Percussion at Arts Academy

Why Study Percussion at Interlochen

Enthusiasm and passion for learning are the core to studying percussion at Interlochen. A high level of artistic integrity and professionalism are the foundations on which we build. Become a part of this extraordinary program.

What You’ll Learn

Success in percussion requires a diverse experience—performing and understanding multiple instruments, techniques, and styles. At our boarding school for percussion, Interlochen Arts Academy, percussion students will develop proficiency on multiple instruments, styles, and techniques.

Experience a combination of studio classes, private lessons, percussion ensemble, and other small and large ensembles. With guidance from our excellent instructors, explore a wide variety of instruments, play in groups, and perform with and without a conductor. At Interlochen, you'll develop the discipline to rehearse on your own and acquire the skills to improve your technique and musicianship.

How to Apply

Audition Requirements

Meet the Faculty

Keith A. Aleo

Assoc. Director of Music for Classical Performance

Learn more about Keith Aleo or browse the entire Academy Music faculty.

All Faculty

Take a Mini Lesson...

...from Director of Percussion Keith Aleo. Learn how to play the triangle properly. It's harder than you might think!

Guest Artists

  • Matthew Duvall, founder, Grammy Award-winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird
  • Ji-Hye Jung, Vanderbilt University, The Collective
  • Rob Knopper, Principal Percussion, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
  • JB Leclere, Paris Opera
  • Eric Millstein, Chicago Lyric Opera, Curtis Institute of Music
  • Doug Perkins, University of Michigan
  • Mike Rosen, Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • So Percussion, quartet
  • John Tafoya, Indiana University
  • Third Coast Percussion, Grammy Award-winning quartet
  • She-e Wu, Northwestern University

Program Highlights


Interlochen is the only boarding arts high school in the United States to have a full-time percussion instructor.

Master Classes

Enjoy access to guest artists from amazing conservatory and university programs for master classes and workshops.

Performance Opportunities

Percussion students have multiple performance opportunities with our various ensembles. Please see the Explore Ensembles section for more details. We also showcase solo engagements and student recitals—as well as opportunities to play for Interlochen Public Radio.

The Music Center

Our state-of-the-art 60,000 square-foot music facility has two 3,500 square-foot rehearsal halls, two recording studios which allow for rehearsal and performance recordings in multiple venues on campus with multiple ensemble and practice rooms, and individual faculty teaching studios. Learn more about The Music Center.

Explore Ensembles


A recipient of the American Prize, the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra performs an advanced repertoire that includes symphonies, concerti, contemporary works, and original compositions.


Wind Symphony

The American Prize-winning Interlochen Arts Academy Wind Symphony presents a diverse and challenging repertoire in regular live, prerecorded, and public radio performances.



The Interlochen Arts Academy Jazz Ensemble boasts a storied history as one of the nation's most elite high school ensembles. Members develop as soloists and ensemble performers through rehearsals and performances of jazz standards and contemporary works.


Jazz Combos

Interlochen Arts Academy's jazz combos are select groups of five to eight of the jazz program's most experienced improvisers. Members flex their skills as improvisers, while practicing collaboration and ensemble communication.


Popular Music

Named for iconic backing bands of the 21st century, the Popular Music Ensembles provide hands-on learning opportunities for aspiring contemporary musicians.


A young man prepares percussion instruments

The thing that I love about this place is that I'm always given the opportunity to learn, grown, and develop as an artist, and through that growth, I'd argue that I've grown significantly as a person. I have made so many meaningful connections, both with students and faculty. Guest artist interactions have been great experiences. The experiences that I have every day with my teacher, Mr. Aleo, are invaluable to my musicianship. No matter what it is, I am always getting something out of this magical place.

Jakob, Music

College Matriculation

Recent Interlochen Arts Academy Music Division students have continued their education at the following institutions and beyond.

  • Berklee College of Music
  • Boston Conservatory at Berklee
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Curtis Institute of Music
  • Indiana University
  • The Juilliard School
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Manhattan School of Music
  • New England Conservatory
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • Rice University
  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Southern California
  • Vanderbilt University

Dive deeper into Interlochen Arts Academy with a free digital viewbook

Arts Academy Viewbook Thumbnail

In our free informational booklet, you'll learn more about: 

  • Each of our seven arts areas 
  • Renowned faculty 
  • College-preparatory academics 
  • Student resources 
  • How to apply and financial aid information 
  • And more