Edward B. Straight and his Natural System of Drumming

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2023-05

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Abstract

Edward B. Straight was an early twentieth-century percussion performer, composer, and pedagogue. He authored several method books and solos/etudes, performed with many concert bands, and taught many successful students. His method books served as resources for students when instructional materials were limited. Percussion method books usually feature a combination of exercises, etudes, solos, instructional content, and visual aids to develop students' skills and challenge them incrementally. Some method books follow a progressive format, with increasing difficulty as the books advance. In contrast, others focus on specific aspects of playing the instruments such as snare drum, timpani, xylophone, and marimba. Straight's method books contain several hundred exercises, including detailed explanations of musical phrasing, expression, and rhythm. Straight was also an early proponent in developing and propagating the “natural sticking” technique in percussion, which emphasizes utilizing the right hand of percussionists to simplify musical phrases and enhance sound quality. The author believes that Straight was an accomplished educator whose contributions laid the foundation for a more accessible way of playing the drums. This approach is valuable for contemporary percussionists to consider. This research document provides basic information regarding Straight's life and career, his approach to playing the drums, an overview of his method books and solos/etudes, and a brief overview of the research findings from his method books. The information provided from Straight’s method books and solos/etudes includes details such as the “Title,” “Publisher,” “Year,” “Number of Pages,” “Number of Exercises/Etudes,” “Rudiments,” “Measures,” “Difficulty,” and “Sequential Nature.” The author drew on primary and secondary sources for this document in order to offer an overview of Straight's contributions to percussion education.

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Keywords

Pedagogy, Percussion

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