Sammie Romashko is in her last year of undergraduate studies, pursuing degrees in music education and percussion performance. She enjoys playing in a variety of ensembles — orchestra, wind symphony, percussion ensemble, steel band, and jazz band — and has been working the past few years with a nearby high school conducting their percussion ensemble. In April of 2021, she had the opportunity to sit on a panel of women from all walks of life to discuss women in the percussion field, why there may be so few, and how we can remedy that in the future. Sammie is currently in her second year of sitting on the PAS University Student Committee and looks forward to all of the amazing things that this committee will do for young percussionists.
R!S: How do you find new pieces that you are interested in playing? What factors do you consider when seeking out and/or choosing new solo or chamber repertoire?
Sammie Romashko: I often utilize YouTube performances from some of my favorite percussionists and trusted channels. I typically pick music based on what instruments may be available for me and the amount of time that I have to learn it. Most importantly, I make sure that I really like the piece enough to put all of the time and effort into it!
R!S: What changes about the way you play a piece as you “live” with it for a while? Do you typically perform a piece once or multiple times?
SR: Researching and learning the history of a piece while living with it helps me to play it better. Understanding why composers wrote what they wrote is such a big part of the performance process. I typically only get the opportunity to perform a piece once, occasionally twice.
R!S: How involved and in what ways is your instructor involved in your repertoire selection?
SR: My instructor will give advice and assistance if I request it, but mostly I choose my own repertoire and my teacher assists in the instructing.
R!S: Do you finish every piece that you start to learn? If not, why not? If a piece seems like a poor fit or you struggle unusually with a piece, how do you proceed? Do you “bail” on the selection or what changes do you make to allow yourself to complete it?
SR: I have finished almost every piece I have started to learn. There was one piece for my upcoming senior recital that I had to cut and change because of lack of a marimba to practice on over the summer. With the difficultly level of the piece, I knew I would not be able to make it as good as I wanted it to be in time for the recital. I plan to perform it next year or in a few years.
R!S: What is one particularly favorite piece of repertoire you’ve performed and why?
SR: I really loved playing the third movement of William Kraft’s “Timpani Concerto No. 1” with my good friend accompanying me on piano. I loved all of the different sounds that the timpani could produce that were not “typical.” I put a lot of work into the piece, and getting to see it be performed on stage after all of that time was very rewarding!