winds brass & percussion

Woodwinds, brass and percussion at the UBC School of Music

One of the largest and most prestigious music schools in Canada, the UBC School of Music offers a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree training in performance, composition, and scholarship.

At the School of Music you will study, perform, and collaborate with some of the country's best and brightest faculty as well as student musicians and scholars. You'll have the opportunity to make lifelong friendships and establish exciting musical partnerships!

The goal of the Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion Division is to facilitate the best performance potential of each student. Enrollment is highly selective in order to provide the best possible opportunities for all students.


Private studio lessons are a central part of Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion education at the School of Music.

Our faculty are passionate teachers who care a great deal about their students. They are also award-winning musicians who perform in orchestras and ensembles around the globe, jury international music competitions, and record critically acclaimed and best-selling recordings


How to apply

Interested in applying to one of our undergraduate programs? The deadline is Jan. 15, 2020.

Interested in applying to one of our graduate programs? The deadline is Dec. 1, 2019.

Here are just a few of our faculty members:

  • Dr. Robert Taylor, Director of UBC Bands and Chair of the Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion Division

  • Julia Lockhart, Principal Bassoon with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

  • Dr. Julia Nolan, saxophonist

  • Larry Knopp, Principal Trumpet with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

  • Jeremy Berkman, Principal Trombone with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, member of the award-winning Turning Point Ensemble and A Touch of Brass Quintet

  • Jose Franch-Ballester, clarinetist and chamber musician, hailed by the New York Times for his “technical wizardry and tireless enthusiasm"

  • Vern Griffiths, Principal Percussion with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and member of Standing Wave

You can explore all Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion faculty here.

WATCH: Julia Lockhart, Adjunct Professor of Bassoon and Principal Bassoonist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, talks about her approach to studio lessons



Large and small and incredibly diverse, our student ensembles range in size from trios and quartets to the 110-member UBC Symphony Orchestra. Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion students perform in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Concert Winds, Contemporary Players, Collegium Musicum, Jazz Bands, UBC Opera productions, and diverse chamber ensembles. Check out our huge concert archive to get a sense of just how good our students are.

WATCH: The UBC Symphonic Winds perform Leonard Bernstein's "Overture To Candide" 



As much as possible, the School of Music helps students to explore and develop different career opportunities while still studying. There are a multitude of post-degree paths for musicians and music scholars. So whether you plan to pursue a career as an orchestral musician, a scholar, an educator, or a producer, you can get a head start by:

Graduates from the Wind, Brass, and Percussion Division currently work in major symphony orchestras, opera orchestras, chamber ensembles, musical theatre, early music group, and music production around the world. Many of our graduates also hold prestigious appointments in universities, colleges, and public schools. 



Our music students rehearse and perform in UBC's world-class concert halls and performance spaces. From the state-of-the-art Chan Centre for Performing Arts, one of North America's premier musical venues, to the historic Old Auditorium and intimate Roy Barnett Recital Hall, you will have the opportunity to train and grow as a professional musician in front of enthusiastic audiences.


The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts is one of three venues where UBC Music students rehearse and perform. Photo: Tim Matheson



Prospective students can meet faculty members by attending any number of concerts on campus from now until April. We invite you to attend our large ensemble concerts, performed by the UBC Choirs, Bands, and Orchestra, Opera productions held in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts and the Old Auditorium.

Email for free tickets for certain events. A lot of our chamber music, divisional recitals, and student recitals are already free — just come and see.  If you’re applying from a distance, check out our concerts on Livestream and imagine yourself here!



Do you have questions about the application process? You are not alone! Sometimes the application process can seem complicated. If you'd like to talk to someone about the graduate or undergraduate programs here at the School of Music, please do get in touch. 

Katherine Evans, Manager of Admissions, is your primary contact for the undergraduate (B.Mus. and Diploma) programs. Juliet O'Keefe, the Graduate Admissions Secretary, is your contact for graduate program information. Robert Ablenas is our Music Advisor and can provide detailed information about certain programs.

Updated from December 22nd, 2017

More audition advice!

The BMus auditions are almost here, and we've got more sage advice from our faculty. This will be of particular interest to prospective students of voice and of wind, brass, and percussion.

From Dr. Robert Taylor, Chair of the Wind, Brass and Percussion Division:

Dr. Robert Taylor

Dr. Robert Taylor

  1. Prepare diligently! Your audition is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your musical strengths.
  2. Read the audition requirements carefully and prepare all of the required selections. Whenever possible, listen to multiple recordings of the required pieces so that you understand the context of each passage.
  3. Be professional and make a good first impression. Dress appropriately. The faculty panel may ask you some informal interview questions. 
  4. Warm-up and arrive early with your instrument tuned and ready to go. Bring your assembled instrument and sheet music. It’s not possible to leave your instrument in the practice room unattended, so please bring your cases and materials. It’s possible that you could leave some things in the hall with the audition assistant, or bring them into the audition room with you if you like. 
  5. If sightreading is asked: scan the music silently before you begin. Choose an appropriate tempo so that you can perform at your best without stopping. Play as musically as possible, paying close attention to all expressive markings (and adding interpretive decisions of your own!).
  6. Take some risks, communicate your interpretive intent, and remember that auditions are an important educational experience. Everybody in the room wants you to do well. Break a leg!
Prof. Nancy Hermiston

Prof. Nancy Hermiston

From Professor Nancy Hermiston, Chair of the Voice/Opera Program:

For the singers, we want you to know that we are very happy that you have decided to audition for us and we are looking forward to hearing you sing!  Please don’t be nervous — we are singers too and we are a positive, friendly audience! You should sing whatever pieces that show your own individual voice at its best.

We are looking for singers who can communicate the song to the audience, no matter what language it is in, and move the audience with their performance. We are looking for students who have good potential for future development; who love performing and love being part of a program that challenges them musically, intellectually and encourages them to be socially responsible individuals who give back to their community and will become global citizens.

Our program is diverse, interesting and large enough to challenge our students but small enough so that the student will not feel lost. Students receive the individual attention required to help them be the best that they can be and to achieve their goals. We offer our students a very high standard in their performance and academic subjects and give them many opportunities for international performance experience during their undergraduate degrees!

As always, please direct any questions to Katherine Evans, Admissions Manager, at

Video: Meet Julia Lockhart, Adjunct Professor of Bassoon

The Admissions blog is the place to meet School of Music faculty and go behind the scenes in their studios. First up is Julia Lockhart, Adjunct Professor of Bassoon, Principal Bassoonist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra:

Our faculty compose music regularly heard on the world’s stages, perform around the globe, publish in top journals, jury international music competitions, and record critically acclaimed and best-selling recordings