Winds, Brass, and Percussion

Winds, Brass, and Percussion Curriculum

Program Requirements

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Students should take music theory and aural skills courses each semester until all requirements are met for their program of study. Part or all of these requirements may be waived by placement examinations. Students must also successfully complete a writing assessment by the end of the second year of study.

Conservatory students are expected to develop as writers as they progress through the first years of the conservatory curriculum, in particular their musicology and music theory coursework. Oberlin offers many resources to help students successfully complete the writing requirement.

Woodwinds and Brass

Performance and curricular offerings include:

  • reed-making classes
  • orchestral repertoire classes for brass and woodwinds
  • marimba and timpani mallet construction
  • chamber music classes for small ensembles
  • emphasis on solo and ensemble performance


Building upon a foundation in music theory and aural skills, our percussion studies program provides individualized, exacting instruction that emphasizes the development of technique and musicianship through the study of both contemporary solo literature and orchestral music. Percussionists can expect to learn and perform from a broad repertorie—from early music symphonists to contemporary composers.

We emphasize a balance between practice and performing. Students participate in small and large ensembles, as well as perform a junior and senior recital in one of Oberlin’s performance spaces.