Preparing For the College/University Audition

The Collegiate Educator Program is designed for collegiate percussion educators whose programs are influential in development of future band directors and percussion educators.

If you are thinking about pursuing a career in music, it is never too early to start thinking about furthering your education. Once you have selected a college that you would like to attend, contact that institution for information on the department of music. You should receive information on their degree offerings, tuition, financial aid, music scholarships, and in most cases suggestions on audition material and audition dates.

There are many factors to take into consideration when preparing for an audition. It is best to contact the director of percussion studies for accurate audition procedures. One of the things to concentrate on when selecting audition material is to select pieces that will encompass all areas of percussion. Percussion scholarships in certain institutions are often awarded to individuals who have prepared music on different percussion instruments.

When selecting music for snare drum, select pieces which will highlight both your concert and rudimental proficiencies. Upon selecting music for the mallet/keyboard portion of your audition, try to choose both a two and four-mallet composition. Most universities require a two-mallet selection and major/minor scales and arpeggios as part of the audition. Music scholarships are very competitive, so it is in a student's best interest to prepare a four-mallet work in addition to the two-mallet work to be considered for a scholarship. A timpani solo is also included in the audition process. Select a solo that best fits your experience on that instrument. Acquire a solo or etude that consists of various types of strokes, dynamics, tuning and technical demands. Drumset can sometimes be a part of an audition process but often times is optional. If you have a high degree of expertise on the drumset, then perhaps prepare a solo which best represents your level of proficiency.

It is highly recommended that you study with someone while preparing your audition material. Seeking private instruction not only increases your playing ability but also affords you an opportunity for a better scholarship audition.

Below are a few suggestions for scholarship audition material:


"Sonatas for Timpani" by John Beck
"March" from "Eight Pieces for Timpani" by Elliot Carter
"The Solo Timpanist" by Vic Firth

Snare Solos:
Concert - Etudes from the following books:
"Contemporary Studies" by Fred Albright
"Portraits in Rhythm" by Anthony Cirone
"The Solo Snare Drum" by Vic Firth

Any of the etudes by Clair Omar Musser
"Two Mexican Dances" by Gordon Stout
"Tambourine Chinoise" by Kreisler
"Yellow After the Rain" by Mitchell Peters
"Masterpieces for Marimba" by McMillan