About the Percussion Program

The New Jersey City University Percussion Area is building our students for success in the future. Our percussion faculty works as a team and we all interact with our students. We communicate regularly so our students are given the best, well rounded education we can provide.  Our main objective is to help our students reach their maximum potential; which is well beyond where most of them realize. Versatility is the goal for our undergraduates. It is best to be prepared for as many situations as possible; able to adapt to varied environments and having a better chance at earning a living, becoming a great teacher or successfully auditioning for a quality graduate school. At NJCU a  standard and thorough classical percussion education is merged with solid instruction in drum set, jazz vibes, electronics, contemporary percussion, hand percussion and more.

Fundamentals are stressed early on. This will create a strong foundation on which more advanced skills can be built.

Our classical percussion majors also study drum set and vibes.  Jazz majors may also study percussion and perform in our percussion ensemble. All percussion and drum set majors should take our Fundamental Percussion and Hand Percussion classes offered at NJCU.  Our Fundamental Percussion class covers cymbals, tambourine, triangle, bass drum and more.  It is imperative that students learn how to play these instruments properly. Our Hand Percussion class is focused on traditional and popular approaches to the standard Latin Percussion and additional world percussion instruments. These skills are also taken into the ensemble setting in our Latin Big Band.  Our percussion students are taught how to work with electronics both as a programmer and performer. We also strongly urge our students to take our courses dealing with notational programs, Pro Tools, arranging and developing a positive social media presence.

We present the NJ Percussion Festival annually. Guest artists are invited to teach, perform and adjudicate local high school percussion ensembles.  Recent guest artists include Colin McNutt, Nebojsa Zivkovic and members of the Philadelphia, New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera orchestras.

The NJCU Percussion Ensemble:

The NJCU Percussion Ensemble performs a mix of repertoire which includes the classics (Varese, Harrison, Rouse, Chavez), music for keyboard ensemble (Maslanka, Peters, Musser), world percussion and new works commissioned and premiered by us.  We often have guest artists, including Bob Becker, Makoto Nakura and Michael Burritt, to come and solo with our group. While here the soloists also present a master class for our students. We also integrate educational works, which feature our younger students in lead roles.

    About Our Percussion Area Coordinator

    Greg Giannascoli with percussion

    Grammy nominated marimba and percussion artist Greg Giannascoli was a winner of the 2001 Artist International New York Recital / Young Artist Competition and was also top prizewinner of the 1997 Patrons of Wisdom International Young Artist Competition.


    The NJCU Percussion Faculty


    Greg Giannascoli:

    • Coordinator of the Percussion Area
    • Percussion Ensemble
    • Applied Lessons
    • Keyboard Percussion

    Rolando Morales-Matos:

    • Hand Percussion
    • Fundamentals 
    • Applied Lessons
    • Vibes

    David Mancuso:

    • Applied Lessons

    Juan Mendoza:

    • Drum Set
    • Rudimental Snare Drum