The UA Percussion Studio is one of the most active and forward-thinking studios in the country. There’s always something exciting happening.
News & Announcements
Dr. Morris Palter gave a solo peformance at PASIC 2016, and a presentation at TEDxTucson 2017 which involved members of the UA percussion studio. He was a part of four faculty concert colaborations including a full scale production of Stravinsky's "Les Noces" for...read more
Congratulations to TREVOR BARROERO, sophomore, who was the recent winner of two concerto competitions. Trevor won the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and the University of Arizona Preseident's Concerto Competition. Trevor was the soloist with both...read more
CROSSTALK was awarded a grant from the James P. and Shirley J. O'Brien Foundation to sponsor a composition competition to create a work for CrossTalk and UASteel, the school's top steel band. Deadline for this competiton was January 15, 2014. The winning composition...read more
Faculty & GTAs
Ensembles & Calendar
- August 8 – Pride of Arizona DRUMLINE Begins
- August 19 – Jazz Bands Audition
- August 20 – Large Ensemble Auditions
- August 30 – 7:00 Holsclaw – LIZ SOFLIN DMA RECITAL
- September 17 – 7:30 Crowder – UA SYMPHONY
- September 23 – 7:30 Crowder – RICK PUZZO DMA SOLO RECITAL
- October 5 – 7:30 Crowder – STUDIO JAZZ CONCERT
- October 7 – 7:30 Crowder – UA SYMPHONY CONCERT
- October 20 – 7:30 Crowder – UA WIND ENSEMBLE CONCERT
- October 22 – UA Stadium– BAND DAY
- October 25 – 7:30 Crowder – UA WIND SYMPHONY CONCERT
- November 20 – 7:30 Crowder – PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE CONCERT
- November 26 – 7:30 Crowder – STEEL BANDS CONCERT
- November 30 – 7:30 Crowder – WIND ENSEMBLE/WIND SYMPHONY CONCERT
- December 1 – 7:20 Crowder– ROSEWOOD & MALLEUS CONCERT
- December 4 – 7:30 Crowder – CROSSTALK ELECTRONIC PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE CONCERT
- December 5 – 7:30 Crowder – Michael Pratt DMA Recital
- December 6 – 7:30 Crowder – Sean Rees Senior Bachelor’s Recital
- December 7 – 8:00am-1:00pm – Percussion Juries, Room 170
February 15th – Morris Palter Faculty Recital
Works performed will include Dmaathen (Iannis Xenakis), Etudes Apercues (Betsy Jolas), Toucher (Vinko Globokar), Woven (Greg Harrison – world premiere), and a selection of novelty ragtime xylophone tunes. Guests include Matthew Tropman (tuba), and Eddie Goodman (soprano saxophone).
Crowder Hall, 7:30pm – FREE
March 16th – Laura Marsh Master of Music solo recital
Works from Casey Cangelosi, Askell Masson, Robert Aldridge, and steel pan tunes.
Crowder Hall, 7:30pm – FREE
March 18th – Michael Pratt Doctorate of Musical Arts solo recital
Works from Pius Chung, David Lang, and others.
Crowder Hall, 7:30pm – FREE
April 10th – Malleus Graduate Percussion Ensemble, and the Rosewood Marimba Band
Works from G.H. Green, Russell Hartenberger, and others.
Crowder Hall, 7:30pm – $5/10
April 17th – UA Percussion Ensemble
Works from Henry Cowell, Steve Reich, John Wyre, John Luther Adams, and others
Crowder Hall, 7:30pm – $5/10
- Percussion Ensemble
- UASteel & the UA Steel Bands
- World Music Gang
- Rosewood Marimba Band
The Percussion Group meets from 9-11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in room 170 of the School of Music. The percussion ensemble is open to any percussionist at the UA who wishes to perform on a regular basis. The ensemble provides the student with the opportunity to perform and become familiar with the ever-growing volume of percussion ensemble literature. Composing and conducting opportunities will also be presented and encouraged. The ensemble presents public performances and clinic sessions each semester. Participation in the percussion ensemble is expected as many semesters as possible in order for the student to acquaint him or herself with the vast literature and techniques of the percussion ensemble.
CrossTalk is a select group of students who comprise the only performance group of its kind in the world today. The philosophy of the ensemble is to create and perform new works and offer new musical experiences with electronic percussion technology. In CrossTalk, students gain knowledge and experience working with the newest cutting-edge electronic percussion instruments. Students write, arrange, program, and produce compositions that are performed live. Membership in CrossTalk is open to percussion students who are interested in exploring new technology and by permission of director, Dr. Norman Weinberg.
- Arizona Symphony Orchestra
- Arizona Philharmonic Orchestra
- Wind Ensemble
- Wind Symphony
- Pride of Arizona Marching Band
- Symphonic Band
- Jazz Ensembles
- To rehearse and perform important works of the orchestral and operatic repertoires
- To train and nurture students in developing their large ensemble playing skills
- To place the students’ understanding of the art of music in the context of the sister arts, history and culture.
Inside the Percussion Studio
Percussion Studio Philosophy
Percussion Studies at The University of Arizona are designed to develop in the percussionist the highest possible level of musicianship and an appropriate competency in performance and teaching, depending on the curriculum of study the student pursues. The University of Arizona percussion faculty includes Dr. Norman Weinberg, Professor of Music and Director of Percussion Studies (office 124); Morris Palter, Visiting Professor, Percussion, UA Steel, and Drumset (office/studio 110E) Graduate Teaching Assistants, Drew Morales and Laura Marsh, provide additional instruction and mentoring for students, teach the percussion methods class, coach UA chamber percussion groups, and help direct the percussion ensembles. The percussion curriculum is designed to present a relevant sequence of study of all the percussion instruments throughout each degree program. Musical performance skills, historical and stylistic understanding, and pedagogical concepts of education will be acquired through the following:
- The mastery of a technical facility and understanding of concepts of phrasing that will enable the student to perform with sensitivity and musical expression on percussion instruments.
- The cultivation of an understanding of the interrelations of mental and physical (psycho-physiological) aspects involved in the learning of musical skills and the performance of music.
- Performance of a cross-section of the very best literature in all styles and areas of percussion.
- The development of the ability to read at sight.
- Experience in solo and ensemble performance.
- Regular attendance and participation in weekly percussion master classes and recitals.
- The cultivation of an understanding of teaching procedure and practice, pedagogical systems, and rehearsal and conducting techniques. Observation of the working procedure in the private studio, master classes, and ensemble rehearsals is relevant to these goals.
The student’s scholarly and applied preparation and performance of materials while enrolled in percussion studies should:
- Reflect his or her progressive understanding and mastery of tone production and technical development on the respective percussion instruments. This should include concepts of rhythmic understanding, dynamic observance and control, technical velocity, pitch accuracy, and articulation and phrasing with touch and finesse.
- Continually demonstrate an awareness of the mental aspects involved in achieving high quality musical expression in performance and teaching.
- Show a clear understanding of the selected music with regards to musical style and form, including the ability to verbalize about the historical relevance and placement of the piece, the tonal framework and/or compositional techniques employed. Performance should be stylistically correct with regard to the rhythmic, articulation and phrasing concepts of the period and style.
- Be musically meaningful considering the student’s instinctive talents and level of achievement.
The Fred Fox School of Music offers a complete range of degree options for the percussionist, including (but not limited to):
- Bachelor of Music
- Percussion Emphasis
- Jazz Studies Emphasis
- Music Education
- Bachelor of Arts in Music
- Master of Music in Performance
- Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Music Education
- Music Theory
Visit music.arizona.edu for more information and degree plan options.
Audition Information for New Students
Requirements for Undergraduate Admission into Percussion Studies and Scholarship Consideration: A personal audition with the percussion faculty or an audio/video recording is required to determine the student’s ability and acceptance into the studio. A student should be able to demonstrate proficiency in at least two of the following four main areas of percussion performance for entrance into the Percussion Studio and in at least three of the areas to be considered for scholarship. Scholarships in the Percussion Studio are based on ability and future potential.
- SNARE DRUM
- Concert-style: A published concert-style solo or etude from Anthony Cirone’s Portraits in Rhythm, Jacques Delecluse’s Twelve Etudes for Snare Drum (Douze Etudes pour Caisse-Claire), Vic Firth’s The Solo Snare Drummer, or equivalent. Select material that best represents your musical and technical development such as control of rhythm, dynamics, expression, rolls, ornaments, and touch.
- Rudimental-style: A published rudimental-style solo or etude from Charles Wilcoxon’s The All American Drummer, John Pratt’s Fourteen Rudimental Contest Solos, Edward Freytag’s Rudimental Cookbook, Scott Johnson’s Progression, or equivalent. Select material that best represents your musical and technical development such as control of a wide variety and style of rudiments and rolls, control of dynamics, physical dexterity, expression, accuracy of rhythm, and touch.
- KEYBOARD PERCUSSION (Marimba, Vibraphone, Xylophone)
- Two Mallets: A published two-mallet solo or etude from Morris Goldenberg’s Modern School for Xylophone, Marimba and Vibraphone, Garwood Waley’s Recital Pieces for Mallets, Thomas McMillan’s Fundamental Studies for Mallets or equivalent. Select material that best represents your musical and technical development such as control of rhythm, dynamics, expression, rolls, tone quality, and touch.
- Four Mallets: A published four-mallet solo or etude from James Moyer’s Four-Mallet Method for Marimba, Bart Quartier’s Image, Nancy Zeltsman’s Four Mallet Marimba Playing, Mark Ford’s Marimba:Technique Through Music, or equivalent. Select material that best represents your musical and technical development such as control of rhythm, dynamics, expression, rolls, tone quality, and touch.
- A published solo or etude from Saul Goodman’s Modern Method for Timpani, Garwood Whaley’s Musical Studies for the Intermediate Timpanist, Mitchell Peters’ Fundamental Method for Timpani, or equivalent. Select material that best represents your musical and technical development such as control of rhythm, dynamics, expression, rolls, tuning skills, tone quality, and touch.
- DRUM SET
- A published solo or a demonstation of musical styles including jazz, rock, and contemporary world-music styles (Afro-Cuban, Braziian, etc.) This demonstration should include the ability to play time, improvising fills and solos, and chart reading.
Requirements for Graduate Admission into Percussion Studies: Graduate students must audition to be accepted into the Percussion Studio. Audition repertoire is left to the discretion of the student, but should demonstrate the student’s musical and technical development. Repertoire may include solo literature, chamber literature, orchestral excerpts, or advanced etudes. Graduate students must perform on snare drum, keyboard percussion, and timpani. If the student has the appropriate skills, performance on drum set, hand drums, ethnic instruments, and percussion accessories is highly encouraged. If you have any questions concerning graduate-level audition repertoire, please contact Dr. Norman Weinberg, Director of Percussion Studies. 520-626-7055 – Office 520-275-5507 – Cell email@example.com
Large Ensemble Audition Repertoire
Auditions are required of all percussionists wishing to enroll in applied lessons. As required by the School of Music, all students enrolled in private lessons must perform in one of the large conducted ensembles. To be clear: Unless you are excused by the Director of the School of Music, you will be playing in a large ensemble if you are enrolled in lessons. This means that you MUST take this audition. If this still isn’t clear to you, please contact Dr. Weinberg.
The audition will help determine personnel best qualified for these ensembles as well as give all auditionees the experience of preparing and taking a professional audition. The audition will consist of only the prepared orchestral excerpts as specified in the audition list and highlighted.
If you are a new student, or have not formally studied excerpts, you will need to prepare yourself as best you can on the excerpts and play the Bach selection. Apply your own good musical sense about rhythm and technique, get a score and study the excerpts for musical context, and listen to several recordings for style, tempo and phrasing. Do your best for your ability and experience.
Auditions will be held Saturday, August 22nd starting at 9:00 a.m. in room 170 with the percussion faculty. Auditions will be screened. All instruments will be provided at the audition site. Players may bring their own instruments if preferred but must be set up before their playing time. (Room 170 is reserved for percussionists starting at 8:00 a.m. on August 22.) Persons auditioning found to be less than prepared will be dismissed from the audition.
Find some good recordings (i.e., major orchestras, well known conductors, great percussionists), listen to as many recordings of the same excerpt as possible for the phrasing, tempo, style, texture (blend or soloistic), musical context, etc. Make study files/CDs and play alongs and practice with them. Online music sites such as Spotify and even YouTube can be great sources of recordings.
Get a score for the excerpt and study the musical context of the part in relation to the full ensemble (i.e., nature of the passage, phrasing, balance – is the part solo or accompaniment, how can you best enhance the music?)
Master the “mechanics” of the ink – rhythm, notes, dynamics, technical issues, etc. with a metronome. Decide on stickings or specialized performing techniques for the best phrasing and accuracy. Then “go beyond the ink” and make music with a beautiful sound and musical phrasing played with finesse and a refined touch.
Consider instrument selection, tuning (heads/snares), sticks, etc. (Summer is a good time to buy tambourines and triangles…!)
Practice Room - 110
Room 110 is the largest room in the percussion area. It is used for storage of larger keyboard percussion instruments as well as for small ensemble rehearsals and large multiple-percussion setups.
Practice Room - 110A
Room 110A is the main teaching studio. It contains a set of four Yamaha Timpani, a Marimba One 5 octave marimba with upgraded bars and Basso Bravo resonators, and three snare drums. In addition, 110-A houses a digital video camera, a digital audio recorder, a stereo system, a DVD system, and hundreds of videos of student performances. 110-A also features a Apple computer with M-Audio keyboard and a variety of software for notation and sequencing.
Practice Room - 110B
Room 110B is primarily a multiple-percussion practice room. It contains a number of different instruments includings drums, cymbals, blocks, and various keyboards. In this room, students can set up a multiple-percussion piece and have the instruments available on a regular basis. Students often use this room to practice percussion excerpts for snare drum, xylophone, orchestra bells, and hand percussion.
Practice Room - 110C
Room 110C is where our second 5.0 Octave Marimba One lives. This is a beautiful instrument and features Marimba One's newest height adjustment technology.
Practice Room - 110D
110D is where our 5.0 Octave Mallet Tech marimba lives. This is an older instrument with fantastic bars.
Practice Room - 110E
Room 110E is the drumset teaching studio. It is also used by students practicing drum set and electronic drum set. It features complete Yamaha acoustic and electronic kit along with a stereo system.
Practice Room - 110F
Room 110F is primarily a timpani practice room. It contains at new set of Adams Hammered Kettle Bowls. It also contains a snare drum for practice and storage for some talking drums and square drums from Ghana.
Practice Room - 110G
Room 110G is the Graduate Teaching Assistants' Office. It contains the UA Mallet Library, the UA Video Library, an audio system and a computer system.
Practice Room - 48
Room 48 is in the lower level of the music building and is used primarily for multiple-percussion practice and electronic drumset practice. It contains a CD player and several method books for student practice.
Practice Room - 50
Room 50 is also located in the lower level and contains a beautiful vintage "baby" Gretch drum set for student practice.
Practice Room - 52
Room 52 is for general percussion practice and contains a 4.3 Octave Musser marimba, snare drum, and a set of Adams Revolution timpani.
Rehearsal Room - 170
Room 170 is the large instrumental rehearsal room. The UA Percussion Ensembles and World Music Gang rehearse here, as does the Wind Ensemble and the UA Symphony Orchestra. The room is available for percussion practice during the evening and on weekends by reservation. It contains both Ringer and Adams Philharmonic timpani, marimbas, xylophones, vibraphones, bass drums, other large percussion instruments, and a large stand case called "Monstro".
Rehearsal Room - 170A
Room 170A is our main percussion storage room off of Room 170. It is dedicated to percussion storage of drums, tam tams and gongs, orchestra bells, crotales, a drum set, and assorted hand percussion.
Rehearsal Room - 170B
Room 170B is a storage room off of Room 170 that is used for storage of our "Cymbal Vault", our Yamaha Maple Custom drum set and a few other unique percussion instruments.
Rehearsal Room - 218
Room 218 is dedicated for CrossTalk rehearsals and individual practice/programming for members of CrossTalk and other students in the percussion studio.