1. Departments
  2. Percussion

Curriculum: Percussion Undergraduates

Life isn’t an audition.

Any music school can make you a better player. Our interconnected courses are built to transform you intellectually, artistically, professionally, and individually. You’ll understand the roots of your music, freeing you to take it somewhere new. You’ll see how your training broadens your options, rather than narrowing them. You'll find your voice. And you'll enter the world with the same confidence you bring to the stage.

Required Courses

Curriculum: Bachelor Degree in Orchestral Instruments (Percussion)
Credit total: 127-135

Rec. Course #/Title Cr.
Private Instruction
1st/2nd/3rd/4th yr. PVL 100 Major Instruction 32
Musicianship and Music Theory
1st yr. MMT 102/112 Musicianship 4
1st yr. MMT 103/113 Musicianship 4
2nd yr. MMT 104/114 Musicianship 4
2nd yr. MMT 105/115 Musicianship 4
3rd yr. MMT 106 Musicianship 2
3rd yr. MMT 107 Musicianship 2
Keyboard Skills
1st yr. PRF 150/151 Keyboard Skills 2
Humanities and Sciences
1st yr. HMS 110/111 Approaches to College Writing 6
2nd yr. HMS 202/203 Intro to Western Civilization 6
3rd yr. HMS 302-399 (Literature) 3
4th yr. HMS 402-479 (Hist/Phil) 3
  HMS 210-599 12
Music History and Literature
2nd yr. MHL 202/203 4
3rd yr. MHL 204 2
3rd yr. MHL 400-599 or MMT 252 or 253 3
4th yr. Other MHL/MMT Courses (except MHL 202-399 and MMT 100-115) 3
Applied Practical Training / Professional Development
1st yr. PDV 200 Professional Fundamentals; PDV 202 Finance for Musicians 2
4th yr. PDV 203-599 2
1st/2nd/3rd/4th yr. ENS 200 Conservatory Orchestra 16
3rd/4th yr. ENS 200-599 4
4th yr. ENS 300 Chorus or ENS 301 Chamber Choir 2
Winter Term
1st yr. Project
2nd yr. Project
3rd yr. Project
Electives (5 credits total)
Courses numbered HMS 202-590, MMT 202-799, and courses in the APP, ENS, IND, MHL and PDV series that aren’t used to fulfill core curriculum or major field requirements may be used to fulfill the requirements for the elective credits listed for individual majors.
Juries and Recitals
1st yr. JRFR Freshman Jury
2nd yr. JRSO Sophomore Jury
3rd yr. JRJU Junior Jury
4th yr. JRSN Senior Jury
4th yr. RCTSN Senior Recital

Repertoire Requirements for Percussion Majors

Freshman Jury


  • Study of basic techniques: strokes, tone, tuning, roll, muffling, cross-sticking
  • Goodman Modern Method for Timpani
  • Firth The Solo Timpanist, elementary studies
  • Orchestral repertoire of classical composers and compositions performed by the Conservatory Orchestra (throughout all years)

Snare Drum

  • Survey of all basic strokes, rolls
  • Goldenberg Snare Drum Method
  • Cirone Portraits in Rhythm
  • Peters Intermediate Snare Drum Studies
  • Introduction to orchestral repertoire

Mallet Instruments (xylophone, marimba, etc.)

  • Study of basic techniques
  • Goldenberg Modern School for Xylophone
  • Green Studies
  • Introduction to orchestral repertoire
  • Begin four-mallet technique using Bach and Van Geem Four-Mallet Democracy

Introduction to the techniques of other percussion instruments: bass drum, cymbals, tambourine, triangle, castanets, etc. This survey continues as appropriate throughout the undergraduate years, particularly as necessitated by performance in the Conservatory Orchestra.

Sophomore Jury


  • Orchestral repertoire of classical and romantic composers.

Snare Drum

  • More advanced studies, with emphasis on dynamic control, especially the "pp," the roll at all dynamics, etc.
  • Peters Advanced Snare Drum Studies
  • Cirone Portraits in Rhythm
  • Orchestral repertoire

Mallet Instruments

  • Continued study of scales and arpeggios
  • Green Studies
  • More advanced studies
  • Solo material selected from modern composers and classic works transcribed for xylophone, marimba, and vibraphone (Bach violin sonatas and partitas, Bach cello suites, Creston Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra). Begin multiple percussion: Stravinsky L'histoire du soldat, Milhaud Concerto for Percussion

Junior Jury


  • Orchestral repertoire of all periods, including some modern works
  • Solo material (Paris Timpani Concerto, Tanner Timpani Concerto)

Snare Drum

  • Cirone Portraits in Rhythm
  • Emphasis on metric variations; orchestral repertoire

Mallet Instruments

  • Continue Bach violin sonatas, partitas, and cello suites
  • Orchestral repertoire (e.g., Gershwin Porgy and Bess, Bernstein, Stravinsky, Bartók)
  • More advanced four-mallet study using Van Geem Four-Mallet Democracy
  • Study of repertoire of complete percussion family
  • Dvořák Carnival Overture (tambourine)
  • Liszt Piano Concerto (triangle)
  • Mahler Symphony No. 3 (bass drum)
  • Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 (cymbals)
  • Continue technical studies of Green, Bailey

More extensive multiple percussion studies: Dahl Duettino for Flute and Percussion; Kraft Encounters for Trumpet and Percussion

Senior Jury and Senior Recital

  • Technical perfection in all areas of percussion performance
  • Studies in any of the previously recommended methods as indicated; other advanced methods may be used, such as Abel Twentieth Century Orchestral Studies (timpani); continued survey of solo works and the symphonic and operatic repertoire

The fourth year's study should culminate in a solo jury examination with performance on all basic percussion instruments, including such works as Stout Mexican Dances, Milhaud Concerto for Marimba (or a full-length concerto transcribed for mallets), and Carter Eight Solo Pieces for Four Timpani. If possible, small ensemble works featuring percussion should be included. Suggestions include Bartók Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Kurka Marimba Concerto, Bach sonatas (violin) and lute suites, Stockhausen Zyklus, Crumb Madrigals, and Berio Circles. This jury also could include a first performance of an advanced composition student's work for solo percussion or percussion featured in a small ensemble.

Percussion majors must perform a senior recital to determine fulfillment of performance