Drum Instructor Joshua Mathews Plays on Record “Marimba Collage”

Michelle Soulliere


Nicholas Papador and the University of Windsor's Percussion Ensemble, including our very own drum instructor Joshua Mathews, had their album "Marimba Collage: Open Score Works by Jordan Nobles" released by Redshift Records last month. This recording project received grant support from the Ontario Arts Council, the Windsor Endowment for the Arts Elizabeth Havelock Grant in the Arts, and the University of Windsor Alumni Association. Read on to hear Joshua's experience playing on this album. 

Joshua Mathews

All the performers on this record played the marimba, which is a tube-resonated percussion instrument played with mallets. It’s kind of like a giant xylophone. The overall focus of the record was the marimba and depicting its beauty.

The process of recording is quite cool. In the sound-isolated playing room it was just me with the marimba and a pair of headphones. In the mixing room was Dr. Nicholas Papador and the sound engineer. As I was playing, I was able to hear the parts that had already been recorded. Through the same headphones, I was able to communicate with Dr. Papador and the engineer.

“The overall focus of the record was the marimba and depicting its beauty.”

Interestingly enough, not that much practice or preparation time was required beforehand. I had to look at the sheet music beforehand in order to know what to expect, but the pieces were written in a way that gave the players freedom to improvise many aspects of it. We were given small sequences of notes or rolls that were supposed to last a specific duration, but we didn’t have to play them at a specific time. It was more about being creative and playing what felt right to us in the moment.

I would say there is no definitive description for the music on the album as it ranges on a wide spectrum that allows the album to capture the brilliance of Jordan Nobles, Dr. Nicholas Papador, and the performers. Some pieces have strong resonance and can be thought of as calming while other pieces, I would characterize as mysterious. Each piece is different and this allows the listener to impose their own perspective and feelings when interpreting the music. On one of the pieces that I contributed to, called Stasis, there is a very soft texture to the music as you hear the marimba rolls on higher notes. This is just one example of the great diversity this album portrays.

Joshua is booking new students for drop-in drum lessons. Reserve your lesson time today!

Album Art by Catherine Heard

The album can be found in limited copies on CD at our local Dr. Disc record store. It can also be streamed online from Bandcamp. 

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