Music creates a unique experience for everyone, playing on the listener’s emotions and experiences, pulling out hidden dreams and ideas from the recesses of the mind. Whether it is used to simply relax or while studying, music becomes a central part of life. The music department shapes an experience for students to share their love of music with a variety of instruments through the Percussion Ensemble.


Students get the opportunity to learn to play different instruments from an electric guitar to a police whistle. The ensemble mixes a variety of vibraphones, wood blocks, marimbas, and other instruments that help develop culture in the students as well as provide entertaining and unpredictable music, according to Dr. Doug Smith, UVU’s new Percussion Ensemble Director.


“The ensemble has played over 100 different instruments just this last semester,” said Nate Anderson, UVU senior.


Smith works to give his students the experience to do what they love, playing their music.


“It makes it an exciting group to be a part of, playing all of the different styles and genres. It’s exciting for the audience, too, hearing all of the different types of instruments in one concert,” Smith said.


The Percussion Ensemble is a place where students create music. They create these unique experiences for everyone to be a part of.


The ensemble is “very expressive,” according to Anderson.  “There are lots of instruments, lots of styles, lots of opportunities. It’s a pretty diverse experience in expressing yourself.”


In the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day concert on March 19, pieces will feature fast-paced, non-stop movement described by Smith as a roller-coaster as well as music that will immediately put listeners in a good mood.


Some of the pieces are unpredictable while others are “exotic [and have a] sexy, sort of tango feel,” Smith said.


The Percussion Ensemble performs in a way where each musician is continually playing and actively participating in making the music.


“You get to play all the time. The parts are more active and you play instruments that you can’t in other [musical ensembles],” Smith said.


Percussion is a different way of experiencing music. It is a combination of listening and seeing.


Percussion music is not just hearing the notes but also visually seeing how the music is made and what goes into the sound, according to Smith.


Music can lead people on a journey wherever they need to go. The Percussion Ensemble hopes to lead that journey, not just for one piece of music, but also for the whole concert.


“Human beings are music makers. Music’s uplifting, inspiring and educational. What better way to experience it while we play the oldest instruments next to the voice?” Anderson said. “Percussion has been contributing to culture all through history and it will continue to do so.”


Kimberly Lender – Life Writer