Over the last 20 years, the professional percussion world has witnessed a spectacular (r)evolution. The repertoire and the new, contemporary techniques have been fundamentally changed, and professionals are now expected to be multifunctional; from playing in a baroque orchestra to a contemporary ensemble, from a session musician to improvising, from performing as a soloist to being a dedicated teacher.
In response to this, the percussion department has developed into a highly-motivated department, in which versatility and specialization, tradition and renewal, interdisciplinary skills and top musicianship go hand in hand.
Owing to the large range of percussion instruments, the programme focusses on coaching each bachelor’s student towards being an all-round percussionist with an excellent mastery of all the principal percussion instruments: timpani, snare drum, xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, drums, and multi-percussion set-up. In doing so, attention is paid to solid, traditional technical training and the mastering of new techniques. The student is coached in both representative classical and contemporary repertoire, and is encouraged to tackle interdisciplinary projects with, for example, students from the dance and drama programmes.
Using as a basis this solid foundation at bachelor’s level, the master’s student can further develop his or her own path according to his or her personal professional goals. This can mean both delving further into the study of all percussion instruments, or specialization in orchestral playing, timpani, marimba, multi-percussion set-up, contemporary repertoire or melodic drumming, for example. Both a Master’s in Percussion and Master’s in Marimba are offered.
Throughout the programme, numerous challenging opportunities are organized in the form of masterclasses, recitals, and concerts in collaboration with deSingel. A broad range of practical experiences prepares each student for life as a professional national or international musician: from projects with symphony orchestra, wind orchestra and percussion and marimba ensembles, to audition training and participation in competitions to short courses in an orchestra. Collaborations with external professional orchestras and music groups mean that the profession is literally brought into the student’s training.
Active concert and performance experience is intensively encouraged and set up by the teaching staff; the teaching staff stand together with their students on stage and prepare them to be percussionists of our time, all-rounders who are ready to conquer the percussion world.