Percussion

Degrees Offered:

Bachelor of Arts/Music/Science (B.A./B.M./B.S.)

Click here for Undergraduate degree options (Bachelor of Arts/Music/Science)
Admission Requirements

Please see information on the School of Music Application Process.

Perform an audition for the percussion faculty, about 20 minutes, in conjunction with a 10 minute interview. Additionally, a complete solo repertoire list is to be submitted to the Undergraduate Admissions Office during the application process.

Students should be prepared to perform solo repertoire on at least three different percussion instruments as outlined below. Choosing works from your state’s contest “A” list (or works of equal difficulty) is a good place to begin looking for repertoire.

Though it is understood that each student will have areas of personal strength, it is very important to the percussion faculty that students demonstrate abilities on diverse repertoire and instruments. While the primary emphasis in admission and scholarship decisions is placed upon the prepared material, sight reading on snare drum and keyboard percussion will be included in the audition process.

All equipment that auditioning students may need will be provided in the practice and audition rooms. Students who prefer to bring personal instruments are welcome to do so. Students are expected to bring any sticks or mallets needed for the audition.

Required audition areas (must do both)
  1. Keyboard Percussion A solo or solos on marimba, vibraphone, or xylophone. The solo(s) may be for two or four mallets (however, a four-mallet solo is strongly encouraged).
  2. Snare Drum Repertoire chosen should demonstrate concert and rudimentary style.
Choice Areas (choose one or more)
  1. Timpani A solo for two, three, or four drums. Excerpts from the standard orchestral repertoire would also be acceptable.
  2. Multiple Percussion A solo on any combination of percussion instruments.
  3. Drum Set A prepared solo and/or improvisation in a variety of styles.
  4. World Percussion Instruments A prepared solo and/or improvisation in an area of your choice.

Master of Music (M.M.)

Degree Overview [See Worksheet for specifics]

  • Masters Level-Percussion (664-527), 8 cr.
  • Masters Recital (664-990), 4 cr.
  • Repetoire: Percussion (660-346), 1-2 cr.
  • Musicology and Music Theory, 9 cr.
  • Ensembles and Organizations (660-568,570,571,574,576), 4 cr.
  • Electives (300 level and above)
Admission Requirements

Starting in Fall 2015, Percussion applicants will be required to submit a video recording for the purpose of audition pre-screening. Videos must be submitted as URL links to YouTube, Google, etc.


** New for Fall 2016: Pre-Screening Video Instructions **


Please see information on the School of Music Application Process. In addition:

* A complete solo and chamber repertoire list is to be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office during the application process.

MM candidates should prepare an audition of 20-25 minutes in length. Each candidate is required to perform on four instrumental areas. A performance on the marimba (4 mallets) or vibraphone and the snare drum are required and two more instruments may be selected from timpani, multiple percussion, various orchestral excerpts, drum set, and world percussion. In addition to the prepared repertoire the audition will also consist of sight-reading on timpani, snare drum and marimba (2 mallets and 4 mallets). Memorization is neither required nor discouraged.

Auditions in Madison are highly preferred; if you have a videotape of any percussion performance that includes world percussion or drum set playing in an ensemble setting and/or multiple percussion repertory, please bring a DVD copy of this to your audition. Entirely videotaped auditions will be considered only in unusual circumstances or for international students.

If you have any further audition repertoire questions, would like to request more information on the percussion program, or if you wish to audition via video recording, please contact Professor Di Sanza.

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

Degree Overview [See Worksheet for specifics]

  • Doctoral Level-Percussion (660-727), 16 cr.
  • Recitals (664-999), 1 cr. each, 5 cr. total
  • Music Research Methods and Materials (660-619), 3 cr.
  • Percussion Literature/Pedagogy (660-550 or 540), 2 cr.
  • Minor, 10-12 cr.
  • Musicology and Music Theory, 9 cr.
  • Language: one language at intermediate level (credits and method of completion varies)
Admission Requirements

Starting in Fall 2015, Percussion applicants will be required to submit a video recording for the purpose of audition pre-screening. Videos must be submitted as URL links to YouTube, Google, etc.


** New for Fall 2016: Pre-Screening Video Instructions **


Please see information on the School of Music Application Process. In addition:

* A complete solo and chamber repertoire list is to be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office during the application process.

DMA candidates should prepare an audition of 35-40 minutes in length. Each candidate is required to perform on five instrumental areas. Four-mallet marimba (or vibraphone), two-mallet marimba (or xylophone) and snare drum are required with two more areas selected from timpani, multiple percussion, various orchestral excerpts, drum set and world percussion. In addition to the prepared repertoire the audition will also consist of sight-reading on timpani, snare drum and marimba (2 mallets and 4 mallets). Memorization is neither required nor discouraged.

Auditions in Madison are highly preferred; if you have a videotape of any percussion performance that includes world percussion or drum set playing in an ensemble setting and/or multiple percussion repertory, please bring a DVD copy of this to your audition. Entirely videotaped auditions will be considered only in unusual circumstances or for international students.

If you have any further audition repertoire questions, would like to request more information on the percussion program, or if you wish to audition via video recording, please contact Professor Di Sanza.

Doctoral Minor

The purpose of the doctoral minor is to add breadth and depth to the D.M.A or Ph.D degree. To insure coherence a minor program must be approved by the appropriate department, a student’s advisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies, and must include courses at the 300-level or above. Typically, a minor requires 12 credits of work.

Students have a variety of options, including completing an internal minor within the School of Music (e.g., a D.M.A. conducting student who minors in ethnomusicology or a Ph.D. in music theory who minors in clarinet performance), completing a minor in a department outside the School of Music (e.g., a D.M.A. in horn performance who minors in Women’s Studies or a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology who minors in East Asian studies).

Students may, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, devise a distributed minor that brings together courses from a variety of departments around a particular topic or area of interest. For example, a D.M.A. student in voice devises a minor in vocal health that includes courses in communicative disorders, or a Ph.D. student in musicology devises a minor in Medieval History that includes courses in art history, history, and languages.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The University of Wisconsin-Madison percussion program is broad-based, including studies in Western solo, chamber and orchestral repertoire, jazz performance on drum set and vibraphone, as well as study of selected non-Western percussive styles. The program supports the Western and world percussion ensembles as well as numerous other ad hoc chamber experiences. Courses in percussion repertoire and percussion pedagogy are offered in a regular basis for the graduate and upperclass undergraduate students.

The percussion studio, founded on a highly selective admission policy, is generally comprised of 10-12 undergraduate and 3-4 graduate students. All students study with faculty and have many opportunities to work with numerous guest percussion artists brought to campus each year.  Percussion lesson curricula are individually designed for each student, creating a personalized education that emphasizes broad skills while allowing each student the creative room to pursue areas of personal interest.

Great care is given to maintaining a balanced and selective studio affording each student extensive and diverse performance opportunities.  All of the undergraduate and masters students perform in one of the large ensembles (orchestras and/or bands) and also have opportunities to perform in the jazz program, the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble and other curricular and non-curricular chamber ensembles.

Percussion Ensembles
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has multiple active percussion chamber ensembles that rehearse and perform regularly. The Western Percussion Ensemble is a chamber group dedicated to the performance of significant and interesting works for the Western percussion ensemble. Repertoire from diverse trends in 20th and 21st century chamber composition is explored with an emphasis on new compositions for percussion. Guest artists regularly perform with the ensemble and guest composers are often featured. The World Percussion Ensemble is dedicated to the performance of significant percussive styles from around the globe. Percussion traditions from various cultures, including Cuba, Brazil, India and the Middle East are explored through performance and cultural research and most of the music studied by the ensemble is done so in the oral tradition. The ensemble works diligently to present the music performed in its traditional folkloric settings.  In 2010 the ensemble won the Percussive Arts Society International World Percussion Ensemble Competition, resulting in a feature performance at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention.

Percussion Facilities
The percussion department has eight dedicated practice rooms housing a large and diverse collection of high quality percussion instruments. The percussion studio is extensively equipped and large enough for chamber music rehearsals. In addition, we have a large secondary studio that serves as storage space for university and student equipment and as a place for percussion students to congregate and relax. Each of the rehearsal halls is equipped with standard band and orchestral percussion instruments.

Guest Artists
The percussion studio regularly hosts various short-term guest artists who offer a variety of concert/recital appearances, masterclasses, workshops and private lessons. Recent short term guest artists have included:

Chamber Groups/Composers: DuoJalal, SÓ Percussion,Quey Duo, Nexus Percussion, Third Coast Percussion, Iktus Percussion, Pendulum Percussion, Dave Hollinden, Serra Hwang, Michael Daugherty.

Soloists/Orchestral/Drum Set: Evelyn Glennie, Bob Becker, Chris Froh, Payton MacDonald, Roger Braun, Steve Schick, Bob Becker, Paul Wertico, Jeff Stitely, Carl Allen, Dane Richeson, Marko Machenko, Bob Breithaupt, John Jutsum, Julie Spencer, Linda Maxey, Takiyoshi Yoshioka, David Hall, Ted Piltzecker, Tony Miceli, Joseph Gramley, Jonathan Farralli, Tom Stubbs, Michael Udow, Vadim Karpinos.

Global Percussion: Yousif Sheronick, Michael Spiro, Mark Lamson Jorge Alabe, Scott Kettner, Nininho, Dende, Abdulhamid Alwan, Ensemble Duniya, Jack Forbes.

Occasionally, in cooperation with other campus programs, the percussion department hosts long term residencies by master percussionists from the United States and abroad. Juan de Marcos Gonzáles (Havana, Cuba & New York City), Roberto Vizcaino Guillot (Cuba) and John Santos (San Francisco) have held long term residencies teaching the world percussion ensemble as well as various lessons and coachings in Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean musical styles.