Audition requirements

Note: Professor Witten will be glad to meet with all prospective applicants to evaluate their audition preparation and give suggestions to insure that each candidate has time to fix and/or improve their upcoming auditions, insuring a better outcome.  Please try to schedule these previews at least 2-3 weeks before your scheduled audition date to make sure you have enough time to implement the changes or recommendations you might receive.  For an audition preview, contact Professor Dean Witten by telephone 856-256-4500 ext.3546 or by email at

Percussion students have the choice of majoring in music performance, music education, and jazz music education. All students interested in those majors will be asked to demonstrate the rudiments, scales and technical exercises listed here, as well as prepared solos on snare drum, mallets and timpani.

If you have not yet selected your solo pieces, you may choose from the solos listed below. Select the piece which best reflects your level of ability on each of the percussion instruments. Of course, you may choose pieces not on these lists but which are of a similar difficulty level both technically and musically. This decision should be made in consultation with your private teacher or band director.

All auditionees are required to provide their own copies of the audition music, as well as the appropriate sticks/mallets for each instrument.

Snare Drum

Demonstrate the following rudiments from slow to fast to slow:

double stroke roll, 5-stroke roll, 7-stroke roll, 9-stroke roll, 13-stroke roll, 17-stroke roll, flam, flam tap, flamacue, single paradiddle, double paradiddle, flam paradiddle, ruffs, single ratamacue, double ratamacue, triple ratamacue, closed roll with crescendo soft to loud to soft again .

Choose a solo piece for snare drum like the ones listed below:

NJ All-State audition pieces for snare drum.

Cirone, Portraits in Rhythm.

Wilcoxon, Rudimental Swing Solos

Delecluse, Twelve Studies for the Snare Drum.

Mallet Instruments

Demonstrate all major scales 2 octaves.

Demonstrate all harmonic minor scales 2 octaves.

Demonstrate all major/minor arpeggios 2 octaves

Choose a piece for marimba like the ones listed below:

**NJ All-State audition pieces for marimba.

**Peters, Yellow After The Rain.  grade 4+

**Musser, Etude in C Major.  grade 5+

**O’Meara, Restless.  grade 4+

J.S. Bach, any single movement from Cello Suites or Sonatas/Partitas for Violin.

**note. These pieces are written for marimba. If you wish to perform on vibraphone or xylophone, please choose a piece of comparable difficulty at grade 4+ or higher.


Demonstrate the following:

1. Tune the following intervals: perfect 4th, perfect 5th.

2. Roll legato from one drum to the other back and forth across the 4 timpani.

Choose a solo pieces for timpani like the ones listed below:

NJ All-State audition pieces for timpani.

Firth, The Solo Timpanist. grade 4-5

Mancini, Suite #2 for Timpani. grade 4

Beck, 10 Intermediate Timpani Solos. grade 3-4

All music listed, as well as sticks and mallets can be purchased from Steve Weiss Music 2324 Wyandotte Rd. Willow Grove, PA 19090  tel. 215-659-0100 or order online at

Jazz Drums

Applicants to the jazz drum performance major will audition on drumset only and must demonstrate:

1. Rock/funk feel 12 bars

2. Jazz/swing feel  12 bars medium tempo, 12 bars uptempo

3. Latin feel (bossa nova, samba and free choice) 12 bars

4. Jazz waltz medium tempo 12 bars with brushes

5. Trade 4’s in rock, swing, and Latin feels.

6. Satin Doll. Play jazz time while singing aloud one chorus of Satin Doll. Then solo one full chorus while keeping the form and melody recognizable throughout.

NOTE: Applicants to the Jazz Music Education program must demonstrate the  same requirements listed above for the music education major.


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