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  2. Percussion

Percussion Auditions

You’ll be great. Trust us.

We’re all ears. Before we became players, singers, conductors, and composers, listening was our first love. And it’s still the skill that underlies everything we do at SFCM. Hearing who you are and how far you’ve come is the first step toward a beautiful musical partnership. We can’t wait to hear you.

Audition Requirements: Percussion

Live auditions at the Conservatory are required of the following applicants:

  • Anyone residing in California
  • Graduate applicants for percussion

Regional auditions are not available for percussion applicants.

Final audition recordings are accepted from the following applicants:

  • Undergraduate applicants residing outside of California
  • Graduate applicants residing outside the United States
  • Final recordings must be submitted online through the formal DecisionDesk Application, found here, no later than December 1.


Undergraduate percussion applicants may audition live at the Conservatory or may send in an audition video. They may not audition regionally.

  • Mallet percussion
    • A two-mallet piece (your choice)
    • A four-mallet piece (your choice)
  • Snare drum
    • Etude: Cirone or Delecluse
  • Timpani
    • Etude: Hochrainer (preferred), Vic Firth, or Goodman


  • Mallet percussion
    • A two-mallet piece (your choice)
    • A four-mallet piece (your choice)
  • Snare drum
    • Etude: Delecluse
    • Lieutenant Kijé (excerpt)
    • Capriccio espagnol — Alborada (excerpt)
  • Timpani
    • Etude: Hochrainer (preferred), Vic Firth, Goodman
    • Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (excerpt — mvt. 1 coda)
    • Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis (excerpt)
    • Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 (excerpt)
  • Marimba
    • Three pieces of contrasting styles

Timpani (graduate only)

Students wishing to major in timpani must perform the graduate percussion audition repertoire as outlined in the percussion requirements, plus:

  1. An advanced-level timpani solo (one movement) or advanced étude
  2. Complete Beethoven Symphonies
  3. Complete Brahms Symphonies
  4. Stravinsky The Rite of Spring
  5. Sight-reading

Please note: If you plan to perform a piece that requires playing on the “butts” (back-ends) of the timpani mallets please have a suitable alternative: moleskin or felt on the butt-end of the mallet. We don’t allow playing timpani heads with butt-ends or "playing on the timpani bowl."

Live audition dates at SFCM:

  • January 23, 2017
  • February 13, 2017

Regional auditions (North America):

  • Montreal: January 12, 2017 - Schulich School of Music, McGill University
  • Interlochen: January 14, 2017
  • Chicago: January 16, 2017
  • Boston: February 22, 2017 - Boston University
  • New York: February 24, 2017 - NOLA Sound Studio, Manhattan

Regional auditions (Asia):

  • Seoul: October 16, 2016 - Naeum Art Hall
  • Taipei: October 18, 2016 - The Forum Auditorium
  • Guangzhou: October 21 - 23, 2016 - Xinhai Conservatory
  • Shanghai: October 26-29, 2016 - Tongii University
  • Beijing: October 31 - November 4, 2016 - China Conservatory

Mainland China auditions are in partnership with USA Schools of Music.

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