Reply To: Audition Criteria
I think it’s good to have a pre-determined standard for the level of excellence you require to be in the higher level band. If a freshman can play at that level, then he should be allowed to perform. I would rather have a small ensemble of advanced players than fill the seats to make a larger ensemble. A playing test is really the best way to judge ability. Allow students to practice a piece at the caliber of the advanced ensemble and at a scheduled audition, judge the prepared piece as well as some sight reading. An advanced player should be able to sight read with correct notes/rhythms and sound decent and the prepared piece will tell you whether or not your player is interested in putting time and effort into learning. I would have auditions only at semester changes since the ensemble needs to function and constant additions/subtractions would disrupt the balance. Once a student is admitted into the advanced band I wouldn’t make them re-audition year after year, but I would stress that the advanced ensemble is a privilege that can be taken away if a student is pulling his own weight.
You need to decide for yourself what level the advanced band should be playing at and then only accept players who can play at that level. Doesn’t matter the age, simply the ability. Pick a piece and find players who will be able to rise to the challenge!