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#84 Jim Ancona-Percussionist, Educator, Writer and More!

#84 Jim Ancona-Percussionist, Educator, Writer and More!

This week's guest is Jim Ancona. He is the band director at the University of Delaware. Percussion arranger for groups like Star of Indiana (1993), Crossmen (1998), Blast!, Carolina Crown and so many more. They talk about his upbringing and tutelage, tips for writing and being a well rounded percussionist.

The educational spotlight for this week is: The bi-lingual educational website Conga Chops, created by "friend of the show", Paulo Stagnaro. You can work on technique, chops, groove and other concepts. There are also play along tracks. 

Mailtime features a question about how to get better at playing using apps. The first one mentioned is the Eddie Palmieri App where you can play along with the band and even slide faders down for isolating (or removing) specific instruments. Also mentioned is the Clave app (mentioned in Ep 82) which can be used for just playing grooves, phrasing correctly and more. There's also There's the Percussion Tutor app. You can also use The Afro-Cuban Rythms for Drumset book by Bob Wiener and Frank Malabe as well as the New Method for Afro Cuban Drumset by Jimmy Branly, have some play along tracks as well. As far as just building and developing vocabulary for soloing (aside from transcribing actual quinto solos or other conga solos), this book by Mark Guiliana is specifically designed to build your rhythmic vocabulary.

Drummers you may not know about. Earl Palmer, Gaylord Birch, Yogi Horton, Steve Ferrone, Harvey Mason, Woody Woodson, Vernel Fournier, & Greg Errico

The Iconic recording picked out by none other than Charlie Hunter is Cal Tjader's "Viva Cepeda". You can check out some of the credits HERE.  

The product reviews this week are: The DW Incremental Hi-Hat clutch.  Cherry Hill Custom Drums (hardware and luxury drum keys). Marcos mentioned checking out their Instagram page. If you're in the Los Angeles area you won't find a better store for African percussion than Motherland Music.  They also offer lessons and repairs and not just instruments. Check out the photos below.....



Music news for this week....

SESAC and ended its battle with the Music Modernization Act and will support it as is. The Senators that still need to co-sign the bill are below.....


A Copy of Prince's The Black Album sells for record-breaking $27,500. The Rare vinyl LP from 1987 becomes most expensive item ever sold on the Discogs marketplace. Fania Records' Legacy Lives On With New Owners, Concord Records (a division of UMG - Universal Music Group). Lastly, What Streaming Music Services Really Pay (According to David Crosby), and it's not looking good. 

The music leading into the interview was the drum judges tape from Star of Indiana's 1993 field show where they won for best percussion. 

Jim Ancona's family owns the coffee shop Tusk and Cup in Ridgefield, CT on Route 7. 

Jim's first year marching the Cadets Drum Corps, was 1989 where they did a show using the music of Les Misérables

Jim went to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and was fortunate enough to interact with Max Roach. The solo Jim mentions is called "The Drum also Waltzes".


Here's a website you can use for some sightreading exercises. Jim mentions learning orchestral tambourine excerpts. Here is one list of popular orchestral excerpts (the percussion requirements are at the bottom). 

Here are some tips from Thom Hannum on arranging and phrase charts.  

Here is a quick synopsis of the story of Medea and Jason of the Argonauts. 

Jim got his masters degree in performance from the University of Indiana. While there Jim studied with Gerald Carlyss of the Philadelphia Orchestra. One of Jim's favorite orchestral pieces is also a piece he got to play at the beginning of his studies at IU. It is Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky. 

If you'd like to watch Marimba Spiritual performed by Blast! that Jim helped put together, CLICK HERE. 

The full recording of Crossmen 1998 (which is also the music used at the end of the interview) can be heard below......

Jim has been teaching at the University of Delaware since 1995. He is currently teaching at the Drum Corps the Carolina Crown. You can follow along with all the various drum corps at DCI dot Org. 

Jim mentions the use of Virtual Drumline on the Sibelius music writing software. Another popular music writing software is Finale

Jim Ancona uses: Zildjian Cymbals, Pearl Drums, Adam Percussion, Remo Drumheads and Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets. 

You can follow Jim on his Website, Facebook, Instagram and/or contact him at the University of Delaware.

#85 Paulo Stagnaro-Conga Chops/Ryan Gruss-The Loop Loft

#85 Paulo Stagnaro-Conga Chops/Ryan Gruss-The Loop Loft

#83 Ian Hale- Percussionist & Educator for Calgary Stampede, Spirit of America & More!

#83 Ian Hale- Percussionist & Educator for Calgary Stampede, Spirit of America & More!