The Percussion Department principal instruments include:

  • Drum Set
  • Vibraphone
  • Hand Percussion—Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Middle Eastern/North African, and West African styles and associated instruments
  • Orchestral Percussion—snare drum, mallet percussion, timpani, hand percussion, multiple percussion, and drum set technique
  • Marimba
  • Steelpan

All students at Berklee College of Music enter with a principal instrument. 

No matter what major you end up pursuing, you will complete at least four semesters of private instruction, labs, and ensembles with this instrument. This fulfills your performance core requirement.


Find Your Rhythm

By studying percussion at Berklee, you're joining the ranks of those who have played with everyone from Herbie Hancock to Dr. Dre to the Boston Pops. You'll develop a proficiency in the theoretical, conceptual, and artistic aspects of percussion, enabling you to carve out your own style while gaining the tools to adapt to changes in the professional music world.

Alumni Story

Simon Moullier B.M. '16

On the heels of graduating from Berklee, vibraphonist Simon Moullier was accepted to the highly competitive Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the University of California, Los Angeles, after auditioning for a panel of legends including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Herb Alpert.

Meet Your Mentors

Terri Lyne Carrington Named 2019 Doris Duke Artist

Terri Lyne Carrington is a Grammy Award–winning drummer and serves as artistic director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. As a 2019 Doris Duke Artist, she received a $275,000 award in recognition of her ongoing contributions to the field of jazz.

Student Spotlight

Negah Santos Fuses Dual Passions for Percussion and Social Change

Brazilian hand-percussionist Negah Santos came to the Berklee Global Jazz Institute with dual interests: drumming and social work—passions born of her upbringing in São Paulo, Brazil. Within the BGJI, she strives to further intertwine her playing and social activism.

Program Details