We aim to offer the most versatile training with employability being the main focus of our course. Our busy percussion department offers an immensely broad and thorough percussive education.
We have over a dozen highly acclaimed specialist tutors who are all working and well connected in the current music industry throughout the UK and overseas. Our syllabus is carefully designed to cover classical to commercial, contemporary to rock and pop, Cuban to folk, ballet to opera, outreach to solo percussion.
Developing your skills
We give every student a tailor-made timetable to allow them the opportunity to develop an excellent skill set in all fields. At the same time, we also encourage the students to specialise to enhance their employability. To facilitate this, we give every student 35 hours of one to one tuition per year and then allocate those hours across the different disciplines as required.
The Conservatoire rhythm percussion syllabus is a fantastic opportunity to study music from around the globe. The course is unique to each student in design and the most thorough of its kind. Alongside these tailor made courses, the Conservatoire assists with external study trips to Cuba, Brazil, Africa and Ireland. Students are also encouraged to attend external workshops in the UK with some of the country's leading exponents of World music.
This new and exciting syllabus offers tuition on a wide range of music from Havana, Matanzas, Bahia, Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuala, Haiti, the Middle East, India and Ireland. The syllabus covers styles including the cuban essentials - salsa, son, mambo, cha cha cha, timba, rumba, charanga and mozambique. Students can also study the sacred music of Brazil's candomble, Cuba's santeria and Haiti's vodou alongside guarapachangeo, carnival music and the carnatic music of south India. In addition, students can study contemporary adaptations of many folkloric styles as well as how they cross over into pop and folk music.
We are unique in being the first institution to offer a module in Ballet and Opera repertoire. Students on this course have access to specialist tutors from whom they can learn about opera classics (from Puccini to less familiar Berg, Britten and Janáček) and Ballet classics (from Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky to Bernstein and Bliss). In addition, the students will be exposed to the different demands of both pit work and stage work. This course is aimed at senior students who wish to widen their experience and knowledge of this repertoire.
We also host masterclasses, open to all students, and 2014/15 saw over 150 hours of classes from both the department tutors and visiting specialists. These included Neil Percy, Pete Lockett, Sam Walton, Colin Currie, Alexej Gerassimez, Paul Clarvis, Matt Skelton and Zands Duggan. Other classes include regular Practice Pad Workouts, Audition Approach, Rock and Film Timpani, Junk Percussion, Workshop Leading, Moeller Technique, West End Shows, Sight-Reading, Pedagogy, John Williams Film Music and numerous Auxiliary Percussion Methods to name but a few.
For those interested in Contemporary Percussion, we offer an exceptional course with tuition from regular percussionists of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and London Sinfonietta to name but a few. This gives the students the option to specialise in repertoire including the likes of Ades, Andriessen, Boulez, Knussen, Reich and Ligeti.
We carefully manage the department's size to ensure that every student has ample performance opportunities and good access to the department’s own studios and practice rooms. Our dedicated Percussion Suite houses a large collection of instruments available for student use.
As a percussion student, you'll have regular performing opportunities within the Conservatoire.
- Symphony Orchestra
- Contemporary Ensemble (Thallein)
- Wind Orchestra
- Brass Band
- Baroque Orchestra
- Percussion Ensemble
- Pops Orchestra
The Percussion Ensemble performs several times a year, from recently commissioned new repertoire to old percussive classics. We have an annual schools’ concerts which will be touring in 2016 and next year also introduces new opportunities to perform with CBSO players as part of the CBSO's Centre Stage Music Series.
Annual Percussion Prize
Our annual Percussion Prize is sponsored by percussion retailers and manufactures and is a great opportunity for the students to showcase their skills and to experience solo performing before a renowned adjudicator.
We also offer a unique outreach programme which gives our students the opportunity to develop their workshop skills and to lead projects in both local schools and the community.
Professional guidance and your future
Our orchestral students can take advantage of professional training schemes with the CBSO and the CBSO Youth Orchestra (by audition). We also have excellent close links with Birmingham Royal Ballet and Welsh National Opera with the Conservatoires WNO Side by Side scheme. In addition, senior students are offered funding towards extra work auditions/feedback sessions with numerous orchestras including BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
Conservatoire percussion graduates can be heard performing in London's West End and with professional orchestras such as the LSO, CBSO, LPO, RPO, WNO, BBCSO, OAE, LCO, BBCNOW, BSO, Aurora, London Mozart Players, National Theatre and the RSC. Other graduate successes of note include Andrew Herbert who was recently appointed Principal Percussion with the CBSO and the Maraca2 Percussion Duo formed by Tim Palmer and Jason Huxtable, both of whom are now Conservatoire percussion tutors.