Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Music (BM) Degree with a concentration in performance
  • Bachelor of Music (BM) Degree with a concentration in music education; major instrument in the percussion area
  • Bachelor of Music (BM) Degree with a concentration in composition; secondary instrument in the percussion area
  • Master of Music (MM) Degree in performance
  • Artist Diploma (AD) in performance
  • Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) Degree in performance


The Mason Gross percussion program offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, providing a rich curriculum of courses spanning performance practice, private instruction, practical research, and hands-on training. Classes are small, and performance opportunities are abundant. The percussion program supplies students with a firm foundation for a career in music, whether the goal is to perform, teach, or prepare for further study.


Students receive a weekly 60-minute lesson with their major performance teacher for 12 weeks of the semester. Participation in recitals and ensembles is an essential aspect of the program. At the undergraduate level, courses in music theory emphasize aural skills, analytical techniques, and the writing of tonal harmony and counterpoint. The music-history curriculum includes a rigorous examination of Western art music, principles of ethnomusicology, and a variety of special study courses. In the MM and DMA degree programs, students supplement their professional-level training in performance with courses in musicology, music theory, and music literature. The AD program is more narrowly focused on professional-level training in performance.


The Rutgers percussion faculty members perform regularly with the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, on Broadway, and with new music ensembles throughout the New York area. 

Head of Percussion: Joe Tompkins

Javier Diaz, Mike Truesdell and Kyle Zerna

Performance Opportunities

Ensemble participation is a fundamental part of students’ education in the percussion program at Mason Gross. In addition to an annual concerto competition and two chamber music competitions each year, students have ample opportunity to play in over 300 performances with large ensembles and chamber groups, and to participate in master classes and give solo recitals. Ensembles include the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Band, Sinfonia, Percussion Ensemble, HELIX! (New Music Ensemble), and the Marching Scarlet Knights.