After 32 years as Furman's first full-time percussion instructor, John Beckford was appointed dean of the faculty in March 2008 and later became vice president for academic affairs and dean, the university's chief academic officer. Prior to these appointments, he headed all areas of percussion studies at Furman, taught music history, held state offices in the Percussive Arts Society, and was principal percussionist with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra until 2006. He continues to be an active performer as a member of the Greenville Symphony percussion section, performs with other organizations, and teaches the world music course at Furman.​

Name Title Description




Percussion Ensemble


Introduction to Music

Introduction to the fundamentals of music, exploring a variety of musical genres, and developing an appreciation of the diverse musical genres. Although the focus157 for each section varies, all sections address certain fundamentals of music: listening skills, cultural context, historical development, musical vocabulary, musical structure, and style. Requires out-of-class listening and attendance at live concerts. Descriptions of the sections are published during the enrollment period for each term.


Introductory Music Literature

Exploration of important composers and works, topics will include: recurring cycles of classicism and romanticism, performance practice, sacredness in music, the nature of creativity, translations of vocal music and the changing roles of the composer, performer and audience in society.


World Music

Examination of music from selected regions of the world. Emphasis on understanding the culture, meaning, and identities found in music outside the western European paradigm.


Music History I

The development of musical style, covering the period from Antiquity to c. 1650. Representative examples of music are discussed, with an emphasis on social-historical context and the philosophical origins of Western music.


Percussion Methods

Preparing instrumentalists to teach the fundamentals of percussion performance at the elementary and secondary school level. Emphasis will be placed upon pedagogy as well as the acquisition of performance skills on all percussion Instruments.


Basic Conducting

Basic skills required of a conductor: beat patterns, cuing, expressive and functional use of the left hand, introduction to score study.

Students are best motivated when they understand the relevance of their studies. Knowing why the information or activity is important is crucial in launching a student on a path of discovery. Once this understanding is achieved, then the student must be engaged in an active learning environment, a full participant in the learning process. Finally, the student must be able to recognize progress and an appreciation for the new skills and knowledge acquired. Without that recognition and appreciation, the student leaves the experience unfulfilled and less willing to engage the subject in the future. These three principles are successful only when the teacher treats each student as an individual. Understanding their uniqueness becomes one of the joys of teaching.

University of Iowa
University of Iowa
University of Iowa
Training Under
Thomas L. Davis
Principal Instructor, University of Iowa

Connect with Admission

Furman is one of the nation's premier liberal arts and sciences universities. We offer our students The Furman Advantage—an over-arching approach to education that promises every student a four-year personalized pathway, a team of advisors and mentors, and the opportunity for an engaged learning experience that is tracked and integrated with the students' academic and professional goals.

Want more information about the admission process at Furman?

Contact us

Once you see our campus, making the right college decision will be so much easier.

Plan a visit

Undergraduate Evening Studies provides adults the opportunity to receive an education from one of the premier liberal arts universities in the nation.

Whether you are starting or continuing your education, or have been away from the classroom for a few months or several years, our program provides many services to assist you with accomplishing your educational and professional goals.

Apply now

Our graduate studies program is designed for the professional educator.

We know the challenges teachers and administrators face every day, and we are committed to helping you become a leader within your school system or district.

Apply now
  • Furman University