Reply To: How useful is your timpani?
I agree with schmidmana604. I am a percussionist myself and I believe for beginning band timpani are not necessary, but should definitely be used in 7th & 8th grade band. If you get into music that calls for timpani in 6th grade I do not see why you can’t use that time to introduce the students to timpani. 26″ and 29″ are standard timpani sizes and only having two will save on storage space. Although the head sizes stay the same, timpani can come in different bulkiness from model to model and there are even portable timpani that you can put into boxes and stack (maybe just two high), but will cut down on storage space and you may even be able to get four (which is optimal, and the next two sizes to get would be 23” & 32”). You can definitely get by with only two timpani, but sometimes you will have to deal with three or four different pitches in a piece and then the issue becomes “can the students change pitches fast enough?” Or, you will have to choose which pitches get played. Students may build a bad habit of not re-tuning drums for different pitches which negates the integrity of the music. If you can afford timpani for your 6th graders and up, get them! Timpani are a major part of the percussion family, and music family in general, and not having them will be doing your students a disservice.