All applicants must apply to the University of Colorado and complete a College of Music Admission Application. Applications may be obtained online through the Admissions section. Auditions will not be scheduled until both applications have been received.
For information on applying for our ensembles, visit the Ensembles section.
Students should submit separate and unedited recordings for each requirement. Please see the Recorded Audition Guidelines for more specific information on submitting a recording.
Note: All Auditionees are required to audition on Snare Drum and Mallets, and match pitches by singing. We do not expect you to be an expert on the MANY instruments but you must demonstrate a strong musical background on both snare drum and mallets. However, the more optional instruments you play well, the higher we will rank you. We want to hear what you do well on any percussion instrument. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to email us.
Snare Drum - REQUIRED* It has four components: rudiments, a rudimental solo, a concert etude and the concert roll
- You must play at least 5 rudiments in a slow-fast-slow fashion. Start at a very slow tempo, then accelerate the rudiment to your fastest speed, hold it for five seconds and then decelerate. Each rudiment lasts for 30 seconds. Please play at least one paradiddle-type, one flam-type and one roll-type rudiment. Smoothness and accents are important.
- A Rudimental solo from The All-American Drummer or Modern Rudimental Swing Solos by C.H. Wilcoxon or similar solos by John Pratt, Mitch Markovitch, Edward Freytag, Joseph Tompkins, Jay Wanamaker, Alan Keown, etc.
- A Concert snare drum etude, including multiple-bounce rolls & dynamic control. Choose one from the Jacques Delecluse Etudes pour Caisse Claire or the Anthony Cirone Portraits in Rhythm or the Mitchell Peters snare drum books, etc.
- Demonstrate a concert (multiple bounce) roll--start softly, crescendo to forte, then decrescendo to a soft, smooth roll.
Mallets - REQUIRED* Marimba and/or vibraphone is fine
- Play one octave major scales through four flats or sharps. Knowledge of minor scales and basic chords is encouraged.
- Play marimba or vibraphone solo(s) of at least three minutes in length which demonstrate your expressive musicianship.
Ask your teacher for help choosing solos. Consider works by Mitchell Peters, Bill Molenhof, J.S. Bach, Earl Hatch, G. F Handel, G. H. Green, Claude Bolling, Bart Quartier, Noguchi, Dale Anderson or David Friedman. Steve Weiss music in Pennsylvania has these and other good mallet works.
Either two or four mallet pieces are fine--or both! We are looking first for your intelligent musical expression. Accompanied or unaccompanied works are also fine.
Timpani - You must match pitch but the etude is optional
- Demonstrate ability to match pitch (by singing) and tune a drum correctly.
- Play a two-drum etude from the Goodman, Delecluse or Peters timpani methods (or similar material).
You may play a three or four drum etude if you have timpani experience. Please "lift" the tone out of the drums.
Drum Set (Optional)
- Demonstrate knowledge of styles & tempi (swing, samba, bossa-nova, rock, funk, jazz waltz, church, shuffle, etc.).
- In a medium swing style, "trade fours with yourself" (also Optional: A short written-out or transcribed solo.)
Jazz Vibes (Optional)
- Demonstrate knowledge of basic jazz scales and 7th chords
- Improvise on the blues and other jazz tunes you know.
Hand Drums (Optional)
- Demonstrate patterns and fills on drums you know – congas, bongos, pandero, timbales, etc.
Orchestral excerpts (Optional)
- If you have studied excerpts on snare drum, timpani, xylophone, glockenspiel, tambourine, bass drum or cymbals, and can play them well, we would be glad to hear them.
Virtual and Recorded Audition Requirements for 2021 Percussion Applicants
- Pre-screening: Encouraged; due Dec. 1 (repertoire below)
- Recorded audition: Required; due Jan. 15 (repertoire below)
- Virtual audition: Required; offered on Feb. 6 and 13
- Note: You will be contacted with more details about the virtual audition, including scheduling logistics and expectations, at least a month in advance of your date
A pre-screening recording is encouraged for all graduate percussion applicants. Recordings will not be reviewed until the online application and supporting materials have been received. If submitted, this pre-screening recording must be sent electronically before Dec. 1 directly to the Director of Percussion Studies, Dr. Doug Walter, at Douglas.Walter@colorado.edu.
MM Suggested Pre-Screening Repertoire
4-8 minutes of music by J. S. Bach on marimba or vibraphone, with piano or not
1 J. Delécluse or M. Peters étude for snare drum
Either 4 orchestra excerpts (percussion and/or timpani) OR 4-8 minutes of jazz vibraphone and/or drum set OR 4-8 minutes of a multiple percussion work
A cumulative 3.0 GPA in undergraduate work is required for Merit Based Aid consideration for MM Percussion applicants
DMA Suggested Pre-Screening Repertoire
4-8 minutes of music by J. S. Bach on marimba or vibraphone
4-8 minutes of a contemporary work for marimba or vibraphone
1 J. Delécluse or M. Peters étude and a rudimental solo for snare drum
5-10 minutes of jazz vibraphone and/or drum set
Either 6 orchestra excerpts (percussion and timpani) OR a demonstration of Afro-Cuban, Brazilian or African, etc. hand drumming
We do not accept applicants to the DMA percussion program unless they have been out of school for at least two years since completing their bachelor's degree, either before or after the MM. A cumulative 3.4 GPA in all previous college courses is required for Merit Based Aid consideration for DMA percussion applicants.
Students invited to the in-person auditions will be notified of their acceptance to the auditions on or before Jan. 15. Auditions are held in 30-minute time slots, accommodating time for the formal audition, a follow-up interview and a mini-lesson.
Because the audition time is short, you should prepare your selections extremely well, rather than prepare a complete recital program. Memorization is encouraged, but auditions include sight-reading.
We want to see how musically and confidently you can play. The live auditions do not have specific repertoire requirements. Please play snare drum, mallets (mar. vibes, and/or xylo.) and more. Show us your best performance of music to your taste. You may play drum set, jazz improv., orchestral excerpts, multi-perc. set-ups, timpani, hand drums, and jazz or classical transcriptions, etc.
Live auditions are strongly preferred. A high quality DVD recording may be substituted if travel distance/cost is prohibitive. Please announce at the beginning of the recording your name and repertoire selections. Please see the Recorded Audition Guidelines for information on submitting a recording.
A live audition is required to qualify for Merit Based Aid.
Requirements for a recorded audition are identical to a live audition. Editing within a movement is prohibited. Any indication of editing may disqualify the candidate from admission. The recording must be in a digital format with high quality audio. Please note that while recorded auditions will be given full consideration, the best demonstration of your musical ability is through a live audition.