Graduate Percussion

Graduate Percussion

Percussion at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts focuses on discovering your unique voice as an artist. The program helps you refine your musical and professional skills, giving you broad experience that will make you a marketable musician ready to embrace any opportunity.

As part of the conservatory experience, you will have weekly private lessons with your teacher to develop a personalized plan of study to meet your professional goals. You will become proficient in all four areas of instrument study: snare drum, keyboard instruments, timpani and drum set. Instruments available in the percussionist studio include those for concert and classic orchestral pieces, Latin/Afro Cuban style performances, contemporary music and commercial percussion. 

Your performance opportunities in the School of Music are many. Ensemble participation and instruments are assigned by the instructor, with emphasis on your areas of strength and interest. You will be experienced in each style and instrument, while having the opportunity to become fluent in the instrument you are passionate about. As a student, you will also participate in the annual Days of Percussion festival hosted by the Percussive Arts Society, and can compete in concerto competitions.

Master of Music

The graduate percussion degree program in the percussionist studio will help you refine your skills as a musician while preparing you for a career in the professional world. As a graduate percussion student, you will participate in all departmental juries and perform two recitals, one in Year One and a second in Year Two. In addition to private lessons and master classes, you will also take Career Strategies courses that strengthen skills needed in the professional world, like those for auditions, entrepreneurship, recording and portfolio preparation.

The program is designed to help you focus on the performance of specific styles of music and refine your skills for auditions and interviews. You will have regular opportunities to perform in ensembles on campus and beyond the school, and may be assigned coaching, conducting and special performance duties.

Professional Artist Certificate

If you already have a graduate degree, you may also choose to pursue a Professional Artist Certificate. This post-master’s program is designed to advance your career potential as a young professional percussionist. If you are interested in independent studies offered through this program, you are encouraged to propose a one-year course of study that is tailored to your interests and experience.


Graduates of the percussion program at UNCSA include musicians in bands in four branches of the military, two musicologists, several active Jazz musicians and members of regional orchestras.

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