Percussion at Capital | Capital University
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    • Lead Percussion
    • Marimba
    • Room 2
    • Room 5
    • Snare

    Percussion Studio at Capital

  • How We See Things

    At Capital, we want to prepare our students as music professionals – individuals who will be viable participants in a business that is constantly evolving. Our philosophy is to provide a foundation – in every aspect of music - that will serve you for a lifetime.

    Our Students Play A Great Deal

    Our emphasis on performance is not limited to performance majors.

    While we are proud of our graduates’ accomplishments as Performance or Jazz Studies majors, all of our Bachelor of Music majors are expected to perform at an exceptional level, and our teaching philosophy and academic programs allow for the student to develop their performance skills to the highest degree possible. We believe that developing your skills as a performer will prove to be valuable in any element of the music business…as a player, educator, in business or within the changing music technology world.

    Percussion Facilities

    You will have access to one of the top percussion facilities in the United States.

    Capital’s facilities include an entire level of practice rooms and a dedicated percussion rehearsal room, complete with an impressive collection of the most up-to-date instruments and technology to enhance your education. Unlike many other places, you will have ample opportunity to find practice spaces at most hours of the day and night. In addition, our large rehearsal hall has a separate collection of concert percussion equipment, drum sets in every rehearsal space and dedicated drum set practice rooms, and one of the largest collections of world percussion equipment that you will find in any university setting…as one example, Capital owns sixty taiko, used in both our academic classes and ensembles as a part of your introduction in to world percussion.

    Your Personal Development

    You’ll develop skills you have now and those you don’t know about yet.

    As an example, students have come in viewing themselves primarily as snare drummers and have left as percussionists, skilled as marimbists or steel drummers. Others who have only dabbled as drum set players become active, working professionals. All students grow as individuals, finding their own path and feeling prepared, both academically and musically, to enter the challenging world of music. Developing multiple skills that serve you through your lifetime is at the core of our mission. We help you find your voice and your confidence.

    Charting Your Academic Course

    The Conservatory curriculum will meet your interests and your needs.

    With Bachelor of Music majors in Performance, Music Education, Jazz Studies, Music Industry and Music Technology, we can relate to and guide students. Our freshman year is a generic year, allowing students to seamlessly move from one major to another if you find that your interests change, as they often do as you become more aware of options within the curriculum.

    The Scene

    Capital students profit from the community that surrounds us.

    Columbus is a metropolitan area of nearly two million people. Experiences outside the University are a key to enhancing your experiences within the Capital program. Working with schools as a percussion specialist, finding an excellent technology internship, becoming a part of a working band, joining an award-winning indoor drum line, or performing professionally in a community orchestra are just a few of the scenarios that our students regularly become a part of.

    Our Environment

    Your fellow students are not your competition – they are your inspiration.

    Your fellow students are individuals that will help you and inspire you to be better. Our standard for excellence serves as a guide for all who are in the studio, no matter what academic major you choose. Every student has a set of skills that are their own, and all students learn from each other in our environment.

    Your Instructors are Also Your Mentors

    Our faculty are committed and connected.

    With four percussion faculty with nearly 100 years of cumulative teaching experience, you will be mentored by individuals with multiple skills and reputations that span the globe as performers, educators, authors, clinicians and as a part of the music business.

    The Daily Grind

    You will have fun.

    Majoring in music, especially as a percussion major, is hard work. You will learn musical and time management skills that you will draw from throughout your career, but in the process you will have a great deal of fun and feel a great sense of accomplishment from your hard work. You will learn to enjoy all ensemble experiences: bands, contemporary and jazz ensembles, various percussion ensembles, orchestra and chamber groups. And you will create friendships that will endure that will last a lifetime.

    Come See Us. Let’s Hear You Play.

    Now, let’s plan for your trip to Capital.

    You may wish to make a special trip to visit before your audition – you can come see the university, the facilities, sit in on classes and ensembles and, most importantly, meet the instructors and students that you will be working so closely with when you become a student. When you audition for us, we will evaluate your current skill level, your general musicianship and your potential. The way you play a particular etude or style will not provide the complete picture. With that said, we encourage you to prepare as thoroughly as possible, demonstrating as many facets of your playing as you can.

    Get In Touch

    We look forward to meeting you and hearing you.

    The information below will help you with understanding the process for university application, auditions and information about academic and music scholarships. Please contact us directly if you or your parents have any questions about the percussion studio, the academic majors or any other areas.

    The information below will help you with understanding the process for university application, auditions and information about academic and music scholarships. Please contact us directly if you or your parents have any questions about the percussion studio, the academic majors or any other areas.

  • In this section..

    • Below is a small but representative list of Capital’s percussion graduates. In addition to this list are dozens of successful educators, performers and business people that began their musical journey.


      • Billingslea, Matt: Nashville - Taylor Swift; Lady Antebellum 
      • Crouse, Matt: Nashville – Working Drummer Project
      • Dachtyl, Linda: Hammond/Suzuki artist
      • Davis, Dr. Chris: North Greenville University
      • Earnest, Seth: Nashville – Aaron Tasjan; Producer
      • Fullen, Brian: Nashville – Recording Artist/Author
      • Gillen, Cory: Columbus Pro Percussion, Inc
      • Hartsough, Jeff: Austin – Executive Director, Percussive Arts Society 
      • Heath, Rob: New York/London – Artist/Producer
      • Hickman, Josh: Principal Timpanist, Nashville Symphony
      • Kelson, Libby: United States Marine Bands
      • Kushmaul, Brian: Chautauqua Orchestra
      • Licata, Dr. Julie: SUNY Oneonta
      • Logozzo, Derrick: Dallas – Richland Community College
      • Michael, Chris: Beruit – Lebanese Philharmonic, National Conservatory, Bach Institute
      • Naumann, David – United Sates Army Bands
      • Retzlaff, Pete: New York – Artist/Author/Drummer’s Collective
      • Rieser, Dan: New York – Recording Artist/Roseanne Cash
      • Schmalenberger, David: Minneapolis/McNally-Smith College of Music
      • Shaye, Noah: Mardrid – Telmo Fernandez; Media Specialist
      • Shipley, Phil: Columbus Symphony
      • Stepro, Mark: Los Angeles – Butch Walker/Modern Drummer Poll, 2016
      • Tanner, Dr. Robert: Morehouse College
    • How many percussion majors are enrolled?

      Capital's percussion enrollment usually varies between 18-24 majors, in all degrees.

      What is the focus of the majors in the percussion studio?

      The focus of our percussion majors varies from orchestral performance to hand drumming. Each student will ultimately excel in one or more areas, but the curriculum is designed to promote a broad-based experience in percussion. One distinction about our program is that we consider drum set to be one of the essential elements of fundamental percussion performance, along with mallet percussion, snare drum and timpani.

      How are ensemble auditions held?

      Each fall, students participate in a performance review, which helps the faculty determine the progress of students returning over the summer and affirms the performance level of new students. Concert ensemble assignments are made following this event. Jazz ensemble auditions are held during the first week of class.

      What is the accessibility of practice room space?

      We are blessed with a model percussion facility, featuring thirteen separate practice spaces dedicated to the percussion area. These spaces include a large percussion ensemble rehearsal room and a teaching studio, all separate from the percussion office. There are practice spaces dedicated to drum set, hand drumming, timpani and mallet percussion.

      What is the frequency/length of private lessons?

      Each student receives an academic hour of contact with a percussion faculty each week. We will use a variety of experiences to achieve that goal. For example, freshmen will participate in a one-hour group lesson/class per week, along with a half-hour private lesson. This allows certain topics, e.g. basic timpani stroke, cymbal/accessory instruments, etc. to be delivered in an efficient way, allowing us to say the same thing to all students. In addition, two/three times a semester we engage in a percussion studio class, where all majors perform a solo, which is graded by the instructors and serves as the private lesson for that week. This allows all students the experience of performing in front of their peers and hearing a large quantity of literature in one setting. These sessions are generally held on Monday evenings, scheduled in advance and attendance is required, as they serve as a substitute for the private lesson for that week.

      Do ensembles travel and tour?

      Our percussion ensembles have a long history of touring, performing in various venues. Our Jazz Percussion Ensemble has won numerous honors at regional and national collegiate jazz festivals, and some of our percussion ensembles have been honored with invitations to perform at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in 1997, 1999, 2005, 2007 and 2015.

      Are there performing opportunities off campus?

      One of the tremendous features of Capital University is its proximity to the Columbus metropolitan area, a community of over 1.8 million people. Specifically for drummers and percussionists, this area features an unusually high number of outstanding performers (many of them Capital graduates), allowing young players a unique opportunity to “gauge” their skills. Those that have decided to leave Columbus have also met with great success.

      Where are Capital’s percussion graduates employed?

      Our graduates have achieved success in all facets of the music business, including performance, teaching, publishing, recording, arts management, manufacturing and the music products industry. Capital’s faculty is a reflection of the opportunity for today’s young musician to develop into a viable music professional.
    • Here are a few of our more recent performances

      The 2017 Jazz Percussion Ensemble performs "Surfboard Antonio" by Carlos Jobim.


      The 2017 Steel band performs "Jump In The Line" by DeLeon/Bell/Oiler/Samuel arr. Duerden.


      Members of the 2017 Chamber Percussion Ensemble perform "Extremes" by Jason Treuting.


      The 2017 Capital University Chamber Percussion Ensemble performs "Catching Shadows" by Ivan Trevino.

      Visit our YouTube channel and watch concert performances by our various ensembles