At minimum, applicants auditioning on percussion should be prepared to perform at least one solo or etude on snare drum, mallet keyboard percussion and timpani. Approximately 10 to 15 minutes of music should be prepared selected from appropriate solo recital literature. Above all, students should strive to play something that they are comfortable playing and accurately represents their abilities and potential. Prospective students will be evaluated on technical proficiency, pitch and rhythm accuracy, tone production, intonation, musical expressiveness and sight-reading ability. Because scholarships are limited and competitive, students who may receive the highest recommendations for scholarships often exceed the minimum requirements for audition repertoire including a 2- and 4-mallet marimba solo, snare drum solos in both rudimental and concert style and a timpani solo demonstrating tuning proficiency. 

Listed below are but a few suggested pieces of solo literature from which to choose, though other works of comparable or greater difficulty are also welcome and encouraged.

I. Snare Drum
Benson: Three Dances for Snare Drum
Cirone: Portraits in Rhythm
Markovitch: Stamina
Markovich: Tornado
McCormick: Solo Suite for Snare Drum
Pratt: Fourteen Modern Contest Solos

II. Mallet Keyboard Percussion
Bach: Concerto in A Minor (for violin)
Gomez/Rife: Rain Dance
Handel: Violin Sonata No. 3 in F Major
Hatch: Furioso and Valse in D Minor
Kreisler: Tambourin Chinois
Peters: Yellow After the Rain

III. Timpani
Beck: Sonata for Timpani
Beck: Triptych Motif
Firth: The Solo Timpanist - 26 Etudes
Goodman: Introduction and Allegro
Muczynski: Three Designs for Three Timpani
Peters: Rondino

Major and minor scales, snare drum rudiments, timpani tuning, and sight-reading should also be expected as part of the audition process. Auditionees are expected to provide all of their own music, sticks, and mallets. Instruments will be provided. Auditions normally last about 20 to 30 minutes and include a short interview.


Applicants for graduate study need to demonstrate musical maturity and advanced technical abilities. Applicants should be prepared to play advanced solos on snare drum (rudimental and concert style), mallets (two and four mallets) and timpani as well as a few excerpts from standard orchestral repertoire on each instrument. Auditions will also include sight-reading on snare drum and marimba. If you have any questions, please contact Professor John Dorsey.