur den lieben gott lässt walten. (don’t ask me how to pronounce it.)

rob knopper

hailed by @nytimes and james levine as needing 'louder triangle notes'. recorded delécluse: douze études for snare drum, percussionist in @metorchestra.