• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Michael Dooley - High School Musical

Michael's percussion setup for High School Musical at the John Horn High School in Mesquite, Texas.


"This show is very straightforward - mostly pop/rock tunes with a little bit of Latin and rudimental thrown in. There are only a few tricky spots: slow, even 8th notes on different shakers (combined with simultaneous conga in one number), a few quick transitions that the Miller Machine and tambourine cradle helped with, marching tenor licks for those of us who haven't been in marching band for a decade or more, and a chocalho/caixa part that I'll discuss further down.

The score calls for marching tenors (5 drums) several times throughout the show, but in this particular production students were on stage playing in a mini-drumline. I doubled the part sometimes on the four toms in my setup, but if this were a 'normal' production I would have placed the tenors in the toms' position. You do need three toms for the Auditions number, which I would have mounted above and behind the tenors.

A couple of numbers call for you to play chocalho and caixa at the same time, both parts playing solid fast 16th notes with accented downbeats on the caixa and a Brazilian 3-2 clave accent pattern on the chocalho; I didn't have the ability to play it as written, so I took out the caixa part. Ultimately a chocalho was far too loud for this show, so I substituted a Meinl single-row steel tambourine, playing it in my lap with both hands. It effectively created the bright accented-but-kinda-sloppy sound that a chocalho makes, but more easily controlled."

Instrument list (left to right):

  • Yamaha Glockenspiel
  • LP Valje Congas
  • Black Swamp Beryllium Copper Tambourine (moved to Tambourine Cradle above toms for one number)
  • Meinl Steel Tambourine
  • LP Aspire Bongos
  • Alan Abel 6" Triangle on Miller Machine (on LP Mini Everything Rack)
  • LP Salsa Cowbell (on LP Mini Everything Rack)
  • Bell Tree
  • Sabian SR2 Suspended Cymbal
  • TreeWorks Mark Tree/Bar Chimes
  • LP Shake-It Shaker
  • Meinl Large Single Salsa Shaker
  • LP Egg Shaker
  • Black Swamp Wood Blocks
  • Meinl Medium Wood Shaker
  • Mapex Armory 10"/12"/14"/16" Toms & Floor Toms
  • Sabian Tam-Tam
  • Meinl Darbuka (behind the throne)