Why study percussion at EMU?

We understand how music has shaped your life thus far. We are committed to helping you unlock your potential to become the whole musician you've dreamed of becoming.

EMU Music offers:

  • An excellent, comprehensive percussion program that helps prepare students for the world of professional music.
  • Private lessons ("applied music") for a one-hour lesson once a week where emphasis is on learning all of the major percussion instruments including snare drum, mallet keyboard instruments, timpani, drum set and a myriad of accessory items such as cymbals, tambourine, triangle, congas, etc.
  • Small and select studio, enabling all students to receive a great deal of individual attention and a wide range of performing opportunities.
  • Regular visits from significant guest artists who perform and present workshops, clinics and master classes for the percussion studio.
  • Solo and chamber music performance opportunities in departmental recitals, programs and competitions.
  • Numerous off campus performing opportunities because of the incredibly rich surrounding area.

The percussion studio averages about 16–18 undergraduate and graduate students each year in all degree programs: music education, performance, music therapy and "general" music. The curriculum, of course, varies for each person and is dependent upon each student's background, strengths and weaknesses. EMU percussion students are expected to function in a cooperative and supportive environment with mutual respect and shared responsibility which is fundamental to professional development. Percussion students participate in Studio Class each week, meeting as a group for the purposes of discussion, announcements, group lessons/demonstrations, master classes, music study and informal student performances in a relaxed environment. 

Applied lessons are a basic element of the percussion curriculum at Eastern Michigan University. Applied music study is essential in every music degree program as the avenue for the development of personal musicianship, competence in performance and pedagogical understanding. In applied music courses, students integrate and apply theoretical, historical and philosophical music information and concepts learned elsewhere in the curriculum. Musical, technical and pedagogical issues are addressed in weekly private lessons and studio classes through the study, performance and pedagogical analysis of solo and small ensemble repertoire, etudes, and related literature. Students are assessed in performance examinations before the music faculty and in public performance.

Our objectives are to develop professional educators, performers or other music professionals who are proficient on a wide variety of percussion instruments so that they will be prepared for whatever opportunities may arise in the multi-faceted and competitive world of professional music.

Our aim is to cultivate the percussionist's level of musicianship, artistry and technique to its highest possible level and, along the way, illuminate elements of pedagogy, history, practical theory, music business and other relevant components of music.


To arrange a visit or free lesson please contact:

Professor John Dorsey
[email protected]