Program Overview


Our Percussion Studies Program provides individualized, rigorous instruction led by Professor Michael Rosen, a full-time faculty member and active performer and clinician. Coursework includes music theory and aural skills with an emphasis on developing technique and musicianship through the study of both contemporary solo literature and orchestral repertoire. Because of our undergraduate focus, Oberlin percussionists are assured of playing opportunities in our many ensembles.

Five percussionists and conductor performing on stage
Oberlin Percussion Group
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

Program Facts

Division Director

Michael Rosen,
Professor of Percussion


Michael Rosen, Director, Division of Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion

Ensembles for Percussionists

Performance is central to the percussion studies curriculum. In addition to the Oberlin Percussion Group, which is dedicated to presenting contemporary music written for percussion, our students perform with most of the large ensembles—Oberlin Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra, and the Contemporary Music Ensemble. Other ensembles include the Symphonic Band, jazz ensembles, the Collegium Musicum, the Javanese Gamelan, and the African Mandinka Ensemble.

Performance Ensembles

Rosen Percussion Studio

Professor Rosen’s percussion studio is a sonic laboratory and hands-on museum of instruments. 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 exotic gongs and drums collected from his travels across Asia.

Professor in studio surrounded by percussion instruments
Prof. Mike Rosen in his studio
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones

Percussion Faculty

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.

“I do more than teach students to play percussion – I give them the courage to own it.”

Michael Rosen, Professor of Percussion

See Profile

Percussion News

Performance Groups

Students have opportunities to perform with faculty-led and student-led performance groups that perform in a variety of venues on and off campus. Many of these groups use student percussionists.

Marimba photo by Tanya Rosen-Jones