Percussion / drum set

Mandatory music selection requirements for auditioning as a percussionist.

Recruiting for this instrument
is currently closed.

Mandatory music selections

Requirements for your audio recording

Sheet music will not be provided.

Mandatory Selection No. 1 (Snare Drum) - Perform one of the following works:

  • Any etude from 14 Modern Contest Solos by John S. Pratt
  • Any etude from Portraits in Rhythm by Anthony J. Cirone
  • Any etude from Douze Études pour Caisse-Claire by Jacques Délécluse

Mandatory Selection No. 2 (Mallet Percussion) - Perform one of the following works:

  • Any one movement of the Bach 6 Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, or cello suite.
  • Any xylophone rag from Green's Xylophone 'Rags'
  • Any 4 mallet marimba solo from Clair Omar Musser Marimba Solo collection

Mandatory Selection No. 3 (Timpani) - Perform one of the following works:

  • Any etude from Fundamental Method for Timpani by Mitchell Peters
  • Any etude from Scherzo for Three Timpani by Mitchell Peters
  • Any etude from The Solo Timpanist by Vic Firth

Mandatory Selection No. 4 (Drum Set) – Perform one of the following works:

  • Any play-along track from Sittin’ in with the Big Band' Vol 2
  • Any play-along track from Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band Play-Along Series

We will contact you with your results

The music selection board will assess your submission. When the assessment is completed, you will be informed whether or not you are selected to participate in a live audition.

Live audition process and preparation

All live auditions will be performed with a Regular Force Band.

The live audition is divided into 4 parts:

Solo performance

Prepared solos

You must prepare one solo piece from the list for each of the following instrument specialty areas: snare drum, mallets, and timpani.

Mandatory Selection No. 1 - Perform one of the following works for snare drum:

  1. W. Schinstine Ship-a-Hoey from ‘Adventures in Solo Drumming’
  2. M. Peters Study No.6 from ‘Advanced Snare Drum Studies’: Study should be performed with concert (closed) interpretation

Mandatory Selection No. 2 - Perform one of the following works for mallet percussion:

  1. J.S. Bach Partita No. 1 "Corrente" from ''6 Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo'
  2. A.J. Cirone Final Study I from 'The Orchestral Mallet Player'

Mandatory Selection No. 3 - Perform one of the following works for timpani:

  1. A. Lepak No. XXIII from 'Thirty-Two Solos for Timpani': Perform on four timpani
  2. M. Peters No. 38 from 'Intermediate Timpani Studies': Perform on four timpani

Optional Selections - You can perform solos on any percussion speciality instrument(s), or any other instruments (including vocals), in order to demonstrate a skill that hasn’t otherwise been highlighted in the mandatory prepared repertoire.

Technical requirements

Snare Drum:

  1.  Perform a Buzz Roll starting at ppp to fff to ppp, over the span of approximately 30 seconds; and
  2.  Perform two phrases of ‘Central Band Patterns’, with repeats. Patterns will be provided 4 to 6 weeks prior to the audition. Patterns should be performed with open rolls, played quarter note = 116 bpm


  1.  Perform a roll on C from ppp to fff to ppp, over the span of approximately 30 seconds

Mallets (Xylophone or Marimba):

  1.  Diatonic Scales (All keys) – Major, Harmonic and Melodic Minor;
  2.  Chromatic Scale – Full practical range of the instrument; and
  3.  Arpeggios (All keys) – Major and minor triads, dominant and diminished 7ths

Scales and arpeggios

  1. All scales and arpeggio must:
    1.  be played from memory;
    2.  span two octaves (where possible); and
    3.  be played 16th notes at quarter = 92 bpm
  2. Designated scales will be followed by either:
    1.  an arpeggio built on the tonic; or
    2.  a Dominant 7th arpeggio built on the 5th degree of the scale; or
    3.  a Diminished 7th arpeggio built on the 7th degree of the scale; and
    4.  will resolve to the tonic


You will be required to sight read on the following instruments:

  1. Snare Drum;
  2. Timpani; and
  3. Mallet percussion;

Ensemble performance

Prepared pieces

You will be asked to play various styles of music on snare drum, mallets, timpani and drum set as part of a large ensemble (concert band). You will also be asked to perform one piece on drum set, as part of the jazz combo. Material will be provided 4 weeks prior to your audition.

Note: Candidates holding a university diploma in music will not have to perform theory and aural skills tests.

Theory and aural skill tests

Musical theory

A music theory test will be performed and you will recognize:

  1. signes
  2. terms
  3. chords
  4. intervals
  5. score types
  6. transposition
  7. abbreviations
  8. time signature
  9. identifying keys
  10. cadences and melody writing
  11. major, minor and other scales and modes

Aural skills

The aural skill test will including the following:

  • melodic dictation
  • incorrect notes in a given melody
  • separate dictation treble clef and bass clef
  • intervals - harmonic, melodic-ascending and descending
  • chords (triads) - major, minor, 1st and 2nd inversion and 4 notes chords: Dom7, dim7, aug7

Music Branch interview

A selection panel within the Regular Force Band will assess you. After the audition, you will be interviewed by the panel. All recordings and assessments will be sent to DHH Music for final selection.

Final selection will be based on the panel’s recommendations.

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