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Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music Search

Prin­cip­al Instru­ment II

  • Year of study: Year 3 and 4, four semesters.
  • Final assessment: Exam concert.
  • Prerequisites: Passing mark from 1st module of Bachelor of Music Performance.
  • Language of instruction: Norwegian/English.

Course description

The course is for students of percussion.

  • Percussion as a principal instrument includes
  • Snare drum, orchestral percussion (cymbal, tambourine, castanets)
  • Timpani
  • Melodic percussion instruments (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone)
  • Solo percussion setups including melodic and non-melodic instruments in combination

The course is based on Principal instrument I (UTHO11).

Learning objectives

On completion of the course, the student is expected to

  • demonstrate creativity and confidence in the genre when playing solo and in ensembles.
  • have acquired a comprehensive, balanced repertoire.
  • present music in various performance situations and be able to communicate with the audience.
  • be able to work independently and with purpose, when playing alone and in ensembles.
  • know and show an ability to reflect upon relevant academic and professional ethical issues.


The repertoire is chosen with the intention of building the widest possible repertoire within the student's interests and proficiency levels. The majority of the course is learning a new repertoire and maintaining and developing previously learned repertoire. Norwegian music, Nordic music and contemporary music should be part of the repertoire. The exam repertoire may include repertoire learned in chamber music tuition. The course places heavy demands on students’ ability to judge and create independent musical renditions.

In the course, students will mainly work on:

Principal instrument

  • Learning new repertoire.
  • Technical exercises.
  • Interpretation and performance presentation.
  • Techniques for rehearsal and learning new repertoire.
  • Instrument care
  • Electronic percussion.
  • Studying recordings and literature. Students will choose recordings and literature under supervision from their teacher.

Forum and interpretation

  • performance practice, knowledge of the instrument and repertoire.
  • developing the ability to judge and comment verbally on performances, the students' own and those of peers.
  • developing musical and verbal skills for communicating with the audience.
  • knowing the elements of a good performance.
  • ensemble and orchestral group rehearsing.
  • rehearsing audition technique.

Orchestra and chamber orchestra

  • Learning and performing repertoire common to orchestras, chamber orchestras, wind ensembles and other large ensembles from the seventeen hundreds until now.

The Academy also arranges optional courses and specialist seminars on topics like musicians' health, performance preparation, how to be a freelancer and commercial awareness.


Organisation and methods vary in this course. The student's independent work with rehearsing and material studies (recordings, literature) related to rehearsing is central. Students will participate in several organised concerts and performances.

Tuition will be organised in individual lessons, seminars, masterclasses and classes organised by the main teacher. Seminars and lectures with visiting teachers are offered, in addition to tuition with Academy teachers.

Principal instrument

  • Individual guidance and classes with the instrument instructor will take place weekly.

Forum and interpretation

  • Weekly lessons and/or projects/workshops.
  • Will be taught by several Academy teachers, as well as guest teachers.


  • Project weeks ending with concert(s).
  • A plan for repertoire, seminars, rehearsal times, concerts, instructors and conductors will be made available at the start of each academic year.
  • Student participation is regulated by instrumentation and repertoire demands. Lists of participants and final project schedules (including group rehearsals) are made available no later than three (3) weeks prior to the start of each project.

Students have registered automatically for instruction/supervision and assessment in the course in accordance with the study progress requirements set out in the individual education plan.

For an overview of the anticipated study progression, please see Organisation under the description of the individual study programme.

Course requirements

1. Compulsory participation in forum and interpretation

  • Active participation is expected. The course coordinator will keep a protocol for forum and interpretation.

2. Compulsory orchestra projects

  • Compulsory active participation in accordance with lineup needs, rehearsal schedules and guidelines from the Orchestra Committee.

3. Compulsory participation in at least two concerts in the second module

  • Concerts will be organised by the Academy if no other agreements are made.

4. Submit the principal instrument report

The report must be signed by the principal instrument teacher and must include

  • exam programme of 45 minutes Durata
  • all learned repertoire (at least 270 minutes including 1st module repertoire)
  • participation in chamber music and ensembles
  • participation in concerts, seminars and masterclasses
  • relevant literature the student has read

Deadline: Three copies of the principal instrument report must be submitted to the exam's office by 15 April in the fourth semester of the course.

Final assessment

All course requirements must be approved prior to obtaining a final assessment.

Assessment is based on learning objectives. The final assessment is given on a scale from A to E and is determined based on an exam concert at the end of the fourth year of study. Students are assessed by at least one external and two internal examiners. The Examination Committee will give the student oral feedback regarding the concert.

Exam concert

The concert is normally held at the Academy. The exam programme must include pieces for snare drum, timpani, one or more melodic instruments, as well as large percussion setups and chamber music. Pieces for drum set and/or Latin percussion may also be added. The student and principal instrument teacher will determine the exam repertoire together. In the case of disagreements, the principal instrument teacher makes the final decision.

Scope: Approx. 45 minutes (maximum 50 minutes).

New assessment

In the case of re-assessment, the same procedures apply.

Study component

Published: Apr 3, 2020 — Last updated: Mar 4, 2021