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Graduate Percussion Auditions

PercussionDates for graduate auditions can be found on the UT School of Music Auditions page. Click here for more information.

Required Repertoire for Auditions

MM candidates should prepare an audition of 20-35 minutes in length. Each candidate is required to perform on a minimum of four instrumental areas.

Required Areas:

Solo Keyboard
Performance(s) of significant solo repertoire on the marimba and/or vibraphone, which must include at least one 4-mallet selection. Works might include, but are not restricted tom those composed by J.S. Bach, Roger Reynolds, Steven Mackey, Paul Lansky, Jacob Druckman, Franco Donatoni, Philippe Manoury, or equivalent.

Sight Reading on 2-mallet marimba.

Snare Drum
A solo or etude by Jacques Delecluse, Joseph Tompkins, or equivalent.

Sight Reading in concert style.

Choice Areas (minimum 2)

A solo or etude to demonstrate musical tone by Delecluse, Hochrainer, Carter, or equivalent.

Sight Reading on 4 drums.

Ability to tune multiple drums from one given pitch.

Solo Percussion
Performance(s) of significant solo repertoire. Works might include, but are not restricted to, those composed by Iannis Xenakis, Frederic Rzewski, Vinko Globokar, Georges Aperghis, John Cage, Brian Ferneyhough, Michael Gordon, David Lang, or equivalent.

Various Orchestral Excerpts
A variety of orchestral / band excerpts on keyboard (glockenspiel and/or xylophone), snare drum, timpani, and accessory instruments. Minimum 7 excerpts displaying as much variety as possible.

World Percussion
A prepared solo or improvisation on frame drums, congas, tabla, or other non-Western instrument.

A prepared solo or improvisation in a variety of styles.


  • An accompanist is neither required nor provided; candidates may bring an accompanist at their own discretion but should notify Dr. Bliss ahead of time.
  • Candidates should choose repertoire in each area that best highlights their performance abilities and artistic interests.
  • Students choosing to audition in the solo percussion or world percussion areas should communicate ahead of time via email to ensure that the appropriate instruments are available. All students are welcome to bring small personal instruments such as snare drums, tambourines, or specific items needed for solo percussion or world percussion repertoire.
  • Repertoire requiring electronics of any kind is welcome, but should also be discussed/cleared with Dr. Bliss prior to auditioning.

Interview & Other Requirements

Following the performance audition, candidates will also take part in an interview with the percussion faculty and should be prepared to formally discuss the repertoire chosen on the recital program and their goals for pursuing a MM degree.

All candidates who take the live audition are required to provide a DVD recording of a recent formal recital, a curriculum vita, and a repertoire list including solo, chamber, and large ensemble repertoire performed, at their audition. This will also be a time for students to ask questions of the faculty about the program. Candidates who are interested in being considered for an assistantship may also be asked to teach a private lesson and are encouraged to include teaching footage on their DVD.

Teaching Assistantships

The UT percussion area offers two teaching assistantships, depending on availability, from year to year:

Studio Assistantship
This position is a full-time position and offers candidates a formal opportunity to teach applied music majors, coach the UT Percussion Ensemble, and assist with Class Percussion Methods. The candidate selected for this position will also meet weekly with Dr. Bliss and will be responsible for assisting with a variety of UT Percussive Studies area administrative duties.

Band Assistantship
This position is a full-time position and offers candidates a formal opportunity to work heavily with the UT Bands program, specifically instructing and arranging for the “Pride of the Southland” drumline, coordinating the concert ensemble percussion equipment, and assisting with wind band percussion sectionals. This person will meet weekly with Dr. Bliss, but will report directly to Dr. Gary Sousa, Director of Bands at the University of Tennessee.


All application information for the School of Music and for the UT Graduate School can be found at:

*** Please note the deadline for application is December 15th. ***

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