Why "Open Source?"


Open Source is a term commonly used in the technology industry. It basically means that something is free for people to distribute or edit so long as they follow the guidelines available in the license. We see a lot of open source software available in the market today like the web browser Firefox or the phone operating system Android. When it comes to music education though, everyone seems to put up a wall around their content. There are great free materials out there provided by instrument and accessory manufacturers, but they aren't all encompassing. For many music educators, a book is their way of putting their ideas out there and making some money along the way. However, in the age of YouTube and Google many of us have become accustomed to free resources. While there are good lessons out there, it isn't practical to show a video in class everyday. Additionally, with percussion technique being so divisive, there is also the risk of the instructor saying something that you don't want your students to practice.

The Open Source Percussionist is a way for you to teach with the materials you want, your way, for free. While the book lays out a pretty solid curriculum that is fully functional on its own, it is designed to be infinitely hackable. Do you want your students to use just the mallet portion of the book? Cool, take out the beginning. Do you want your students to spend more time on eighth-note timing? Write up some patterns and throw them in. As long as attributions remain in place, the Creative Commons license within the text allows for you to make the curriculum you want to make without having to create an entire book from scratch.

For band directors, this is a great way to catch up on some of the better parts of beginning percussion. A trained musician with no percussion experience should be able to blaze through the book over the summer and come out with new ideas and approaches to how to teach. If you don't have time for that, each unit has a preceding "director page" that provides learning targets for your lesson plans and a description of how to achieve those goals. You worry about the buses, uniforms, and the booster meeting, The Open Source Percussionist will take care of your drummers!