The undergraduate focus of our Percussion Program emphasizes individualized, rigorous instruction and plentiful opportunities to put all you learn into practice. You will build a foundation in music theory and aural skills and develop your technique and musicianship through the study of both contemporary solo and chamber literature, digital and electroacoustic practices, and orchestral repertoire. The Oberlin percussion curriculum ensures that every student is provided with unique opportunities to shape their distinctive paths.
Ensembles for Percussionists
In addition to the Oberlin Percussion Group, which is dedicated to presenting contemporary music written for percussion, students perform with the Oberlin Orchestra and Contemporary Music Ensemble. Other ensembles include Performance & Improvisation (PI) Ensembles, Silent Film Ensemble, Oberlin Improvisation & New Music Collective, Djembe Orchestra, Javanese Gamelan, Sumatran Talempong, Oberlin Baroque Orchestra, Oberlin Jazz Ensemble, and the student-led Oberlin Taiko ensemble.Performance Ensembles
The percussion studio is a modular space for creative projects, lessons, and rehearsals. It’s packed with all manner of mallet instruments and drums, as well as the orchestral battery needed for performance in Oberlin’s ensembles, alongside unique instruments for specific percussion solos and chamber works.
Students have access to this impressive array of professional-quality instruments which include several sets of clutch and balanced-action timpani (Spenke, Clevelander, and Ludwig), five marimbas (Kori, MarimbaOne, and vintage instruments), four vintage xylophones, four vintage glockenspiels, tubular bells, and vintage vibraphones. There is also an extensive collection of vintage and modern snare drums in a variety of depths and styles. You’ll also find our unique library of chromatic and untuned metallic instruments such as gongs, tam tams, crotales, almglocken, cymbals, as well as shelves of piece-specific instruments too numerous to describe! Follow @oberlinpercussion on Instagram for explorations of this historic collection of instruments.
Conservatory faculty maintain active performance schedules while remaining accessible and committed to their students. Individual instruction is paramount to helping students develop their mechanical, technical, stylistic, psychological, and musical skills. And because Oberlin is dedicated to undergraduate education, all applied studio teaching, class room instruction, and ensembles are coached by professors—never by graduate students.
I want to help this studio develop agency: creative agency, technological agency, and administrative agency. Because percussionists have to do that, no matter what the setting. They have to be a complete person.
Upcoming Percussion Events
January 21, 2022
March 8, 2021
August 7, 2020
Percussion students gain performance acumen across a broad variety of genres in ensembles large and small. They perform in venues on and off campus and participate in recording projects on the Oberlin Music label. And, they collaborate with faculty, guest, and student composers in acoustic and electroacoustic works. Oberlin percussion alumni are arts leaders. They perform around the world in orchestras and new music collectives, in recording studios, and they serve on the faculties of music schools across the country. Oberlin double degree percussion alumni have applied their creativity, curiosity, rigor, and distinctive talents to an array of fields including music, finance, the record industry, visual art, arts leadership, and creative producing.