The purpose of this study was to create arrangements or compositions appropriate for middle school percussion ensembles or jazz combo. Participation in small ensembles can offer students an opportunity to perform music of genres different from concert band, and provide parts that may be more challenging for them. Percussion ensembles are designed to utilize the section as a whole, which often places the mallet percussion instruments in a primary role. This may lead to faster skill development. In addition, each player must learn to balance the contrasting timbres and natural dynamic tendencies of the various instruments within the ensemble.
This study is comprised of nine ensembles the researcher created to expand the body of small ensemble literature, tailored for the skill levels of his middle school students.