Murray Gusseck is considered an innovator in the world of marching percussion. He started his drum corps career as a marching member of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps in 1988 and later went on to instruct the group in a variety of capacities. In the 18 years he was a part of the SCV organization, he received many accolades as a player, teacher, and composer.

Gusseck attended San Jose State University, studying with Dan Sabanovich, Hafez Modirzadeh, Royal Hartigan, and C.K. Ladzekpo. In the drum corps realm, he was mentored by some of the greats—Ralph Hardimon, Glen Crosby, Scott Johnson, Curt Moore, and Robert Chavira. Gusseck also shared the field as a marching member with Jim Casella, Jeff Queen, Colin McNutt, Nick Angelis, and many other now household names.

Gusseck is known for a unique compositional style, a signature sound, and a propensity for achieving a smooth, drumset-oriented approach to the marching percussion genre. He also helped start a trend of drum line “parking lot” shows by writing many challenging etudes for the battery ensemble to play during their pre-show warm-up routines. The music for these parking lot etudes became widely sought after and subsequently became part of the fuel for the next chapter in Gusseck’s career.

In 1998, together with friend and SCV-partner-in-crime Jim Casella, Gusseck co-founded Tapspace Publications , a percussion sheet music publisher. With humble beginnings, the company went from being a side project based on the marching compositions of its two founders to a real force in the world of percussion music.

Murray has arranged for many upper echelon groups in both the drum corps and marching band arenas including SCV, SCV Cadets, SCV Winter Percussion, Blue Knights, James Logan High School (CA), Fred C. Beyer High School (CA), Amador Valley High School (CA), Richland Hills High School (TX), Stephen F. Austin High School (TX), and Evergreen High School (WA). Currently, he is the battery arranger for the Yokohama Inspires from Yokohama, Japan.

In addition to other writing and teaching activities, he has presented clinics across America as well as in Japan, Thailand, and Singapore. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest where he manages Tapspace and plays drums locally in his spare time.


Check out Murray's Vic Firth Signature Stick!
Murray Gusseck (SMG)
With a thick shaft and a medium long taper‚ "M-Dawgs" offer great balance from front to back. The slightly elongated tip provides quick rebound with a bright sound that works well on both snares and tenors. In hickory.
L = 17" | Dia. = .715"
  [enlarge photo]

Check out some of Murray's publications!

available at

Double Beat 2004     |  listen to the mp3  |

Double Beat 2004 is Murray Gusseck's latest version of the immensely popular pre-show piece played by the SCV drumline. Gusseck and the guys take it up another notch or two with this extended version that contains new grooves and the same backbeat funkiness that has made this into one of the most popular drumline stand-alone pieces of all time. .


Double Beat 9000     |  listen to the mp3  |

Doublebeat 9000 is an ostinato-based jammy jam for the groovy drumline. Its inherent challenges lie in the nonstop repetition of swing-style 16th notes for the snares, melodic-based diddle patterns for the tenors, and bottom feeder running lines for the basses. This piece could be a cadence, a stadium groove, or simply something for after school.


Basic Strokes     |  listen to the mp3  |

Murray Gusseck and Tap Space Publications bring you an entire warm-up sequence in one exercise. Basic Strokes 2004 was played all summer long by the 2004 championship Santa Clara Vanguard drumline. Lasting nearly 6 minutes, the exercise takes the line through a series of paces focusing on two stroke-types, as well as providing the usual rhythmic interest and variety that keep SCV's drumline at the top of their game.


Spanks     |  listen to the mp3  |

Spanks presents a groove challenge for any drumline. Written and designed by Murray Gusseck for the championship 2004 Santa Clara Vanguard drumline, this exercise is 3 minutes of groove-oriented single and double-stroke patterns that are designed to challenge not only the players' sense of time, but also the finer fulcrum muscles of their hands.


Electric Wheelchair 2003     |  listen to the mp3  |

Electric Wheelchair was written as a street cadence for the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps in 1990 by Murray Gusseck, who was a marching tenor player at the time. Since then it has become a trademark piece for the SCV battery, and one of the most popular cadences of all time. This 2003 version is the most current one used the corps. The original version Electric Wheelchair is also available as part of Tap Space Publications' collection of battery ensemble pieces written by Murray Gusseck, known as Parking Lot Etudes.

Fat Mama Dancin'     |  listen to the mp3  |

If sticking your finger in a light socket is your thing, then this 60-second drumline warmup is just the thing for you. Fat Mama Dancin' was originally written for the 1997 SCV drumline to play as an on-the-field warmup. This rendition has been retrofitted for increased playability and (maybe) a few less 32nd-note rim shots. Picture an elephant on PCP in the china section at Macy's and you're getting close!


Flash Gordon Henderson     |  listen to the mp3  |

Hang onto your hats and glasses! This exercise in timing and independence for the advanced battery ensemble will test the mind and the ears, as well as just downright make some folks uncomfortable. Flash Gordon Henderson is the latest concoction by Murray Gusseck and was heard throughout 2009 in DCI warmup areas around the country.



It's In 4     |  listen to the mp3  |

The title It's in 4 comes in the form of an answer to a question that was posed during a parade in which this cadence was utilized to "coordinate" the footsteps of the performers. In this case, the performers were the members of the Santa Clara Vanguard, the questioner was an SCV staffer (who shall not be named), and the "questionee" was drumline instructor Murray Gusseck. The dialog went something like this: "That sounds like $&#. What $*%*#@^ meter is that in??"

Gusseck's answer became the new name for the cadence. And now It's in 4 has been refurbished and shined up with new life for your listening and downloading pleasure. Clocking in at over two minutes, this behemoth has some old school and some new school mixed together that would challenge anyone. The piece has been tweaked for increased playability and less ticks, so don't be afraid to dive in and start swimming.


Krackus     |  listen to the mp3  |

If you were in the lot at all in 2003, you couldn't miss the Santa Clara Vanguard playing Murray Gusseck's Krackus. Inspired by 'Drum and Bass' style beats, this is a 60-second warmup type piece requiring chops, finesse, and a healthy dose of sack!


Martian Mambo     |  listen to the mp3  |

Originally written in 1990 by then SCV marching tenor player Murray Gusseck, Martian Mambo quickly became an in-demand SCV classic at drum corps shows during a time when drumlines didn't really play much outside of their competitive shows and simple rudimental warmups. This piece helped launch Gusseck's drum corps career as a unique voice in the activity and paved the way for a whole new subgenre in the marching world—the lot jams.


Palindrome     |  listen to the mp3  |

pal·in·drome [pal-in-drohm]


1. a word, line, verse, number, sentence, etc., reading the same backward as forward, as Madam, I'm Adam or Poor Dan is in a droop.

Palindrome was born in the Tapspace booth at the Chicago Midwest Clinic and Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) trade show in December, 2010 and February, 2011 respectively. In between VDL demos, veteran Tapspacers Jim Casella, Murray Gusseck, Bryan Harmsen, and Bill Castillo slowly chipped away at a compositional idea based loosely around the idea of a "rhythmic palindrome" in 23/16 time.

The piece quickly turned into quite the challenging etude for the experienced marching battery ensemble. Lots of rhythmic twists and turns (and no shortage of polyrhythmic grooves) make this a fresh new addition to the Tapspace library of battery etudes!


POOF!     |  listen to the mp3  |

"POOF! You're loose!" was what Scott Johnson used to say to the members of SCV's 1992 drumline when they complained about needing to warm up. This old-school 60-second warmup was then marching member Murray Gusseck's tip of the aussie to Scott and the gang. Don't let the phrase "old-school" fool you though...POOF! runs the rudimental gamut in short order, so have your chops at the ready!


Where's Flores?     |  listen to the mp3  |

Where's Flores? is the latest drumline concoction from the innovative mind of Murray Gusseck. Inspired by various West African and Afro-Cuban styles, the piece is up, down, and all-around outside the box. It's scored for a full battery, including cymbals, as well as a solo tenor 'quinto' player. The multiple layers of time create a very demanding but groovy people mover. The title points to funky bay area drummer, teacher, and recording artist David Flores. The answer to the title's question is right here!