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


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.

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

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