College Bound! Modern Drummer Feature Story

(December 2010 Issue)

Planning on attending a music school? In the College Bound! feature in the December 2010 issue of Modern Drummer, you’ll learn many of the steps to take in order to apply and audition with success. Here we present sample audition requirements from several prominent music schools. Get cracking!

University Of The Arts, Philadelphia
Drumset And Percussion

Snare drum: Perform a rudimental study or orchestral solo. (Popular choices are pieces by Wilcoxon, Firth, Cirone, and Lepak.)
Drumset: Play swing, Latin grooves (bossa nova, songo, and samba), rock (including slow funk and moderately fast fusion), and a ballad (swing feel with brushes and straight-8th rock feel with sticks). Students may be asked to accompany a piece of recorded music.
Improvisation: Trade two-, four-, or eight-bar solos with yourself in one of the above styles.
Sight-reading: Read single-line rhythms, like those in Ted Reed’s Syncopation.

In addition to the above, percussionists may also wish to demonstrate the following skills (not required).
Mallets: Play all major scales and arpeggios (two octaves), and perform a solo or etude from the standard repertoire.
Timpani: Tune drums to perfect 4th and 5th intervals, and perform a solo for two drums from the standard repertoire.
For more, go to:

University Of Southern California, Los Angeles
Concert Percussion

Marimba: Perform a substantial work for marimba using either two or four mallets. (Examples: Bach’s A Minor Violin Concerto or Peters’ “Yellow After the Rain.”) A contrasting second work for keyboard percussion may be included. Knowledge of all major and minor scales and arpeggios is required.
Snare drum: Perform one or two solos or etudes for snare drum in concert style. These solos should include rolls of various lengths, embellishments, and a variety of dynamics. Emphasis should be given to careful musical phrasing and interpretation. (Examples: Peters’ Intermediate or Advanced Snare Drum Studies, Keith Aleo’s Etudes, Cirone’s Portraits In Rhythm, Whaley’s Audition Etudes.) A rudimental-style solo and orchestral excerpts may also be included. A long roll beginning with a diminuendo to pianissimo followed by a crescendo to fortissimo will likely be requested at the audition.
Timpani: Perform a timpani etude or solo for two to four drums that demonstrates tone production and a musical sense of the drums. This selection need not include tune changes. (Examples: any etudes by Mitchell Peters, Raynor Carroll, Richard Hochrainer, Gar Whaley, or Alexander Lepak.) Applicants will also be asked to vocally match pitches from the piano and the timpani, sing intervals up and down, and tune these intervals on the drums.
Sight-reading: Applicants will be asked to sight-read on each instrument, and a portion of the reading will be conducted by a university professor. The reading on snare drum will include mixed meters and basic polyrhythms.

Jazz Drumset
Prescreening: Fall applicants to programs in jazz studies and jazz voice must submit an audition recording (in DVD format) to be prescreened by the faculty. The results of this prescreen will determine whether or not an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition on the USC campus in Los Angeles.
The audition recording must include three to five selections of contrasting styles from the standard jazz repertoire. All selections must be on the applicant’s primary instrument or voice. Instrumentalists must include “Au Privave” and “All The Things You Are” as two of the selections on their audition recording.
Drummers must play the melody, the form, and a solo for each selection on the recording. Drummers should also include several bars of a rhythm pattern in each of the following styles: swing, bebop, Latin, funk, and rock. Drummers should also demonstrate the use of brushes on one or more of the selections included on the recording.

University Of North Texas, Denton
Undergraduate Jazz Studies Degree
1. Perform styles (swing, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and funk over blues and AABA forms) and sight-read a big band chart on drumset.
2. Perform a snare drum solo/etude and sight-read an etude.
3. Perform a marimba or vibraphone solo (can be a jazz or classical selection), sight-read, and demonstrate scales. An additional DVD of a performance with a jazz combo or big band is suggested.