Contact Information/Audition Requirements

Please direct all WP Percussion-related questions to Dr. MacDonald at

For more information about the WP Music Department go HERE.

To sign up for Percussion Student for a Day go HERE. (Also called Music Major for a Day)

To apply to the WP Music Department go HERE.

WP has an out-of-state tuition waiver, which is explained HERE.

Students auditioning for the Bachelor in Music programs are required to prepare snare drum and mallet percussion. If we have time we will also hear timpani, though this is not required. If you are applying for the Bachelor of Arts degree or Bachelor of Arts in Popular Music you can just play whatever you have, on any percussion instrument.

Snare drum

Demonstrate standard rudiments and perform one rudimental solo (e.g. Wilcoxen or Pratt) or one concert solo (e.g. Cirone or Goldenburg)


All major scales, two octaves
Perform a two-mallet or four-mallet solo


Short solo or excerpt from band or orchestral repertoire

Students who have a weak background on mallet percussion can still audition for the program, but they may be accepted as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Music Studies major. As a B.A. major they can fulfill some requirements for the Bachelor of Music programs, but only for the first year, then the programs diverge. They can re-audition for the B.M. program (education, performance, management, or sound engineering arts) in the first or second semester. In order to be competitive for the fall audition it is recommended that they take lessons on mallet instruments over the summer preceding their entry into the program. The basic requirements listed above must be met before the student can commence study at William Paterson University as a Classical Music Major with a percussion specialty.

Advice? Come as prepared as you can. If you’ve been taking lessons from a good teacher you should have know that ideally you’ll want something on snare, something on mallets, and something on timpani. We don’t always have time to get to timpani but I can tell someone’s potential for the instrument based on how they play the other instruments, in combination with some of the ear training (or “audiation”) exercises we do. If you haven’t had lessons that’s okay, we still want to hear you play, but try to bring something at least on snare and mallets.

What’s more important is that whatever you play you play, you play it well. We’d rather hear an easier two-mallet piece that is well prepared than a hard four-mallet piece that isn’t in good shape. Same with snare drum or timpani or anything else. Questions? Email Dr. MacDonald and he’ll help you out:  And Dr. MacDonald offers one free lesson to any prospective student. Take advantage of this! It’s a great way to learn more about the program and he can help you get ready for the audition.

You should definitely spend some time practicing some singing before you come. Of course, this is a percussion audition, but we do ask you to sing some tonal patterns back to us so we know that you can get through the ear training program, which is required for every music major. We recommend about 15 minutes a day, sitting at a piano, and just play some simple patterns (e.g., Do, Re, Do or Do, Re, Mi, Re, Do) and then sing them back. We won’t judge the quality of your voice, but we want to know that you can match pitch. This is a VERY important part of the audition, as important as the percussion playing, so we recommend making time for it!

Finally, dress appropriately. We do appreciate it when applicants come looking nice. This is your first impression, do your best to convince us that you’re serious about music.