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!


Our most recent events can now be found on the IU Jacobs School of Music Percussion Department's Facebook Page:



Special Thanks to Airman First Class, Kathryn Yuill!

Kathryn Yuill

On September 12, 2018, Kathryn presented an informative session that included her process of auditioning for the Air Force Band of Mid-America. She also gave a great overview of life in the military and her daily musical activities.

Thanks also to Senior Airman Ryan Missel for explaining the audition process in detail and for answering our students' questions.


Big Thanks to Dr. T. Adam Blackstock!

Adam Blackstock

Special Thanks to Dr. T. Adam Blackstock, Associate Professor of Percussion at Troy University.  Dr. Blackstock presented an informative clinic and performance for our students on November 8.  He will also be featured in a Daytime Showcase Concert at PASIC 2017 on November 11, 2017. Thanks also to Justin Alexander, Director of Percussion Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, on drum set.

Special Thanks to Bruce Jacoby from Remo!

Bruce Jacoby

Bruce Jacoby, Education Manager with Remo, Inc., presented a great class on head tuning - for drum set, concert toms, and snare drums - on Sunday, November 5 at 4 pm.  Bruce will also be on-hand to meet with our students on November 6 to help them with their own personal instruments. 

Congratulations to Kathryn Yuill!

Kathryn Yuill

Kathryn Yuill (MM, 2017) recently won a percussion position with the US Air Force Band of Mid-America. She has also appeared with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and the Mankato Symphony Orchestra. Kathryn received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, studying with Fernando Meza and Peter Kogan. She received her Master of Music degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with John Tafoya, Michael Spiro, Steve Houghton, and Kevin Bobo.

Inside the Teaching Studio

BE SURE to check out: "Inside the Teaching Studio" on the Vic Firth website!
This is a project created by Professor Houghton featuring his students in the IU Jacobs School of Music.
These informative videos have already received more than 8000 views!
Check them out today at:

A Very Special Thank You to Kenny Aronoff!

Kenny Aronoff Class

One of the world’s most influential and in-demand drummers and percussionists, Kenny Aronoff presented 3 incredibly informative sessions at the Jacobs School of Music on October 20 and 21.  In addition to performing for our students, Kenny also shared many details based on his Business Rock Star method of Preparation, Performance, and Persistence. Kenny Aronoff is also an IU Jacobs School of Music Alum!

IU JSoM Percussion Alum wins Timpani position with the Met!

Parker Lee

Parker Lee (BM, 2012) was appointed Co-Principal Timpanist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in May 2017. Additionally, he has served as guest timpanist with the National Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Chattanooga Symphony. Parker holds a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, where he studied with John Tafoya, Kevin Bobo, Michael Spiro, and Steve Houghton. He completed his graduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Yancich. Most recently he studied with Ted Atkatz, and Tom Freer of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Special Thanks to Jeremy Epp!

Jeremy Epp

Jeremy Epp, Principal Timpanist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, presented two awesome sessions for our percussion students on Wednesday, September 13.  These sessions included valuable information that covered "the basics" (timpani technique and sound concepts) and important items to consider when auditioning.  Students also had the opportunity to perform orchestral repertoire for Mr. Epp.  

Professor Steve Houghton: IU Jacobs School of Music Entrepreneur of the Month!

Steve Houghton Entrepreneur of the Month

Professor Steve Houghton was recently featured by the IU Jacobs School of Music’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development.  His recent projects include the release of three new albums, the creation of a video series now available through the Vic Firth Website, and ongoing recording projects involving his current IU students.

Read more HERE.

Stuart Chafetz Masterclass

Stuart Chafetz Masterclass

Stuart Chafetz, former Principal Timpanist with the Honolulu Symphony and conductor of the upcoming IU Ballet “L’amour et la mort” (performances on March 24 and 25), presented an upbeat masterclass on March 8.  Students performed orchestral timpani repertoire for Mr. Chafetz and the Q&A included the discussion of his unique career path.

Jason Haaheim Clinic/Masterclass

Jason Haaheim

Jason Haaheim, principal timpanist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, presented a clinic/masterclass on February 15.  The first part of the session included valuable information on how to study various repertoire and how to sucessfully juggle this kind of preparation along with performing in an orchestra with a very busy schedule.  Students also had the opportunity to work with Jason on orchestral and operatic repertoire.  Thank you Jason! 

Build your own xylophone and marimba!

Kevin Mott

On January 25, IU JSoM percussionist Kevin Mott presented a very interesting session on marimba and xylophone design.  Kevin has been working on instrument design for the past several years - perfecting the way rosewood is cut, treated, and shaped and how resonators are designed.  We look forward to seeing his instruments in the professional area!  A great class!

Cleveland Orchestra Residency 

Marc Damoulakis

Our students were so fortunate to work with Marc Damoulakis, principal percussionist with the Cleveland Orchestra on January 19.  The morning session included student performances on snare drum, cymbals, xylophone, and tambourine. Mr. Damoulakis shared his incredible musical talent with our students, covering many techniques and sound concepts.  A truly incredible session!

Yancich and Sachs session

An afternoon session included an incredibly informative class with principal timpanist, Mr. Paul Yancich and principal trumpet, Mr. Michael Sachs. Students were able to play various orchestral excerpts alongside these marvelous musicians.  Repertoire included Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, Mozart 39, Beethoven: Violin Concerto, Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, and Beethoven: Symphony No. 9.

The Cleveland Orchestra performed an evening concert at the IU Auditorium with music director, Franz Welser-Möst, conducting.  Repertoire included Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 2 with Yefim Bronfman and Sibelius: Symphony No. 2.

A Very Special Thank You

A Very Special Thank You to these fabulous guest artists that took time before PASIC to come to the IU Jacobs School of Music to work and share their expertise with our percussion students this week.

Monday: Katarzyna Mycka
Tuesday: Valerie Naranjo
Wednesday: Pius Cheung

PrePASIC Guest Artists

Our students enjoyed every minute of these sessions!

NEW Video Series Featuring Steve Houghton!

Inside View

Professor Steve Houghton’s new video series through the Vic Firth website, “The Jazz Trio: An Inside View” gives you a wonderful and unique insight into the workings of a jazz trio and quartet.  

Check it out at:

A special thank you to Pedro Fernandez!

Pedro Fernandez class

Pedro Fernandez, section percussion with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, presented an informative percussion clinic for our students at the IU Jacobs School of Music on Wednesday, September 7.  Pedro discussed his warm up routine on snare drum and performance techniques on bass drum and cymbals.

Opening Night Meeting 2016!

Opening Night 2016 photo

Our annual percussion department "opening night" meeting took place on Tuesday, August 23 in one of the NEW Musical Arts Center (MAC) rehearsal rooms.  There are 2 new rehearsal rooms, part of the new MAC addition, and these rooms sound wonderful!  All of of our percussion faculty members (Professors Bobo, Houghton, Spiro and Tafoya) performed for our students and our meeting included a handful of information for our new and returning students.  We are off and running!

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.