It’s almost that time again: time to hold auditions to sort percussionists into their concert ensemble for next year!
For the last several years I’ve been using Concert Percussion etudes I’ve composed as the audition material (I’ve posted about that before here). This year I’ve given them and overhaul to make them an even better assessment tool.
Here’s what they look like after the update:
First, there are four separate etudes: Snare, Mallets, Timpani, and Auxiliary Percussion.
The following skillsets are evaluated by each etude:
Snare: repeating and alternating full strokes, dynamic contrast, repeating and alternating accent-tap differentiation, buzz rolls, flams, flam taps, flam accents, paradiddles, sixteenth timing patterns, and triplet interpretation.
Mallet: double stops, full stroke technique, arpeggios, major scales, chromatic scales, rolls, double stop rolls, sixteenth timing patterns, triplet interpretation, dynamic contrast, and has an optional four-mallet section. The mallet etude may be played on standard size marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, and (most) glockenspiels.
Timpani: full stroke technique, sixteenth timing, dynamic contrast, roll technique, dampening, accent tap differentiation, movement around the drums, forte-piano crescendo rolls, and tuning. The timpani etude does require four standard size timpani (but I have plans to create a version that requires only two drums).
Percussion: This etude is written so that one player can play all of the following instruments in one pass. It also gives the the chance to practice – and you the chance to evaluate – how they change from one instrument to another in performance.
The following instruments are used:
- Hand Cymbals: crashes, dampening
- Suspended Cymbal: rolls
- Tambourine: general playing and rolls
- Triangle: general playing, muted playing, rolls, dampening
- Bass Drum: general playing and dampening
Some of the BEST features of the etudes include:
- They are SHORT. Just 45 seconds per etude to evaluate ALL of the techniques listed above. Realistically, you can complete each student’s audition in just 5 minutes.
- All the etudes fit together to create a percussion ENSEMBLE etude. Meaning you can conceivably rehearse them in class with kids playing snare, mallets, timpani, and auxiliary percussion AT THE SAME TIME! Then after a rep or two have the kids swap which part they are playing. Repeat as necessary.
- They are FREE! Download them and use them in your program. Enjoy!