A student playing percussion


Many former students of the Percussion Faculty are in the UK’s leading orchestras. The backbone of our teaching has a clear orchestral bias, but today’s training covers all aspects of percussion activity, enabling you to enter the profession equipped with the musical tools of the trade.

Percussion students at the Royal College of Music enjoy the benefits of a vibrant faculty housed in a purpose-built percussion suite, which was opened by Dame Evelyn Glennie. We have dedicated practice facilities for teaching world percussion alongside the orchestral repertoire, in addition to a bespoke, state-of-the-art technology studio room for recording.

At postgraduate level, we offer the option to study marimba as a principal study instrument – an option devised in association with internationally renowned marimbist Daniella Ganeva.

One-to-one lessons

One-to-one lessons are at the very heart of every RCM student’s learning 天美影音AVience. The Percussion Faculty boasts professors with 天美影音AVience from right across the industry, which allows us to provide our students with unparalleled insights and networking opportunities. Many of our teachers hold principal positions in major orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Meet the professors

Students have the opportunity to participate in repertoire classes with players from leading orchestras and benefit from workshops given by distinguished visiting artists.

All first and second year undergraduates enjoy regular lessons on solo marimba, jazz vibraphone, Latin percussion and drum kit, in addition to timpani and orchestral percussion. In their third and fourth years, all BMus students choose just four of these disciplines, crafting a bespoke study 天美影音AVience based on the specialisations that best suit their aspirations.

We are proud to be the first UK conservatoire to have an American Drumline ensemble – the Redhocks – which has been trained by 18-times world pipe band champion, Jim Kilpatrick.

The RCM also has its own percussion quartet, PERC’M, which is professionally coached, rehearses regularly and enjoys a busy performance schedule.

Performance opportunities

Percussion students have numerous opportunities to take part in public performances as soloists, in chamber groups and in the RCM’s various ensembles and orchestras. Orchestral performances are often directed by internationally renowned conductors, providing invaluable 天美影音AVience of truly world-class rehearsal and performance. Previous guest conductors have included Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vladimir Jurowski, Holly Mathieson, Sir Antonio Pappano and John Wilson.

Our percussionists occasionally travel and enjoy performing in a variety of external venues both in the UK and overseas, and have toured with Serge Vuille, She-e Wu and David Hockings. 

The Percussion Faculty runs regular performance classes in which every student participates at least four times a term. In addition, the entire faculty performs at the RCM’s termly percussion showcases, which include solos and duos, performances by PERC’M, our percussion quartet, and the Redhocks, our American drumline.

RCM percussionists performed at the inauguration of the Francis Crick Institute, which was opened by Queen Elizabeth II, and helped set a world record for the largest drum lesson ever given, which took place at the Copper Box Arena and was adjudicated by the Guinness World Records.

Festival of Percussion

The annual RCM Festival of Percussion, London’s only annual percussion festival, is a celebration of the field. It offers a wide range of entertaining and educational events, further performance opportunities for RCM students, plus a trade fair featuring some of the most important brands in the industry.

The Festival of Percussion has attracted artists such as John Chimes, Benny Greb, Mark Guiliana, Pete Lockett, Jojo Mayer, John Riley, Ralph Salmins and Dave Weckl, as well as representatives from major London orchestras and leading percussion ensembles such as Amadinda, O Duo and 4-MALITY.

Find out more


Our purpose-built percussion suite was opened in September 2015 by Dame Evelyn Glennie. It contains spaces dedicated to specific instruments: timpani, vibraphone, marimba and orchestral percussion, as well as a multi-percussion room for recital and ensemble practice, a large main space for masterclasses and sectional rehearsals and bespoke studio room for recording.

Both the main room and the studio feature recording equipment and contain drum kit, Latin instruments, vibraphone and keyboards ready for recording sessions.

The Royal College of Music is proud to offer its students fantastic practice and performance facilities with resources to support teaching and learning. We continually improve our facilities to ensure RCM students have the best opportunities.

Key facilities at the RCM include:

  • The Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall - our primary performance venue for orchestras and large ensembles.
  • Our 400-seat Britten Theatre, home to the RCM’s thriving International Opera School.
  • A new Performance Hall, offering an alternative space for ensembles, with a retractable stage, Fazioli grand piano and variable acoustics.
  • Intimate spaces for solo and chamber performance in our Performance Studio and Parry Rooms.
  • Sound-proofed Amadeus Music Pods for private practice.
  • Over 160 pianos, including 60 grand pianos and 20 early keyboards, as well as organ rooms.
  • A Blüthner Practice Suite which holds ten Blüthner Model A upright pianos.
  • Instrument surgeries including luthier services.
  • RCM Studios: a commercial-grade facility, enabling live broadcasts around the world.
  • RCM Library with more than 200,000 scores, books and recordings in its lending collection, as well as access to more than 400 music journals.
  • Recently refurbished RCM Museum, holding more than 14,000 instruments, portraits and images, as well as a climate-controlled performance space and dedicated research facility.

Find out more about RCM facilities

Recent visiting artists

The RCM holds regular percussion masterclasses, which take place in the specialised facilities of the percussion suite. Visitors have included:

  • Colin Currie
  • O Duo
  • Peter Erskine
  • David Friedman
  • Eric Sammut
  • She-e Wu
  • Raphael Haeger, Principal Percussionist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Postgraduate marimba

The RCM is the first institution in the UK to offer solo marimba as a principal study at postgraduate level, which is available to students working towards a Master of Performance (MPerf).

This world-class study option, devised in association with internationally renowned marimbist Daniella Ganeva, provides a fabulous opportunity to study solo marimba right in the heart of one of Europe’s most spectacular cities. Students enjoy lessons and masterclasses from celebrated visiting artists including She-e Wu and Jasmin Kolberg.

She-e Wu rehearsing on marimba in the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall

We aim to prepare students for a career as a solo artist through intensive training in all aspects of solo performance, repertoire, techniques, concert programming, recording and management.

Students can expect:

  • Regular one-to-one lessons dedicated to solo marimba.
  • Regular performance opportunities with an end of year recital.
  • Ensemble and chamber music coaching.
  • Masterclassses with internationally renowned marimbists.
  • The access to state-of-the-art facilities and professional development opportunities enjoyed by all RCM students.

Audition requirements

For more information about our postgraduate marimba offering please contact our Admissions team.

Graduate destinations

RCM percussion alumni hold principal and co-principal positions in major orchestras and bands, including:

  • BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • London Symphony Orchestra
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • The Hallé
  • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

RCM graduates are achieving solo success worldwide. Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox have achieved critical acclaim and commercial success as O Duo. They have performed concertos with the BBC Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras, worked at Abbey Road and Sony studios on television and film scores, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC TV.

In addition, many of our alumni have achieved successful freelance careers as orchestral and session players across the globe.

Career development

The RCM’s Creative Careers Centre, which is recognised internationally for its innovative approach to supporting young musicians, provides an unparalleled service to current students and recent alumni. The dedicated team partners with leading consultants, reputable arts organisations and local communities, delivering unique career-building opportunities and a direct route to the music industry. 

The work of the Creative Careers Centre allows students to discover their professional identity, gain hands-on 天美影音AVience and new skills, develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and build a fulfilling professional portfolio. 

Extensive performance and teaching opportunities are available, as well as valuable guidance on CV and biography writing, concert programming, communication skills, project management, marketing and publicity, online promotion, financial matters and how to develop a business idea.

Find out more about the Creative Careers Centre 

Courses available


Bachelor of Music, BMus(Hons)


Master of Performance, MPerf

Master of Music in Performance, MMus(Perf)

Artist Diploma in Performance, ArtDip

Audition requirements

Fellowships available

Mills Williams Junior Fellowship

Constant & Kit Lambert Junior Fellowship

Please note that the audition and application process for Fellowships is not the same as it is for our courses. Please refer to the individual Fellowship pages for more details.

Contact the Percussion Faculty

If you have any general queries about percussion at the RCM please contact our Percussion Faculty Administration team. If you have any queries about auditions or the admissions process, please contact our Admissions team.

Percussion Faculty Administration

General enquiries about the operation of the faculty and consultation lessons



Admissions and general audition enquiries

+44 (0)20 7591 4362


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