Percussion Department

Student Activity

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Our NEW YouTube Channel!


Be sure to check our new IU Percussion Department YouTube channel for videos of our previous performances!

A Big Thank You to Jason Haaheim!

Jason Haaheim

Co-Principal Timpanist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Jason Haaheim presented an incredible session for the percussion majors at the IU Jacobs School of Music on Thursday, March 24.  This class included his advice on how to practice effectively and efficiently (deliberate practice).  He also shared his audition experiences along with his overall method of preparation for auditions.  A truly inspiring session.

Thank You Samuel Chan!

Samuel Chan visited the IU Jacobs School of Music recently, presenting an incredible marimba and vibraphone recital performance on March 9, 2016.  Samuel was the winner of the 2014 Great Plains International Marimba Competition.

Samuel Chan

Big Thanks to Stuart Chafetz!

Our percussion students were treated to a special (and fun!) masterclass presented by Stuart Chafetz on March 2, 2016.  Stuart, who is currently conducting the IU Ballet, worked with several students on orchestral timpani repertoire and also shared his musical path and experience as an orchestra timpanist, teacher, and conductor.

Stuart Chafetz

Thank You Brian Mueller!

Brian Mueller presented a wonderful and insightful marimba masterclass at the IU Jacobs School of Music (IU JSoM) on January 13.  In addition to performing on the marimba, Brian also discussed and demonstrated various practice techniques for the instrument.  Brian is an IU JSoM DM student and also serves on the faculty at Middle Tennessee State University.

Brian Mueller Photo

Thank You Reuben Gingrich!

Reuben Gingrich

Reuben Gingrich presented a wonderful drum set clinic on Saturday, October 31.  Reuben is an IU Jacobs School of Music Alum and is the drummer for the band, Main Squeeze.

Thank You Rusty Burge!

Rusty Burge class

Rusty Burge (University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Percussion Group), presented a wonderful and informative masterclass for our percussion students on Wednesday, October 14, 2015,

During Rusty’s visit, Professor Steve Houghton planned and arranged special video sessions (with Rusty Burge, Steve Houghton, Steve Allee, and Jeremy Allen) which will soon appear on the Vic Firth website.  Very special thanks also to Neil Larrivee, Director of Education and Mark Wessels, Director of Internet Activities, who met with our students and who were also involved in the video recording sessions

Be sure to keep checking the Vic Firth website for ”The Jazz Trio - An Inside View" with special guest Rusty Burge. This series will provide the viewer with a special inside look at the workings of a jazz trio.  This is not a "how to" but rather a "what we were thinking about at the moment we were performing this music."  The video, produced by Vic Firth's Marc Wessels, explores, the vibe trio, vibe quartet and piano trio formats.  In each format, the musicians share their thoughts after each selection with short statements, regarding a variety of topics.

"I learned alot from hearing how the other musicians were hearing and thinking about the music"....Steve Houghton - project developer. 

Thank You Robert Clark!

Robert Clark

IU Alum and a recent IU Singing Hoosier's Distinguished Alumni award winner, Robert Clark, presented an uplifting and energetic class on September 30, 2015. Robert shared his words of advice based on his own personal success in the world of musical entrepreneurship along with several humorous stories about his activities as an IU student. 

Our 2015-16 school year begins with a visit from the Avedis Zildjian Company!

Zildjian visit

On Wednesday, September 2 our students and faculty were treated to a wonderfully informative session presented by Aaron Jackson and Keith Aleo of the Avedis Zildjian company.  In addition to learning about the process of making cymbals, our students were also able to try out many different cymbals and purchase them at a discount.  Thanks again to Keith, Aaron, and the Avedis Zildjian company!

Our Final Studio Class of the Year ....

Mallet Wrapping Class

Featuring Professors John Tafoya and Kevin Bobo:  Timpani mallet and Marimba mallet wrapping class!  Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

A Very Special Thank You to David Herbert!

David Herbert

David Herbert, Principal Timpanist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, presented an incredible masterclass on March 26, 2015.  Several students performed orchestral timpani excerpts for Mr. Herbert and many topics relating to technique, sound, and overall musicianship were discussed.

Jason Markzon Masterclass

Jason Markzon

Our students performed percussion solos and orchestral repertoire for Jason Markzon, former principal percussionist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.  This wonderful and informative class took place on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

Special Thanks to Anders Astrand and Dave Samuels!

Astrand and Samuels

Our students were treated to an awesome masterclass by Anders Astrand and Dave Samuels.  The session, which took place on February 4, 2015, included plenty of "hands on" improvisation for our students and the performances by Anders and Dave were truly amazing.  Thanks to John Wittmann and Yamaha for this terrific event and special thanks to Professor Steve Houghton for hosting this session.

January 20 and 21, 2015 - Cleveland Orchestra Residency

Marc Damoulakis class

The IU JSoM Percussion Department was so very fortunate to have two masterclasses presented by Paul Yancich, principal timpanist and Marc Damoulakis, principal percussionist of the Cleveland Orchestra.  Our percussionists were able to perform orchestral excerpts as well as attend a full concert by the Cleveland Orchestra.

November 12, 2014

Matthew Levine PhotoA Big Thanks to Matthew Levine, percussionist with the U.S. Air Force Academy Band for a very informative session on "getting a military band gig".  Our students had a terrific time!

October 2014

A VERY SPECIAL thank you to Mr. John Wittmann, Director of Education and Artist Relations for the Band and Orchestral Division of the Yamaha Corporation of America. 

Mr. Wittmann presented a session entitled "Top Ten Things I Wish I Knew", canvassing the necessary qualities in obtaining a great career and life as a working musician and person.  

John Wittmann photo #1

John Wittmann photo #2

IU Percussion Ensemble Performs at PASIC!

The IU Percussion Ensemble was one of three university ensembles that won the PASIC International Percussion Ensemble Competition and was showcased in performance at 10 am on Friday, November 15, 2013 at the Indianapolis Convention Center.  Highlights of this performance can be found via the Vimeo website at: (or click on the photo below).

PASIC Performance

November 2013

Special Thanks to Mr. Troy Wollwage (Marketing Manager) and Mr. Scott Slocum (District Manager) - Yamaha Corporation

Troy Wollwage

Our percussion majors were treated to a fun and casual pizza party and session on November 1, 2013 led by Troy Wollwage, Marketing Manager with the Yamaha Corporation.

Special Thanks to Jim Bailey

Jim Bailey

Jim Bailey, Educator Relations Manager with Evans Drum Heads and special guest Jerry Noble presented a hands on and informative class on September 11, 2013 covering proper drum head mounting and tuning.  

September 2013

Special Thanks to Mr. Braham Dembar!

Braham Dembar

Braham Dembar, Principal Percussionist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, presented an informative and "hands on" session covering the proper performance techniques on tambourine, triangle, cymbals and bass drum.  The class was presented at 4 pm on September 4, 2013.

Spring 2013

Cleveland Orchestra Residency

A Special Thank You to Mr. Paul Yancich and Mr. Jacob Nissly

Paul Yancich masterclass

Jacob Nissly masterclass

As part of the 2013 Cleveland Orchestra Residency, IU JSoM percussion students had the opportunity to perform for Mr. Paul Yancich (Principal Timpani) and Mr. Jacob Nissly (Principal Percussion) on Wednesday, January 23.  In addition to performing and discussing a variety of topics the Cleveland Orchestra was also featured in a concert that evening featuring Josh Bell (Beethoven: Violin Concerto) and Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique.

Fall 2012

Joseph Schwantner Masterclass

Joseph Schwantner

Composer Joseph Schwantner presented a special masterclass on Wednesday, October 24 for the IU Percussion Department.  This informative (and fun) class included a performance of his solo marimba work, "Velocities" (with a wonderful performance by DM student Brian Mueller), along with works composed by our percussion students (Sean Gill and Marco Schirripa).  Mr. Schwantner also presented information regarding his Second Percussion Concerto - which was performed at PASIC 2011.

Special Thanks to Braham Dembar!

Braham Dembar

Braham Dembar, Principal Percussionist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, presented an extremely informative (and "hands on") class covering the proper performance techniques for bass drum, triangle, tambourine, and cymbals. 

Opening Night

Each year the IU JSOM Percussion Department presents an "opening night" meeting that includes performances by the percussion department faculty (Professors Bobo, Houghton, Spiro and Tafoya).  60 percussion majors attended our opening night meeting on Tuesday, August 21, 2012.

Mike Mixtacki

Jacobs School of Music alumnus Michael Mixtacki will be joining the faculty of the Northern Illinois University School of Music for a one-year, full-time appointment as Instructor of Percussion.  Michael graduated from IU in 2011 with his Master’s degree in percussion performance.  He served as an Associate Instructor in the percussion department and helped co-direct the Afro-Cuban and Brazilian percussion ensembles with Professor Michael Spiro.

Ross Erickson

IU JSOM student Ross Erickson (BM 2010, MM 2012) has recently been named Principal Percussion with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and Instructor of Percussion at the University of Evansville (Evansville, IN).

Kyle Acuncius

Kyle Acuncius (MM 2010) has recently accepted a position as Artist/Instructor of Percussion at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand and Principal Timpanist in the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. The College of Music at Mahidol University is the first music conservatory in Thailand to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in numerous areas of music. The school includes 120 full time and 100 part time faculty with a support staff of 150. There are approximately 1,200 students, including pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate students.

Michael D'Angelo

Michael D’Angelo (MM – Jazz Studies 2012) was recently awarded the position of Lecturer in Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina (Wilmington).  D’Angelo will be teaching drum set students, jazz history, ensembles, and a rhythm section techniques course.  While at IU, Michael studied with Professor Steve Houghton, Michael Spiro, and Kevin Bobo.

Marimba soloists make Final Round at International Percussion Convention
IU students Marco Schirripa and Sean Gill have been selected to perform in the Final Round of the 2012 PASIC International Marimba Competition which will take place in Austin, Texas in November 2012.