Timpani and Percussion

The Curtis timpani and percussion department integrates new students into the full musical life of the school from the moment they arrive.

Curtis aims to educate and train musicians for 21st-century careers as performers on the highest professional level, through a unique “learn by doing” approach. Students can expect to perform often on the Student Recital Series and in other school-sponsored recitals from the beginning of their Curtis careers.


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How to Apply


Applicants who are admitted enter either the Bachelor of Music or Master of Music programs, or the diploma programs. Those who already hold bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees or other certificates or diplomas are welcome to apply.

Audition Requirements

(updated 9/24/21)

Live Audition

Applicants should demonstrate a knowledge of the fundamental techniques of percussion and timpani. They will be examined on timpani pitch recognition and technical skills such as rolls (final round only). They should be prepared to perform:

  • One study on timpani
  • One two-mallet work on marimba or xylophone
  • One four-mallet work on marimba or vibraphone
  • Two studies on snare drum—one classical and one rudimental

For applicants who are presently 18 years old or younger and completing high school, one orchestral excerpt on snare drum, xylophone, and timpani is optional.

Applicants will also be expected to demonstrate their ability to sight read. Applicants must possess a good ear and be able to sing and recognize all intervals (final round only).

In addition to the above repertoire, any student applying in the following categories of post-secondary study must add orchestral excerpts as noted here:

  • If you are transferring from a present level of undergraduate study, prepare 2 excerpts on snare drum, 2 excerpts on mallets, 2 excerpts on timpani
  • If you have already completed a bachelor’s degree, prepare 3 excerpts on snare drum, 3 excerpts on xylophone, 1 excerpt on glockenspiel, 3 excerpts on timpani
  • If you have already completed a master’s degree, prepare 4 excerpts on snare drum, 4 excerpts on xylophone, 2 excerpts on glockenspiel, 4 excerpts on timpani

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