Anyone study the drums formally at a school?

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Are there any particular abilities that have to be demonstrated to satisfy completion of a course offered by a drum or music school?

I'm curious if there is a standard skill set required to be reached to graduate and what that might be.
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Well-known member
in order to get into the school, I had to pass auditions on mallets, snare drum, tympani and drum set.

I had to know all 40 PAS rudiments from memory, and be able to play them slow>fast>slow; and play part of an orchestral snare piece (I did #14 from the Cirone "Portraits in Rhythm" book
I had to know all 12 major and minor scales on marimba, and their arpeggios; and did the Musser Etude Op.6 #10
I had to show tuning skills on tympani; and did part of one of the solo's from Elliot Carter's 8 Pieces for 4 Tympani 9I can't remember which one...might have been Canaries)
I was able to choose a drum set piece to play to, so I did Take 5 by Brubeck
and we had to sight read on snare and marimba

once in:
all of us probably had to do a senior recital of some sort...and that usually consists of pieces that exhibit your abilities at their best; at my school we had to not only do one large recital a year, but we had to prepare one piece to play in front of the rest of the school every 2 weeks; these were part of our private lesson grade...and you were required to be there to watch on the weeks you didn't play

at my school, there was not a definitive "bar" that all had to pass; it was more like your application of all of the techniques at the top of your current ability level...we all had different specialties. I was known as the "drum set/marching guru"; my friend BJ was a mallet virtuoso, and Keith was the hand drum we excelled in those areas, and had to develop the other areas.

personally, in my studio, we were all drum corps fanatics, so we had personal standards that fell in and along that world...speed; technique; 4 mallet proficiency on mallets; perfect tuning on the fly on tymps; playing things perfect and clean....these are also all required of the concert side too, minus some of the speed stuff...I think we had personal standards and challenges that were more demanding than our professor honestly

my professor also required me to audition for our local symphony (The Columbus Symphony) - which was terrifying - but that was just me and my friend BJ. I am soooo glad he had us do that. He was/is a member, so that is why. The other guys in the studio were not versed enough in the orchestral side of things to do the audition.

part of our music school requirements were to participate in a certain amount of ensembles each quarter/semester...I had to do percussion ensemble; wind ensemble; marching band; opera pit orchestra jazz band and musical pit orchestra every year

and you had to get no less than an A- in your private lesson classes in order to continue on to the next year

and none of this includes all of the stuff I had to do for the education part of the Music Ed degree

these were some of the BEST years of my life!!! Sooooo many great times, and all we did - for 6 straight years - was PLAY!! We lived in the studio, bband room and practice literally stayed over night sleeping in them during the 2 weeks before juries...order a pizza; chop out; challenge each other; play for each other; critique each other; just jam and screw around; do theory homework together; watchh and critique DCI videos and shows...soooo many great memories!!! The other students thought we were nuts...and we were
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Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Harry Miree talked about this very thing:


Platinum Member
Studied experimental percussion at UCSD with Jean Charles Francois of San Diego symphony.
Also Jack van Geem at Cal State Hayward of the San Francisco symphony.


Well-known member
Formal education I studied mostly girls, but also spent a considerable amount of time studying music three out of five classes every day during high school although not sure if it was formal or informal. The marching corps was pretty strict, just because you had to be in order to be the best. The orchestra was equally stringent in its execution of the material. The Jazz ensemble however provided a less formal approach to music and the band director was a pretty cool cat who let us get creative with some pretty good fusion stuff.

I discontinued my music education upon graduating high school and subsequently graduated from the school of hard rocks.