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NYU Timpani Guild: Master’s Timpani Focus

Percussion Studies

Instructor: Jason Haaheim, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra principal timpanist

The NYU Timpani Guild master’s focus curriculum is designed for ambitious and aspiring timpanists. Intensive training and practice will prepare you for myriad forms of orchestral timpani auditions. In addition to extensive technical studies, you will study the philosophy of auditioning, implementation of deliberate practice, time management, practice session structure, and mental conditioning. We proceed from the axiom that “auditioning” cannot be defined as a discrete single-goal-based event, but rather as a process incorporating many events over a long period of time. Our focus will be on the process rather than the product; a good process will ultimately yield good results


The master’s timpani focus has been formulated to ensure that all elements are supporting the primary goal of orchestral timpani refinement for audition-taking. Our program offers several unique elements that add tremendous value.

  • Deliberate practice forms the core structure of the program, and Professor Haaheim is a leading expert on the science of it. You will focus intently on the biomechanics of technique and how this relates to multi-dimensional concepts of timpani tone, with the goal of making your practicing the smartest and most efficient it can be, helping you become a polished and thoughtful artist.
  • You’ll take Professor Haaheim’s “The Process of Auditions” course, formulated to provide a comprehensive approach to auditioning – starting with one’s basic orientation to the process and progressing through advanced topics like consistently achieving peak performance and managing performance anxiety.
  • Your ensemble performance opportunities will be reinforced and integrated by attending rehearsals at the Metropolitan Opera – a unique and excellent value for aspiring timpanists.
  • The Percussion program’s robust studio class and masterclass offerings are augmented by “timpani lab,” with multiple sessions per semester dealing with often-overlooked elements of timpani performance and auditioning. In addition, “applied stage time” allows you the opportunity to perform in workshop settings in the large performance spaces at the Metropolitan Opera. 
  • In place of the traditional master’s recital, you will perform an extensive mock audition, simulating multiple rounds of a real timpani audition.

Applied Lessons

You'll receive 15 lesson hours per semester with Professor Haaheim. Lessons will take place not only in the NYU Steinhardt Percussion Penthouse but also in the Metropolitan Opera's rehearsal and performance spaces, allowing for assessments of timpani sound and clarity in bigger spaces, a critical factor in mock auditions.
The core timpani audition repertoire will be the focus of your studies. These pieces contain a wide variety of tricky problems to solve, and the way you perform them reveals much about your overall timpani playing. The entire reason this system works is rooted in the deliberate practice concepts of enhanced perception, and it is through that lens that we will work to refine the most essential elements of timpani playing.


Timpani available:
  • One set of Adams Dresden Classics (32”, 29”, 26”, 23”), American configuration
  • Two sets of Yamaha 7300s (32”, 29”, 26”, 23”, 20”)
  • Two Sets of Adams Professional Generation II (32”, 29”, 26”, 23”, 20”)

MM curriculum

Audition information for the master’s timpani focus.

MM in Percussion Studies information.

Contact Us

Jason Haaheim, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra principal timpanist

Jonathan Haas, Program Director