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Applications to perform or to propose a clinic at the 68th Annual Midwest Clinic are now available!

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The Great Divide: Making the Percussionists' Middle School Years Count

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  • After the beginning band year, percussionists are often neglected until high school drumline. But, the time during the middle school years can be the most formative. Rath, Hicks and student performers will discuss and demonstrate integrating essential techniques into the band warm-up, capitalizing on percussion ensemble and developing a plan for daily skill advancement. Especially geared to non-percussionist band directors, everyone will walk away with ready-to-use strategies!
  • Eric Rath (ericrathmusic@gmail.com)
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  • Eric Rath is the Director of Bands at Canyon JH and the Director of Percussion for the Canyon High School Cluster. He is an active educator, guest conductor-clinician, adjudicator, arranger and composer. In 2019, he was named the Teacher of the Year at Canyon JH. As a composer, Mr. Rath's music has been described as "very exciting for performers and audiences alike." His music is regularly performed nationally and internationally. Mr. Rath and Ralph Hicks are the co-authors of several percussion resources including the wildly popular percussion ensemble collection, "Beyond Basic Percussion." Mr. Rath is a member of the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra and is a proud graduate of West Texas A&M University, where he received both his Bachelor of Music Education and his Master of Arts Degree. Mr. Rath resides in Canyon, Texas, with his wife Kayla, and their five children Regan, Grant, McKinley, Jackson and Harrison. He is a Yamaha Performing Artist and also an educational artist for Innovative Percussion, Inc
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  • Ralph Hicks
  • First and foremost a teacher, Ralph Hicks has been influenced by amazing and dedicated teachers. Ralph is a product of the highly successful Spring HS Band program (Spring, TX), winning two Texas 5A State Marching Championships, one BOA Grand National Championship, a PAS Call for Tapes, and a naming to the 1995 Texas All State Orchestra. Receiving a full scholarship to the University of Kentucky, Hicks studied Percussion under Professor James B. Campbell. In 1996 he took first place in the PAS International Vibraphone Solo competition. In 1997 he was a member of the Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps and was named a Yamaha Young Performing Artist. His performing days behind him, Ralph currently teaches beginning Percussion at Mitchell Intermediate in The Woodlands, TX (Conroe ISD). He is also founder and executive director of Let Them Drum, a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation providing recreational drum therapy and performance opportunities for the special needs and assisted living communities of The Woodlands and surrounding areas. In 2012, Mr. Hicks was Mitchell Intermediate’s Teacher of the Year and named Conroe ISD Outstanding Teacher in the Arts by The Woodlands Waterway Arts Council. Ralph Hicks lives in his hometown of Spring, TX, with his wife Marcail and two children, Brooklynn and William. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Texas Music Educators Association, the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild, serves on the Education Committee for the Percussive Arts Society, and is endorsed by Innovative Percussion.
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