Most percussion students probably don’t have a marimba at home, but McCormick’s new percussion practice mats might bring them closer to the experience. McCormick’s released practice mats with marimba, vibraphone, and xylophone key layouts to help students practice these large, expensive instruments at home.
“It gives the educator the ability to teach the student and have that student practice on something that’s pretty representative of the real instrument,” says Alan Yefsky, McCormick’s president and chief executive officer. “You can roll it up; it weighs [practically] nothing; and it doesn’t cost $6,000.”
After a band director approached McCormick’s needing to find a way to teach marimba students remotely, the company sought to create a highly accurate representation of the mallet instruments.
“We started with a real, physical instrument and photographed it,” Yefsky says. “We created a photo-realistic, accurate representation of exactly where the keys are, exactly how big they are, and exactly how far apart they are.”
While online learning challenges prompted the idea, Yefsky says the mats will be useful even when students are back in classrooms. “We’ve learned that there’s really a need to solve the one instrument, many students problem,” Yefsky says.
The mats are durable and designed in a way that the edges won’t curl when students unroll them. They come either with or without note labels. Prices range from $34.99 to $39.99. The mats can be purchased at mccormicksnet.com.