'Trigger' class with Amy Knoles
Trigger class with Amy Knoles
As part of the InstrumentalArts suite of offerings, Percussion studies provides students resources with which to gain a broad comprehensive understanding of the percussion field, and the means to develop high-level technical skills on numerous instruments. The focus is on acquiring cultural fluency and the resources necessary to pursue careers in a wide array of musical situations.

Percussion students are immersed in rigorous training in a performance-focused curriculum. As they advance, students are encouraged to pursue their own individual objectives, such as engaging in creative cross-cultural and cross-stylistic collaborations that bridge Western classical, new music, electronics, jazz and global perspectives on music. The curriculum covers traditional classical study, intensive chamber music and percussion ensemble experiences, improvisation, and electronic percussion, as well as the School’s principal conducted faculty-student group, The Ensemble at CalArts. This may be augmented with studies in jazz, Persian, Latin, West African, North Indian and Indonesian percussion, among other traditions.

CalArts’ extensive instrument collection includes all standard percussion instruments for orchestra and jazz, a vast array of electronic percussion controllers, a variety of instruments from around the world, and many non-traditional, custom-built and found instruments. Advanced students also often design and construct their own specialized percussion instruments in the Institute’s well-equipped Supershop.


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