Reply To: Audition Criteria
In the spring, we have auditions. We don’t have “set criteria” for the top group (other than clarinets must play 2 octave scales to be considered). Kids must perform a common etude (everyone has the same assigned), 30-40 measures of a piece of their choosing, and major/chromatic scales. From there, it’s pretty easy to determine who should be in the top group and who shouldn’t.
Other considerations: we encourage students to audition for the All State Band. Any student who makes it automatically goes into the top group, and will knock out someone who didn’t try out.
We do open challenges a few times during the year where the upper portion of the second band can challenge a player in the lower seated portion of the top group. Keeps the kids on their toes, but does cause small drama once in awhile.
If a kid is on the bubble, and is a hard worker, I will typically take them. We have around 75 in the top group and 100 in the second group. I’ve often thought of whittling the top group down more, but we’re already on the bubble of needing a third band…and we don’t have the staff or facilities to do it right now. I’m not a believer in slicing your group down to 40 or 50 kids just to play even more advanced literature. I think the more kids you can get to experience music at a higher level, the better your group is going to get in the long run (within reason obviously). For us, it’s the difference between class A and AA music. But, our kids are improving at a faster rate overall. Just my opinion.