Percussion Division – Open

Open Class ensembles are enthusiastic with a strong desire to grow and explore. They are open and eager to test their skills in a more challenging arena. Most will have achieved the level of training set in A Class and welcome the challenge of greater creativity. There should be sound development in a logical growing progression of challenges while maintaining the premise that growth requires new and additional training. The Open Class is where the intermediate student explores new challenge through performance and realizes a greater sense of achievement as each more complex skill is learned. They experience a freedom in their process as creativity takes on a greater importance in their development. There may be a tendency to OVERWRITE in this growing stage. They should maintain strong standards of excellence in these important developing years.

SCHOLASTIC OPEN CLASS is consistently aged 13 through 18. Unlike Scholastic A Class, these ensembles have discovered a much stronger personality and are not usually similar to one another. The depth of their training and skills are still comparable in many cases, primarily due to the similarity of their age and the similar number of hours put into their development. Their programs are often freshly unique and original.

INDEPENDENT OPEN CLASS still contains a wide range of age and some skill difference. Performers within one ensemble can range from 12 to 22 years of age. There is greater consistency in the range of skills and physical development. Programs are unique. A few individuals will demonstrate a high level of skills. Some advanced challenges will exist.

Step 1 (Box 1) EXPERIENCE – Material is introduced to the student. The concept is presented with the principle/theory behind it.

Step 2 (Box 2) DISCOVER – The student attempts to convey the material to physical application and discovers his/her capabilities and what must be done to improve. The student practices the skill.

Step 3 (Box 3) KNOW – The student knows what is expected, grasps the material presented, and is becoming skilled in its application.

Step 4 (Box 4) UNDERSTAND – The student has a solid grasp of the material and can demonstrate the skills with good proficiency.

Step 5 (Box 5) APPLY – The skills are fully absorbed and easily applied. This premise directs the judge to recognize BEGINNING, INTERMEDIATE, AND ADVANCED maturity.

In this way, performers and instructors can plan their programs with a natural development and progression in mind. They can be graded much as they would in school, and the system provides both curriculum and achievement recognition through score.


  • Box 1: The student EXPERIENCES intermediate skills. The ensemble might be misclassified.
  • Box 2: The student DISCOVERS intermediate skills. The show may be incomplete at this level.
  • Box 3: The student KNOWS intermediate skills. The show is a developing work in progress.
  • Box 4: The student UNDERSTANDS intermediate skills, DISCOVERS AND KNOWS some advanced skills.
  • Box 5: The student APPLIES intermediate skills and KNOWS some advanced skills.