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Whether you are a music major, minor, hobbyist, or somewhere in between, you have more than a few percussive options to choose from at Idaho State University.

The Percussion student at ISU is invited into an environment with state of the art performance facilities, great instrumental gear (recently purchased), an internationally recognized percussion faculty, and a low student-to-faculty ratio for personalized attention.  

The studio is led by Dr. Thom Hasenpflug, Director of Percussion Studies here at ISU.

Percussion-specific ensemble opportunities include the Percussion and Steel Ensembles. You can also find out about our ISU Day of Percussion

As a percussionist, you can also play on the Bengal Marching Band drum line, in the wind ensemble or concert/symphonic bands, drums in the jazz and pep bands, and potentially even the ISU Civic Symphony Orchestra.

To find out about general information regarding requirements for private percussion study, as well as the above, use the tabs below to navigate.


Our Percussion Ensemble meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays in both the Fall and Spring semesters.  

Percussion Ensemble Syllabus

MUSC 168-03, T / R   4 - 5:30, Band room 109

Idaho State University; sample academic year

Dr. Thom Hasenpflug, Director of Percussion


Percussion Ensemble is a chamber music ensemble featuring works written or arranged specifically for percussion and percussion-related media. Literature will be selected and rehearsed with the ultimate goal of performance. Number of performers, amount of rehearsal time,  and technical skill required will vary depending on the selected piece. All students registered will be involved in some capacity.

Supplemental rehearsals in addition to the scheduled time may be scheduled as per student availability.


• Students must check the weekly schedule, to be posted sometime before the first weekly rehearsal on the percussion bulletin board outside of FA 108 (usually by Tuesday AM). You are responsible for knowing the schedule. Students may not be required to attend all portions of a given rehearsal, or may be involved for the whole time - It depends on the piece(s) for that day.

• Students are required to be set up by 4:00, not just walking in at that time. Downbeat is at 4:05. Plan on arriving a few minutes in advance depending on your set-up needs!

• Students will need to furnish their own sticks and mallets or arrange to borrow them.

• Students are expected to practice their parts outside of class. Individual efforts are needed for a successful performance. Failure to progress due to lack of practice may result in removal from a piece and a lowered grade. Know Your Part!

• Concert Dress is solid black.


Mandatory as per the posted schedule. There are no excused absences. Everyone depends on you, so please be here when you are scheduled.  If extenuating circumstances arise, please inform the instructor well enough in advance so that the schedule can be changed.

If a student misses a concert or final dress rehearsal, a failing grade will be given.

Rules of Note:

Never abuse equipment; always demonstrate proper care.

Lock all doors and cages and turn off lights when finished.

Put away and/or re-set equipment when finished.

No food in the practice rooms or rehearsal.

Please do bring your cell phone to rehearsal, and avoid goofing off during rehearsal. It makes me less pleasant to be around.

Be professional and prepared.

Always Have A Pencil!!!!!!!!


Based on attendance, improvement, attitude, and dedication to the ensemble.


Percussion Links

Percussive Arts Society – Our professional society. All kinds of resources here!

Marimba.org – an online marimba community

Where to buy stuff online:

Steve Weiss Music –  Percussion instruments, including obscure imports.  All the sheet music that was ever written for percussion. If you can’t find it here, then you’re not really looking.

Percussion Source – Another great resource for instruments, mallets, and such

Dr. Hasenpflug proudly endorses the following products:

Salyers Percussion - High quality sticks and mallets made by veteran industry pro, Bruce Salyers

Remo – The biggest name in drum heads.

Sabian – Cymbals! The greatest!

Yamaha - One of the best companies under the sun.

Other great gear of interest to our students:

Malletech – Keyboard percussion instruments of the highest quality. Also, their publishing division represents some of the finest composers for percussion.

Marimba One – Another manufacturer of superior marimbas

Innovative Percussion – great mallets and sheet music too!



If you are auditioning as a major, then you may choose among the Education (BME), Performance (BM), or general (BA / BS) degrees with emphasis in percussion. You may also audition as a music minor, or in certain circumstances, for scholarship / ensemble placement only. Admission into the Bachelor of Music (performance) degree program is selective, and requires a higher level of existing performance ability. It is possible to be selected into an alternate degree program, and to re-audition in a future semester.

The ideal percussion audition is demonstrated through performance of varied styles and instruments. A successful audition will demonstrate the performer’s abilities on as many of these instruments as possible.

Snare Drum

Two relatively short, contrasting solos are ideal. One should be in the concert style, the other in the rudimental style. You may be asked to sight read as well.


A solo that demonstrates your keyboard percussion abilities, either two or four mallet. Acceptable instruments include marimba, vibraphone, or xylophone (two mallet only)

In addition, major scales (two octaves ascending and descending) may be asked of you.


Again, a solo that demonstrates your abilities on this instrument is requested.

You may be asked to tune timpani to a given pitch.


If you have any experience with the drum kit, then a demonstration of drumset styles is appropriate. Consider the rock / funk styles, jazz, and latin (such as a bossa nova) or carribean (such as a calypso) as representative of the instrument.

For All of the Above Categories, you may choose to consider a solo work from the Idaho State (or any other state) Solo and Ensemble list.

Please Also Note: to be admitted as a music major in any capacity, you must take the theory placement test as well as the piano proficiency test. These exams are used to determine the initial level of study in theory and piano

Contact Info: Dr. Thom Hasenpflug , Director of Percussion Studies at ISU

208-282-3705 • hasethom@isu.edu

Sample Audition Repertoire:


Snare Drum

Solos / etudes from:

Cirone Portraits in Rhythm

Whaley Intermediate Snare Drum Studies, Audition Solos

Goldenberg Modern School for Snare Drum

Schinstine Futuristic Snare Drum Solos

Pratt 14 Modern Contest Solos

Freytag Rudimental Cookbook or Just Desserts

Wilcoxin virtually anything


A 2 mallet xylophone rag of G.H. Green

Some of the easier 4 mallet solos by Mitch Peters or Alice Gomez

or, something more challenging and contemporary.

Garwood Whaley’s Musical Studies for Intermediate Mallet Player

An etude from M. Goldenberg’s Modern School for Xylophone

Vibes solos of Bill Molenhof



An etude or solo from:

Garwood Whaley

Saul Goodman

Vic Firth

John Beck

or a set of orchestral-style excerpts; i.e., Beethoven, Brahms, etc.


You may bring a prepared solo, a collection of drumset beat patterns, or just be prepared to demonstrate styles and/or chart reading.


There are certainly other audition-worthy concepts; i.e., multi-percussion, steel drums, marching quads, etc. Please let us know if you have a specific interest in something special.


Equipment Requirements:

Unlike high schools, universities do not generally provide items of a personal nature such as sticks and mallets. Here is a list of equipment that you will find necessary:

First of all, use major or boutique brand name manufacturers. Do not use “no-frills” sticks or mallets that tend to warp, break, be mismatched or poorly weighted and balanced. Brands such as these below are generally your best bet:

Salyers Percussion (Dr. Hasenpflug’s preferred choice),

Vic Firth, Vater, Cooperman, Pro-Mark, Malletech,

Balter, Innovative Percussion, Encore, etc.

Here is what you need:



• Sticks, such as Salyers or Firth SD1, SD2, SD4, SD10, Vater, Innovative, etc.

• You need a pair for general purpose playing, (SD1 style), a small tip for

concert style playing (SD2 style), and some 5A style for drumset playing

• Brushes and/or Pro Mark Hot rods. (or Salyers Kendo sticks / Vic Firth Rutes, etc.)


• General purpose mallets, one set medium, one set harder, such as Salyers Kirk Gay, or Bamboo, Firth T3/T1, Vater, Goodman, Payson, Hinger, Amy Putman, etc.


• Set of 4 long handle - birch. Example, Salyers Performance or Earth Tone collection

Innovative Percussion 300, Balter 82 or 83 BB, Malletech Burritt or Concerto series, Vic Firth Van Sice or Giff Howarth, etc.


• Set of 4 rattan, short birch,  or fiberglass handle. Cord wound, or hemp wound.


 • misc. rubber and plastic phenolic 1" balls. Salyers, Innovative, Malletech

Becker blues, Vic Firth 133/134, Steve Weiss makes his own brand, etc.



•Stick bag to hold this stuff

•Drum key, tuning fork, metronome

•a practice pad; i.e., real feel or similar

As finances allow:

•Auxiliary instruments, such as Grover or Black Swamp Tambourine, Abel, Sabian, Black Swamp,  or Grover Triangle, LP or Rhythmtech Latin equipment (cowbells, cabasa, etc.) and so forth.

•Triangle Beaters and clips

• a snare drum and / or drumset

Music and Method Books:

You need to get several of these - see instructor for books related to your course of study.



Percussion Studio Syllabus:

Applied percussion lessons: Levels 184 / 185 / 285 / 385 / 485

Idaho State University, Department of Music

Dr. Thom Hasenpflug, Director of Percussion Studies

FA 108, x3705 hasethom@isu.edu

• The private lesson is designed to develop the "well-rounded" percussionist. All areas of percussion will be approached, and demonstrated ability in all major areas of the field is expected. Proficiency levels will be established over the course of study. Students must learn to deal with their weaknesses as well as strengths to gain adequate proficiency in percussion. The student will outline a plan of study together with the major professor, which will highlight goals and areas of concentration for the coming months.

Objectives and Outcomes:

As a result of private study, students will:

1. Develop technically as a percussionist. The rate of development within any given area differs with each individual.

2. Develop good practice habits.

3. Consider snare drum, timpani, keyboard, band / orchestral percussion, and drumset as fundamental areas for study, and supplement these areas with more specific areas as interest, time, and technical ability allows; i.e., hand drums, steel drums, composition, etc.

4. Become familiar with the standard repertory.

5.Become more comfortable in solo and chamber ensemble performance situations.

6. Become better musicians on the whole.

• All students enrolled in private study will take a jury exam at the end of each semester of enrollment. The jury performance should reflect the progress made over the semester. Take it seriously, as your best effort is required.

• Students must perform on at least one general recital per year.

• You need to practice to get better.

• Percussion majors, and music majors studying percussion are required to attend all percussion recitals, masterclasses, and special scheduled events that are determined to relate directly to the field.

• Percussion majors are required to participate in percussion ensemble, (schedule allowing) and are also required to attend scheduled studio classes, which are currently offered during certain convocation hours. Students are encouraged to be in the Steel Drum ensemble.

• Proper care of school equipment is not only common sense and the right thing to do, it's mandatory! Anyone found to be abusing, damaging, willfully neglecting, or "permanently borrowing" school equipment will have sanctions imposed upon them by myself and the Department Chair. This will affect not only your grade, but your future involvement in percussion at this institution.

GRADING, while somewhat subjective, is based on the following criteria:

- weekly lesson preparation; attitude towards learning

- progress in technique, ability, and musicality

- attendance / punctuality at lessons, ensembles, and required events

- performance on lab recitals and concerts; willingness to perform

- jury performance

The standard ISU letter grading system will be applied.

Jury Requirements

Juries will consist of technical proficiency materials, such as scales and rudiments, and performance literature highlighting the cumulative progress over the course of the semester. A special 30 minute jury is required for entrance to "upper level" (junior standing) study. See instructor for more details on this (separate sheet).

Guideline for the average student - Proficiency Requirements:


Keyboard: All Major/natural minor scales and arpeggios

Goldenberg, Whaley etudes. Two and four mallet solos

Snare Drum: Rudiments, etudes and solos

Timpani: tuning, etudes and solos

Drumset: Styles


All forms of minor scales, 12 keys; 4 mallet technique

Pieces in different instrumental areas

Snare drum proficiency test


Medium to advanced keyboard percussion literature

Snare Drum: advanced concert style etudes and solos

Advanced Timpani literature

Recital preparation


Recital prep, concerto and orchestral literature

areas of specialization

Demonstration of confidence and fluidity in all areas of percussion

In the spring semester, we present our annual ISU Day of Percussion. Hosted by Dr. Hasenpflug, this tradition started upon his arrival to ISU in 2003-04, and has brought in a variety of nationally recognized guest artists.

The 2024 Day of Percussion - Saturday, January 27.  

Focus on Marching Arts with Colin McNutt (Boston Crusaders) and Lauren Teal (Troopers Drum and Bugle).

Goranson Hall, Fine Arts Building.   Free!

Photo of Colin McNutt.    Photo of Lauren Teen

Previous SEIDoP Participants:

      2023 Joe Moore (University of Texas, Arlington) and Oliver Molina (NW Louisiana State)

      2022  stupid COVID!!

      2021  COVID cancelled

      2020 Andrew Lynge (University of Alabama), and Josh Knight (Missouri Western) general percussion

      2019 from Austin TX: Emily Tannert, keyboard education and Wayne Salzmann, drumset artist (Eric Johnson)

      2018 Jonathan Ovalle, percussion (Michigan) and Chris Norton, marimba  (Belmont University)

      2017 Chris Whyte and Brett Paschal from the Portland Percussion Group

      2016 Kari Klier, percussion workshop artist (Texas State) for 2016 Workshop Day

      2015 Bill Bachman, marching and drum specialist (Indianapolis) and Anders Åstrand, international keyboard artist (Stockholm)

      2014 Ben Finley, multi-percussion (East Central University OK), and Andy Smith, drumset (Indianapolis, IN)

      2013 Scott Herring, marimba (University of South Carolina) and David Gluck, drum set (SUNY Purchase)

      2012 Jeff Queen, international marching artist (Indianapolis), and Brian Zator, marimba (Texas A&M Commerce)

      2011 Thomas Burritt, international marimba artist (University of Texas) and Andrew David Hasenpflug, percussion for dance (Slipprey Rock University)

      2010 Nathan Daughtrey, nationally known freelance composer / keyboardist and Thad Anderson, improvisational percussion (UCF)

      2009 Payton MacDonald, Supermarimba (William Paterson, NJ) and Michael Waldrop, drumset (Eastern Washington University)

      2008 Norman Weinberg, electronic percussion & Timpani; (University of Arizona)

      2007 Julie Hill, Brazillian percussion (U TN Martin) and Jeff Moore, marching (Central Florida)
      2006 John Wooton, marching and steel drums (Southern Miss) and Eric Hollenbeck, marimba (Colorado State)
      2005 Chris Hanning, drumset (West Chester University, PA)
      2004 Blake Tyson, marimba and percussion (University of Central Arkansas) - First year of ISU Southeast Idaho Day of Percussion!