Studios  Trumpet   Trombone   Horn   Tuba + euphonium   Percussion

Percussion students performing in Grusin Music Hall


Welcome to the percussion studio at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music!

Percussion students receive a weekly private lesson and attend a weekly studio class in which they are coached in solo, chamber, orchestral and jazz repertoire. Additionally, visiting artists often present master classes for percussion students during performance classes; past guest artists include Mark Damaloukis and Paul Yancich of The Cleveland Orchestra, French vibraphonist/composer Franck Tortiller and Kevin Bobo.

Percussion students participate in large ensembles such as our symphony orchestra, wind symphony, opera, symphonic and concert bands. Students studying jazz drums and vibes also have the opportunity to participate in our Jazz Ensemble (big band) and combos. The CU Boulder Percussion Ensemble consisists of three sections: Percussion Ensemble, Latin Jazz Percussion Ensemble and Brazilian Bateria Ensemble.

Oustanding students often are awarded financial aid in the form of scholarships, graduate assistantships and fellowships. These awards are based on musical proficiency, academic achievement and potential for success in the various degrees. Many brass and percussion students earn additional income through engagements with professional ensembles in the Denver/Boulder metro area, and a number of our students have been finalists and winners of the College of Music’s Honors Competition and Ekstrand Competition. 


We’re proud of our percussion alumni, including those who have gone on to teach—and to continue to perform—at Auburn University, Carnegie Mellon University, Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil, Idaho State University, Indiana University, The Hartt School, Temple University, Texas State University, Texas Tech University, University of North Texas, University of Wisconsin—Superior, University of Wyoming and West Chester University, among other institutions. Other alumni have proceeded to direct, teach, perform or otherwise engage with entities such as the Air Force Academy Band’s Falconaires, Central City Opera, Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Harp Project, Percussive Arts Society, Royal Hawaiian Band and more—even including Broadway shows (i.e., one of our alumni performs drums and percussion with the national touring company of “Mama Mia”). Additionally, more than 50 BMus and BMusEd alumni freelance in many styles, write for and work with WGI and DCI groups, and teach percussion, band, orchestra and choir in public schools in Colorado, Texas and Illinois as well as the Boulder Samba School and Denver School of the Arts. Of note, a couple of our alumni became marimba builders and another, Matt Kazmierski, founded Planet Marimba. Check out our alumni class notes for more alumni accomplishments and follow our ongoing alumni highlights on Instagram.

doug walterDouglas Walter

Professor of Percussion and Jazz Douglas Walter is the only marimba/vibraphone artist to win first prize in the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York City. His debut recital in Carnegie Recital Hall received a positive review in The New York Times. Walter has performed over 350 solo recitals and concerti in 40 states, Canada, Brazil and eight countries in Europe, in addition to conventions of the Percussive Arts Society, International Association of Jazz Educators and MENC. An accomplished orchestral musician, Walter has performed with the Boulder Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, Colorado Music Festival and Colorado Ballet orchestras. He is principal timpanist with the Boulder Philharmonic and Sunriver Music Festival orchestras, and he toured in the United States for 26 years with the Westminster Brass. Walter holds a dual BM from North Texas State University, summa cum laude, two master’s degrees (orchestral conducting and percussion) from the University of Michigan and a DMA from Temple University where he studied with Alan Abel and David Samuels. His BA in French Literature from CU Boulder is also designated summa cum laude. MORE

carl dixonCarl Dixon

Versatile percussionist Carl Dixon is at home with music spanning multiple genres, continents and instruments. He can be found performing in concert halls, jazz clubs, dance parties, festival stages and street parades. At the College of Music, Dixon teaches percussion lessons to undergraduate and graduate students, and directs the Latin Jazz percussion ensemble and the Brazilian Bateria percussion ensemble. Dixon plays with the Brazilian music band Ginga and is principal percussionist of the Fort Collins Symphony and the Cheyenne Symphony, and percussionist with Opera Colorado; he has performed with the Colorado Symphony, Colorado Ballet, Central City Opera, Boulder Philharmonic, Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Greeley Philharmonic. Additionally, Dixon is the musical director of the Boulder Samba School and Bateria Alegria, a 20-30 member Brazilian drumming ensemble. MORE

mike tetreaultMichael Tetreault

Teaching Assistant Professor Michael Tetreault earned a BM from the Eastman School of Music in New York and a MMus degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London, United Kingdom. Tetreault is currently principal timpanist of the Central City Opera and Fort Collins Symphony, principal percussionist of the Boulder Philharmonic and assistant principal percussion of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. Tetreault has performed domestically and abroad with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Toronto Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Central City Opera, Utah Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra (Dublin), Ulster Orchestra (Belfast), the Halle Orchestra (Manchester) and many others. MORE