Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Professor James Campbell


Musicians are universally reliant on practice to improve and perfect their craft and there is substantial evidence that suggests mastery can only be achieved after 10,000 hours of practice early in life. This dissertation explores the validity of this theory as it pertains to master percussionists and examines their discoveries and recommendations as to how those 10,000 hours should best be spent. Research sources include selected published literature and personal interviews with thirty-six percussionists, conducted between 2010- 2013. The research is summarized in the following six sections: the 10,000-hour threshold; planning a practice session; warming up; learning new music; problem spots; and performance preparation. The primary goal of this dissertation is to detail the specific practice methods currently implemented by many of today’s most successful percussionists. This research should reveal the various ways success can be achieved in the practice room and help aspiring and accomplished professionals alike explore and integrate new practice methods and philosophies into their own careers and the careers of their students.