Percussion

Percussion students perform on cymbals and drum with the wind ensemble in Corbett Auditorium

Performance is the primary focus of the percussionist at CCM. Students participate in eight full-time ensembles as well as frequent ad hoc groups. In addition, Greater Cincinnati has a rich cultural tradition that provides a variety of freelance opportunities. 

Each student meets with one member of Percussion Group Cincinnati in weekly applied lessons and interacts with the other two group members through course work, seminars, ensembles and frequent performance and master classes.

We gear applied lessons to meet your individual needs, building a strong musical and technical foundation to prepare you for the specialized fields of the percussive arts. CCM’s program is devoted to meeting the varied demands of today’s percussionists, from traditional orchestral playing to the most innovative contemporary techniques of chamber performance. Many of our graduates have moved on to world-class graduate schools, orchestras and international performance and teaching positions.

Unique to CCM’s program is the teacher-to-student ratio (about one to six), allowing for highly individualized attention, daily interaction and close monitoring of progress. Students have the opportunity to observe Percussion Group Cincinnati performing on a regular basis, and through our concertizing we explore all the latest developments in percussion performance and literature.

Headshot of Russell D. Burge

Russell D. Burge

Professor of Percussion; Chair, Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion Department

513-556-9423

Headshot of James F. Culley

James F. Culley

Professor of Percussion

513-556-9417

CCM's admissions process begins on August 1 (undergraduate) and September 1 (graduate) for entrance in the following year's fall semester. All application materials must be submitted on or before December 1 to be considered for specific scholarship awards. Visit the CCM Admissions website for additional application instructions.

Pre-screening and Audition Requirements

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 1 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements

  • Snare drum: a prepared solo or etude from Peters, Cirone, Firth, or Delecluse methods. Rudimental additional but optional
  • Snare drum orchestral style roll, soft to loud to soft, about 30 seconds in length
  • Mallet instruments (marimba, xylophone, or vibraphone): two prepared solos (2- AND 4-mallets demonstrations, of any length) from the standard mallet literature, or transcriptions); show two scales and arpeggios. 
  • Timpani: a prepared etude (e.g., Goodman, Firth, Hochrainer, Delecluse methods) or solo 
  • Orchestral excerpts in any area optional

Audition

Audition Requirements

  • Snare drum: a prepared solo or etude, preferably non-rudimental
  • Mallet instruments (marimba, xylophone, vibraphone): a prepared solo, scales and arpeggios, and demonstration of 2 and 4-mallet technique
  • Timpani: a prepared etude 
  • Sight reading in each division

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 1 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements

  • Candidates should present appropriate etudes or solos from modern literature for snare drum
  • Snare drum orchestral roll, softest to loudest to softest volume, approximately 30 seconds in length
  • Baroque and contemporary marimba solos demonstrating 2- AND 4-mallet technique 
  • One timpani solo (or appropriate etude)
  • 2-3 Orchestral excerpts in all areas expected
  • DMA candidates should perform more difficult musical materials, with more thorough musical understanding, than MM students
  • AD candidates must demonstrate a higher level of performance accomplishment than MM/DMA students 
  • Video links or added demonstration of multiple percussion solo material, recital materials encouraged for MM; required for AD/MM
  • Chamber music video or demonstration encouraged for MM applicants if available; expected for AD/MM applicants.

Audition

Audition Requirements

  • Candidates should present appropriate etudes or solos from modern literature for snare drum
  • A Baroque and contemporary marimba solo demonstrating 2- and 4-mallet technique
  • One timpani solo
  • Orchestral excerpts
  • Artist diploma candidates must demonstrate a higher level of performance accomplishment than MM/DMA students

The CCM Steelband is an ensemble made up of percussion majors under the direction of Professor Russell Burge. The band focuses on the traditional music of Trinidad but also incorporates pop, folk and reggae, and improvisation has become a key element of the band's repertoire. The Steelband gives one annual program each spring at CCM, as well as several outdoor concerts in the Cincinnati area.

Our percussion facilities include eight recently refurbished practice rooms. They house four sets of timpani (including Ringer and Walter Light drums), six marimbas (including a new 5-octave MARIMBA ONE and a 4 1/2–octave YAMAHA), four vibraphones, three xylophones, three sets of orchestra bells, many snare drums (including Clevelander, Hinger and other specialty drums), steel drums, and an array of other instruments. In addition, the group’s own studio contains an extensive collection of traditional and exotic instruments accumulated over twenty years of national and international touring. We encourage you to use this fine equipment as your recitals and concerts dictate.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra performs weekly in season, and students may also enjoy performances by the Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Percussion Group Cincinnati has maintained a close professional relationship with CSO’s percussion section over the years, and we urge our students to take advantage of that excellent educational resource.


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