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Percussion Institute

Key Information

U-M Faculty Director: Professor Jonathan Ovalle

2014 Percussion Institute Faculty:

Jonathan Ovalle (University of Michigan)

Joseph Gramley (University of Michigan/ Silk Road Ensemble)

Ian Ding (University of Michigan)

Joe Becker (Principal Percussionist - Detroit Symphony Orchestra)


July 6 - 19, 2014

Priority Deadline: February 14 (closed for 2014 applications)


The MPulse Percussion Institute provides high-school percussionists a unique opportunity to engage in two weeks of hands-on training in all areas of concert percussion. A limited number of spots are available each year to insure all participants receive a tremendous amount of individual attention. Rather than simply sitting and observing classes on instrumental techniques, MPulse percussionists actively participate and play in every performance class. These instrument-focused classes, combined with daily percussion ensemble rehearsals create a rich learning environment for every student, allowing them to gain valuable experience through a performance-based curriculum.

Areas Covered

  • Snare Drum (rudimental & concert)
  • Mallet Keyboards (two and four mallet)
  • Timpani
  • Cymbals/ Triangle/ Tambourine
  • Bass Drum & Tam-Tam
  • Drum Set
  • World Percussion
  • Music Theory/Ear Training
  • Practice Techniques
  • Percussion Solo Repertoire
  • Interpretation
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Private Lessons
  • College Audition Preparation

Percussion Ensemble

Percussion students at MPulse are all active participants in percussion ensemble. Rehearsals take place every day as students work on preparing repertoire for a finale concert on the last day of the Institute. A special emphasis is placed on un-conducted chamber works helping students to acquire valuable chamber music listening skills.

Past Percussion Ensemble Repertoire

Strange Loops - Patrick Long

Variations on a Ghanaian Theme - Daniel Levitan

Ostinato Pianissimo - Henry Cowell

Pulse – Henry Cowell

Mudra - Bob Becker

Factions - Lynn Glassock

Daybreak – Jack Stamp

Trio – Daniel Levitan

Trio for Percussion – Warren Benson

4/4 for Four – Anthony Cirone

Scavenger Music – Christopher Deane

Three Sketches – Jay Kennedy

Clapping Music - Steve Reich

Double Music - Cage/Harrison

Metro Chabacano - Javier Alvarez

Apple Blossom - Peter Garland

Crystal Canon - James Tenney

Daily Schedule

In addition to daily instrument classes, masterclasses, and percussion ensemble, students also participate in an ear training class every day. During the two-week institute, students are also rotated through a sequence of private lessons so every student receives at least two 60-minute private lessons during their two-week residency.

To view a sample of the 2013 MPulse Percussion Institute Schedule, click here.

Application Procedure

The application consists of three parts. (Applications are not complete until the application fee has been received.)

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee
  • Audition Upload


Performance Video (Upload)

Please upload three separate video files that represent your highest level of musicianship in the following areas:

  1. A snare drum solo or etude of your choice (concert or rudimental)
  2. A mallet keyboard solo or etude of your choice (two or four mallet)
  3. A timpani solo or etude of your choice

Audition Video Preparation Suggestions

Aim to produce the highest quality recording possible - one which represents your tone quality and musicianship to the fullest (HD, if possible). Make sure the audio supporting your video is clear and free of distortion. When recording loud instruments like SD, place the microphone at a good distance from the instrument and test your loudest volume to set the input levels to avoid clipping or distortion.

For any questions about specific repertoire submissions, please contact Prof. Jonathan Ovalle - before making/submitting your video.

Confidential Recommendation (Upload)

(Optional) Have one of your current music teachers (private teacher or band/orchestra director) assess your work in a confidential letter of recommendation. Make sure your recommender puts your name in the subject line (Re: John Smith - MPulse Recommendation). In addition to your musical abilities, the letter may discuss your personal characteristics such as initiative, dependability, and your commitment to increasing your musical skills. To invite a recommender, submit your recommender's email address, when prompted, on the audition upload link. Once you submit your audition (by selecting Final Submit), the recommender will receive a notification and link to use for sending your confidential recommendation. E-mailed submissions will not be accepted.

Repertoire List (Upload)

Submit a list of percussion solos/etudes (all instruments) and percussion ensemble pieces you have performed and/or studied with your private teacher (if applicable). If you have material which comes from a method book, please list the book title and etude or page number.

Admission Notification

Priority deadline for all application/audition materials is February 14, 2014. Admission notifications for priority applicants will be e-mailed on March 28, 2014.   

Applications received after February 14th will be accepted while space is available, however priority will be given to applications received by the priority deadline. Admission and notification after the priority deadline will be on a rolling basis.

Decisions will not be given by phone.

Tuition, Fees, and Scholarships


Please visit the Tuition, Fees and Scholarships page for more information.




The General Information page includes many important items.

“MPulse was one of the best musical experiences I've had. I learned so much from Professor Ovalle and I met so many amazing percussionists.”
Stella, Percussion 2012, WA
MPulse Percussion Institute MPulse Percussion with Ovalle MPulse Percussion samba group Mpulse Percussion with Piccolo MPulse Percussion solo MPulse Percussion 2012 MPulse Percussion Class

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower