Close-up image of a marimba

Dane RichesonOur rigorous, multi-faceted, award-winning percussion program is designed to provide the ideal undergraduate training to prepare you for the ever-changing challenges facing musicians in the 21st century.  Our graduates have gone on to become performers in every genre from classical to jazz, pop to world traditions; they have become studio teachers, classroom teachers, and professors. They are even pursuing successful careers as administrators, lawyers, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. Yes, a Lawrence Conservatory education is actually an outstanding preparation for careers outside of music as well.

The percussion curriculum draws on the techniques and styles rooted in the two cultures that have most heavily influenced our musical tradition: Western art music and the music of West Africa. At the core of the program is rigorous training in Western Classical technique. The student will gain proficiency on all keyed percussion, as well as the entire spectrum of orchestral percussion from snare to bass drum to tympani and everything in between.  At the same time, the student will study three important world music traditions rooted in West African drumming:  Ghanaian Ewe drumming and dancing, Brazilian samba drumming, and Afro-Cuban drumming and singing. For those interested in jazz, a BM in Performance with a Jazz Emphasis is an option. After gaining core technical proficiency on classical percussion, these students will focus on drum set and jazz performance while working with our award-winning Jazz Department.

Seamlessly combining world traditions, rigorous classical training, and a thorough liberal arts education creates an incredibly versatile and prepared graduate who is ready for the exciting challenges and opportunities that await! 

Adding to the long list of awards, in 2014, The Lawrence Percussion Studio won the Percussive Arts Society's prestigious Best World Music Ensemble Award, and in 2015, the studio won the DownBeat Best Latin Jazz Performance Award.

Our percussionists participate in numerous ensembles, including:



Percussionist and the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra

Percussionists at Kaleidoscope

Two percussion students working togetherSambistas rehearsing at KaleidoscopeLawrence University Percussion Ensemble group photo