Yamaha & Neil Percy, Percussion

Neil Percy is the principal percussionist with the London Symphony Orchestra. With a passion for music education, he is also head of Timpani and Percussion at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Here, Neil shares his personal viewpoints on teaching and instruments:

“Teaching is incredibly important to me and I count myself lucky to be able to work with such fantastic students and see them eager and thirsty for knowledge. I never get tired of teaching young people who have a huge desire to become better players and better musicians. Over the years, it’s been wonderful to see some of those players start to work with me in the London Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras around the world. It’s really inspiring to see their achievements. I’ve always loved Yamaha instruments, mainly because so many of my musical heroes and players that I admire, play Yamaha. When the opportunity came to play Yamaha instruments, I didn’t hesitate, I just said ‘Yes, Yamaha is for me!’

My Yamaha rosewood snare drum is a beautiful instrument. As well as cutting through and being a dominant force, it’s also a beautifully ‘blending’ drum and has a warm sound. I have used calf on this drum and it sounds fantastic. I’m really, really happy with it – Yamaha have done a great job.

In more of an ensemble setup, I love Yamaha vibraphones, particularly the 3.5-octave because of its range. It’s very interesting for me to explore the extra range that this instrument has to offer. The 5-octave marimba is also an instrument that I use a lot in some of my contemporary and smaller group situations.

Yamaha vibraphones and marimbas simply sound great.

Yamaha instruments are perfect for my performances on stage and also for my needs as a teacher. Having the right equipment for students is essential, and using Yamaha has ensured we have the right instruments to harness the students’ enthusiasm and to inspire them to become better players.”