Micah Prescott

Learning the 'language' of percussion
Micah Prescott not only marches to the beat of another drummer, he IS that other drummer.

Micah, a sophomore from Newnan, is studying composition and music technology in addition to percussion performance – and he loves every minute of it.

"With a percussion major, you have so many instruments to choose from," he says. "You have to be almost multilingual because it is like you are learning a bunch of different languages. It's within the same framework – you use your hands, your wrists, your arms and sometimes you use your feet – but it's very open and wide-ranging."

Those instruments may include a timpani, xylophone, marimba, snare drum, bass drum, cymbal, bells, steel drum – the list goes on and on. "When you play a clarinet, you use the same muscles all the time and you have to be very focused. But when you are a percussionist, you have to know not only the snare drum but also your mallet instruments (marimbas, steel drums, etc.). It's a very wide group, so instead of just practicing one or two hours on one instrument, you've got to make sure you are equally diverse in all of them. It becomes very detailed. Sometimes it looks very simple but there is so much time spent on it."

Micah says he was introduced to music when he was 9 years old.

"I was in elementary school, and they started us on recorders. It kind of progressed – the more I played the deeper I got into it. I loved the different things you could do with it, how creative and almost open-ended music is because you can apply it in so many different ways. You can be not only a composer, but you can be a performer and a teacher – there is a big box of jobs." At LaGrange, Micah has the opportunity to explore all those options. In addition to his classes, he has been able to perform around the area.

"I've been playing in churches and at a theater in Tyrone," he says. "With Lee Johnson (Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Music), I composed a percussion ensemble and the Columbus State University percussion group came to LaGrange to record it." He's also tried his hand at writing music. "We are so lucky here because the whole (Music Department) staff is so encouraging. They told me to go write a percussion ensemble – so I wrote one. It was a blast."

Although he says it is hard to choose, Micah has a special fondness for the keyboard percussion instruments – the marimba, xylophone, etc.

"You can be such much more melodic and musical with them. I find it more interesting playing those because of the detail involved and the intricacies with the muscles. I like the sound of the vibe best because it has such a jazz feel, but I find myself playing the marimba more. It's easier for me to practice because it is more melodic." Ask Micah about the world-renowned percussion group Nexus, who will be performing at 7:30 p.m. March 23 in Callaway Auditorium, and the young musician beams.

"Wow, Nexus. They are a horse of a different color, really cool. Ever since I was little, I heard about Nexus because my grandfather knew some of the group, and he would always talk about them. They are so diverse and know all their instruments so well. They are master percussionists way beyond the college and doctorate levels." A lot of the group's music is based on Indian scales, and scales not typically known in modern music, or even in classical music, he says.

"They are arguably the best percussionists in the world, and they are coming here. I have a wonderful chance to talk to them one-on-one. Wow, I am definitely lucky."

Friends for the Journey

LaGrange College attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world. For example, our most recent incoming class consisted of men and women from 19 states and 10 countries, and included:

  • 76 members of Beta Club or the National Honor Society
  • 71 members of service organizations
  • 51 team captains in varsity sports
  • 25 leaders involved in student government, with 11 presidents
  • Three students involved in school publications, one as editor
  • Two Eagle Scouts
  • 20 musicians in band or orchestra
  • 18 singers in choir
  • 31 entertainers in performing arts
  • 85 students in religious activities.

But you don’t have to be a star in high school to succeed at LaGrange. Here, you’re given the opportunity to discover the best in yourself and find your destiny – all in a caring and supportive environment.