Timpani and Percussion faculty classes and activities

Undergraduate students take weekly academic classes in addition to their percussion studies. Classes in Analysis and Aural, Conducting, Technology, Keyboard Skills and Western Music History are designed to complement and add to every student’s creative development as performers. For more information about Academic Studies, see the BMus Programme.

Both undergraduate and postgraduate percussion students participate in the following activities:

Individual Lessons

You will receive 30 minutes of lesson time per week on timpani (45 minutes per week for postgraduates) and 30 minutes per week on percussion (45 minutes per week for postgraduates).
Postgraduate students can choose to study only percussion or only timpani, in which case you will receive 90 minutes per week on your chosen instrument.

Assorted Percussion

As much tuition as possible is given on related percussion instruments (tambourine, cymbals, bass drum, triangle, glockenspiel, etc), encouraging you to experiment with the techniques needed to play them in a variety of different musical situations.

Chamber Music

Percussion Ensemble and mallet groups are coached and assessed; you will collaborate with a fantastic pool of talented peers and perform frequently.


The Academy has an extensive provision for marimba and solo percussion. Regular masterclasses with many of the world's leading solo percussion specialists offer excellent opportunities for aspiring solo percussionists.

Other recent visitors have included She-e Wu, Steve Gadd, Iian Pattinson, David Hockings, Makoto Nakura, Mike Mainieri, Anders Åstrand, Kurt-Hans Goedicke, Philippe Spiesser, Adrian Spillett and Owen Gunnell.

Orchestral Repertoire Classes

These classes deal with playing in the orchestra, within the section, studio /sight-reading techniques, and in an audition environment. The playing techniques for all timpani and orchestral percussion instruments will be discussed in detail during these classes and there is particular focus leading up to auditions for major music festival such as EUYO, Pacific Music Festival, Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and the Verbier Festival, and when relevant positions become vacant within the profession.

Related Study areas

You will get experience in playing drum set, marimba, baroque timpani, vibraphone, Latin American/ethnic percussion, multi-setup and concerti. Having a wide range of skills is a necessity for the profession and we aim to prepare you to be able to perform in a variety of contexts.

Should you show exceptional ability in a related study area, due consideration will be given to whether you would like to specialise in a particular area.


Students can choose to take the LRAM (Licenciate of the Royal Academy of Music) teaching diploma course, which offers a comprehensive, practically-based introduction to the principles of teaching.

The Academy’s Percussion Instruments

The Royal Academy of Music provides excellent facilities for Timpani and Percussion students including access to quality instruments of a professional standard for practice and performance. Students must furnish themselves with a near-professional range of sticks, mallets and music that will meet the demands of the course.

Students are eligible for the Academy’s annual Zildjian Cymbal Prizes. First prize is $2,000 and second prize is a visit to Zildjian International in the UK, to select cymbals of their choice.

The Royal Academy of Music is grateful for the generous support of Zildjian Cymbals and Yamaha UK.