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Percussion Auditions

Visiting the School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Prospective students interested in learning more about the School may schedule a visit online. A campus visit is a good way to get a sense of everyday life at Michigan, sit in on a rehearsal or an academic class, and get to know current students and faculty prior to your audition day visit. Please contact Prof. Joseph Gramley or Prof. Jonathan Ovalle in advance of your arrival to make an appointment.

 

    Undergraduate Admissions Info            Graduate Admissions Info           Application FAQs 

 

If you can't visit now, students interested in applying and auditioning should complete the prospective student information form. This will allow us to be in touch and for questions to be answered about the percussion program or auditions. It will also allow us to have better communication with you throughout the application and audition process.

Percussion Audition Dates

 

 

Undergraduate Audition Dates

Graduate MM and SM Audition Dates

Graduate DMA Audition Dates

 

Undergraduate -Bachelor of Music (BM) or Bachelor of Musical Arts (BMA)

 

 

PRE-SCREENING VIDEO REQUIREMENTS - Deadline December 1

For applicants to the BM in Performance, Music Education, and the Bachelor of Musical Arts in Performance

In addition to the Common Application, please create an Artistic Profile for each program to which you're applying through which you will demonstrate your musical artistry. Upload a resumé, a comprehensive repertoire list, and this set of five unedited video recordings.

 

 

 

1. Spoken Introduction - Please introduce yourself, tell us where you are from, and what repertoire you will be performing for your pre-screening video. Next, tell us what degree program you are interested in (music education, performance, etc.), and why you are interested in the percussion program at U-M. (total length between 2 and 3 minutes)

2. Snare Drum Solo or Etude (concert or rudimental - no orchestral excerpts)

3. Two-Mallet Solo or Etude (no orchestral excerpts)

4. Four-Mallet Solo or Etude

5. Timpani Solo or Etude (No solos from Elliot Carter's Eight Pieces for Four Timpani)

Please include video of yourself tuning the timpani prior to you beginning to play

Both musical ability/achievement and academic merit will be evaluated as part of the pre-screening process. A select number of highly-qualified candidates will then be invited to audition in Ann Arbor.

VIDEO PREPARATION GUIDELINES

Please upload 5 separate tracks. It is important to submit high-quality videos free of audio clipping or distortion. Test camera/ mic placement so your playing and most importantly, your sound, is fully and accurately represented. Make sure the video shot/angle is in a position where your hands can be clearly seen. Before you upload your videos, view the playback to make sure both the audio and video are clean and clear.

 

UNDERGRADUATE IN-PERSON AUDITION REQUIREMENTS

If invited to perform a live audition in Ann Arbor, please select and prepare repertoire which best represents your musical abilities in the following areas:

 

 

1. Concert Snare Drum Solo or Etude

(Delecluse, Cirone, Goldenberg, Peters, or equivalent)

2. Rudimental Snare Drum Solo or Etude

(Pratt, Wilcoxon, Tompkins, Markovitch, or equivalent)

3. Two-Mallet Keyboard Solo, Transcription, or Etude

(J.S. Bach - Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, Suite for Solo Cello, Hatch - Furioso and Valse, Abe - Prism,

G.H. Green/Breuer - xylophone rags, Goldenberg Etudes, or equivalent)

4. Four-Mallet Keyboard Solo, Transcription, or Etude

(Smadbeck - Rhythm Song, Abe - Frogs, Dream of the Cherry Blossoms, Michi, Stout - Two Mexican Dances, Sammut - Rotations, Libertango, or equivalent)

5. Timpani Solo or Etude (No solos from Elliot Carter's - 8 pieces for solo timpani)

(Firth, Hochrainer, Peters, Carroll, Delecluse. or equivalent)

Orchestral excerpts may be included in your live audition, but are not required.

Sight-reading and timpani tuning will also be evaluated.

Memorization of repertoire is neither required nor discouraged.

 

ADVICE ON CHOOSING AUDITION REPERTOIRE

When selecting music for an audition, make sure the repertoire you select fully represents your technical facility and your musical abilities as a percussionist. We are looking for students who can demonstrate a clear musical direction, excellent quality and depth of tone, commitment to your interpretation, and a clear command over the given material. If you choose a piece that may be considered an "advanced" level solo/etude, but you do not demonstrate clear control of technique, tone and musical direction as well as on a piece which may be considered "easier" you are risking not fully representing your musical abilities. When selecting your audition repertoire, it is best to discuss appropriate audition repertoire with the individual instructor(s) who know you best and select pieces which will best represent your musical abilities.

 

UNDERGRADUATE RECORDED AUDITIONS

A recorded audition will only be considered in unusual circumstances for which an in-person audition in Ann Arbor is extremely difficult or not possible– international travel, for example. If you cannot make the trip to Ann Arbor, please email Professor Gramley (jgramley@umich.edu) and Professor Ovalle (ovalle@umich.edu) for permission to audition with a set of recordings. If your application and pre-screening videos have passed their initial evaluation, the faculty will consider your request.

 

Graduate -Master of Music (MM) or Specialist in Music (SM - post master's)

 

 

 

PRE-SCREENING VIDEO REQUIREMENTS - Deadline December 1

In addition to the application, please create an Artistic Profile through which you will demonstrate your musical artistry. Upload a resume´, a comprehensive repertoire list, and this set of unedited video recordings. Videos may be taken from recital/concert footage or may be shot specifically for the pre-screening.

 

 

Please submit videos representing each of the following areas:

1. SPOKEN INTRODUCTION

 

 

 

Please introduce yourself, tell us where you are from originally, where you are currently studying, and what your current degree program is. Please tell us why you are interested in the percussion program at U-M, what your career goals are (post-masters) and why you think Michigan would be the best institution to serve those goals. (3min max)

2. MALLET KEYBOARDS

 

 

Two mallets:

 

One movement from J.S. Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin or Suites for Solo Cello – no repeats.

Four mallets:

An advanced-level marimba solo of your choice.

(Vinao - Kahn Variations, Schwantner -Velocities, Thomas - Merlin, Lansky - Three Moves,

Tanaka - Two Movements for Marimba, Miyake - Chain, or equivalent)

Excerpts:

a) Xylophone: Gershwin - Porgy and Bess (opening passage)

b) Glockenspiel: Mozart - Magic Flute

3. SNARE DRUM

 

 

Concert Buzz Roll: (pp-ff-pp approx. :45sec)

 

Rudimental:

32 bars of a rudimental snare drum solo/etude of your choice

(Tompkins, Wilcoxon, Pratt, Markovitch, etc. or equivalent)

Concert:

A concert-style snare drum solo/etude of your choice

(Delecluse, Macarez, Cirone, Peters, etc. or equivalent)

Excerpts:

a) Prokofiev: Lt. Kije - Birth of Kije (Rehearsal no.1- no.2)

b) One additional contrasting excerpt of your choice

4. TIMPANI (please include video of you tuning the drums before you play each selection)

 

 

Solo work:

An advanced-level timpani solo/etude of your choice which demonstrates basic stroke/tone production and rolls at various dynamics (Lepak, Hochrainer, Goodman, Rabbio, etc. or equivalent)

Excerpts:

a) Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 – Mvt. I (2 before T to 3 before U)

b) One additional excerpt of your choice

5. CHOOSE ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:

 

Multi-Percussion:

A full-length recording of a solo work of your choice.

(Lang - Anvil Chorus, Unchained Melody, Xenakis - Rebonds A or B, Kitazume - Side by Side, Hollinden - Cold Pressed, Kopetski - Canned Heat, or equivalent.)

Drum Set:

A sample of your time playing/ soloing in at least 3 contrasting styles. This may be done with a play-along recording, a live band, or unaccompanied solo. Examples may include: medium swing, uptempo swing, rock, funk, samba, bossa nova, songo, mambo, 12/8 Afro-Cuban, ballad-brushes, odd-time signatures, etc.

Global Music:

A demonstration of your understanding of basic tones, sense of groove/feel and clear communication of style. May include, but not limited to: Afro-Cuban hand drums and percussion; Samba (all styles); pan-African hand drums and percussion; steel pan; middle-eastern frame drums/percussion; Asian festival drumming; other, etc.

Tonal Improvisation:

Demonstrate your abilities in this area through a solo work or an example with a supporting group. May include, but not limited to: Straight-Ahead Jazz/Bebop, Latin jazz, or jazz-fusion on Vibes/Marimba, Steel Pan, etc.

 

VIDEO PREPARATION GUIDELINES

Please upload separate, labeled tracks. It is important to submit high-quality videos free of audio clipping or distortion. Make sure your playing and most importantly, your sound, is fully and accurately represented. Make sure the video shot/angle is in a position where we can clearly see your hands. Lastly, view the playback of any videos you record to make sure both the audio and video are clean and clear before you upload them.

 
MM/ SPECIALIST IN-PERSON AUDITION REQUIREMENTS

If invited to perform a live audition in Ann Arbor, please select music from the solo, concerto, and orchestral repertoire which best represents your musical abilities in the following areas:

 

1. Concert Snare Drum:

a. Solo or Etude of your choice

b. Orchestral Excerpts

2. Rudimental Snare Drum:

 

 

a. Solo or Etude of your choice

3. Two-Mallet Keyboard:

 

 

a. Solo or Transcription of your choice

b. Orchestral Excerpts (representing both xylophone and glockenspiel)

4. Four-Mallet Keyboard:

 

 

a. Solo or Transcription of your choice

5. Timpani:

a. Solo or Etude of your choice

b. Orchestral Excerpts

 

Applicants are required to demonstrate skills in all of the above areas.

 

Supplemental Recording (DVD)

If you have video of performances in the areas of solo or chamber music multiple percussion playing, drum set, steel-pan, and/or global percussion, WHICH WERE NOT PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED for the pre-screening videos, you are encouraged to bring to your live audition a non-returnable DVD of your playing in these areas.

 

Graduate -Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)**

 

 

 

PRE-SCREENING VIDEO REQUIREMENTS - Deadline December 1

In addition to the application, please create an Artistic Profile through which you will demonstrate your musical artistry. Both musical ability/achievement and academic merit will be evaluated as part of the pre-screening process. A select number of highly-qualified candidates will then be invited to audition in Ann Arbor.

Please submit videos representing the following areas:

1. MALLET KEYBOARDS

 

 

Four-Mallet Marimba:

A major concerto or a solo work for marimba demonstrating advanced four-mallet marimba technique

 

 

Two-Mallet Marimba:

A movement from J.S Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin or Suites for Solo Cello (no repeats)

Vibraphone Solo:

A solo work of your choice

Xylophone Solo:

A solo work from the ragtime era (may be performed with or without accompaniment)

 

 

 

Excerpts (Xylophone):

a) Messaien - Oiseaux Exotiques (6 to 7 and 23 to 24)

b) Gershwin - Porgy and Bess (opening passage)

c) One (1) additional excerpt of your choice.

Excerpts (Glockenspiel):

a) Mozart - Magic Flute

b) Respighi - Pines of Rome

c) Tchaikovsky - Sleeping Beauty

 

2. SNARE DRUM

 

 

Concert Snare Drum Solo/Etude:

A work demonstrating concert orchestral snare drum artistry, including rolls at varying dynamics, orchestral ornaments, rapidly shifting rhythms, etc.

Rudimental Snare Drum Solo/Etude:

32 bars of a rudimental solo of your choice.

Excerpts:

a) Prokofiev - Lieutenant Kije: Birth of Kije

b) Rimsky-Korsakov - Sheherazade (Mvt. 4)

c) One (1) additional excerpt of your choice

3. TIMPANI

 

 

Solo or Etude:

A work which demonstrates tuning changes within the body of the composition as well as the quality of your stroke, tone, and rolls at various dynamics.

Excerpts:

a) Hindemith - Symphonic Metamorphosis

b) Tchaikovsky - Symphony no. 4

c) One (1) additional excerpt of your choice.

 

4. MULTIPLE PERCUSSION

 

 

Solo:

A full-length recording of an advanced-level solo work of your choice

 

5. ADDITIONAL AREAS - PLEASE CHOOSE TWO (2) OF THE FOLLOWING

 

 

 

Drum Set:

A sample of your time playing/ soloing in at least 4 contrasting styles. This may be done with a play-along recording, a live band, or unaccompanied solo. Examples may include: medium swing, uptempo swing, rock, funk, samba, bossa nova, songo, mambo, 12/8 Afro-Cuban, ballad - brushes, odd-time signatures, etc.

Global Music:

A demonstration of your understanding of basic tones, sense of groove/feel and clear communication of style. May include, but not limited to: Afro-Cuban hand drums and percussion; Samba (all styles); pan-African hand drums and percussion; steel pan; middle-eastern frame drums/percussion; Asian festival drumming; other, etc.

Tonal Improvisation:

Demonstrate your abilities in this area through a solo work or an example with a supporting group. May include, but not limited to: Jazz/Bebop, Latin-jazz, jazz fusion on Vibes/Marimba or Steel Pan.

Coaching/Conducting:

A video of you coaching or conducting an ensemble either in rehearsal or performance.

(no marching band/drumline videos, please)

 

IN-PERSON AUDITION REQUIREMENTS

Please select music from the solo, concerto, and orchestral literature which represents your musical abilities in the areas of concert and rudimental snare drum, mallet-keyboard instruments (2 and 4 mallets), timpani and orchestral excerpts. Sight-reading will also be evaluated. Applicants are required to demonstrate skills in all of the above instrumental areas. If you have a performance DVD of a solo or chamber music multiple percussion work, or if you have percussion skills in the areas of drum set, pan, and/or hand drumming, please bring a non-returnable copy of the DVD of your playing in these areas to your audition.

 

 

WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR AUDITION EXPERIENCE AT

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN!

 

 

 

 

 

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower

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