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Percussionist Demonstrates a Range of Instruments for Fellow Music Students

Before performing on a taping of From the Top in Abilene, Texas this November, 18-year-old percussionist Austin Allen demonstrated a variety of percussion instruments for a small group of percussion students from Madison Middle School and Cooper High School in Abilene.

Austin brought his own jazz vibraphone – which he’s used to carting around for his many gigs – and a snare drum to share with the students. Cooper High School generously provided a four-octave marimba so that Austin could demonstrate his full range as a percussionist. He played a variety of music, from a snare drum etude, to Bach on the four-octave marimba, to some of his own compositions on the jazz vibes. The students especially loved his compositions and were curious about the process and story behind the music.

In between pieces, Austin talked to the students about how he got started as a percussionist, his experiences in middle and high school band, and how he stays motivated and focused despite the demands of school, music, college auditions and life. Austin shared that he has known he wanted to be a professional musician since 7th grade. He asked all of the students what they were interested in – there were several fellow seniors in the audience who could definitely relate to the stress of college applications- and encouraged them all to stay focused on their goals and to also remember to have fun along the way.

“I had an amazing time being on From the Top and doing the school program,” Austin said. “I think that this sort of thing is one of the best kind of experiences for a young musician hoping to continue in the field of musical performance.”

The Cooper High School students also attended From the Top’s dress rehearsal the next day, along with music students from Abilene High School.