Audition Tips: See if you can find something new about yourself
Audition advice for prospective drum corps members from current members
James Fortier, 20
University of Massachusetts—Lowell
Citations 2008-2009, Spartans 2006-07, 2010-2012, Baritone and Drum Major
What do you think is important in choosing which corps to audition for?
Each and every corps has its own identity, from the music they play, the traditions they uphold, the uniforms they wear, and the attitude and philosophy that drives it. Those traits make it unique to that corps and that corps alone. When choosing where to audition, consider all of these factors and follow your heart.
How do you like to prepare for an audition?
You need to have ownership of your audition material. There are others who want that spot in the corps just as much as you do. You need to have something that separates you from your competition. Not only do you have to work hard for what you want, you need to work smart. What is the meaning of what you are playing? What is something the instructors will be looking for here? Master what you are doing to the best of your ability and don’t try cramming your practice in a week before your audition. Take the time now and grow comfortable with it.
And if your corps doesn’t have an audition packet, try making yourself stand out in other ways. Your work ethic, your confidence and interaction with fellow members/auditionees can say so much more to instructors than your playing abilities.
What was your experience like the first time you auditioned for a corps?
I was 14 when I first auditioned. I had started playing a brass instrument only six months beforehand and had no idea what I was about to get myself into. Walking through the doors of the Spartans hall was both frightening and exciting. I knew from the first moment I saw the corps perform that previous summer that I wanted to be a part of that organization, but I feared I would never make it.
What I found was a very supportive, experienced instructional staff and membership that helped me every step of the way. What they cared more about was the way you handled yourself and your work ethic. Something that I thought was going to be a scary and stressful experience turned out to be very welcoming, encouraging and life changing.
What advice would you give to somebody who is nervous or unsure about auditioning?
Being nervous and unsure is something that makes us human. It happens to the best of us. Give it a shot and see where it takes you. An audition is just not an audition; it is an experience and a life lesson. You never know what you are capable of achieving if you never take the first step out the door. Go for it and see if you can find something new about yourself.
Any other tips?
Stay relaxed, have a clear head and be prepared both mentally and physically. Make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare your materials. And, most importantly, have fun with it all! Your drum corps experience is meant to push and expand your own limitations to bring you to a new level. When the going gets tough, just take a deep breath, relax, and remember why you are auditioning for that corps in the first place.
Don’t get discouraged either if you don’t make your top-choice corps. There are plenty of other opportunities out there and corps that would love to have you as a part of their family. Check them out and, who knows, you just might have the best summer of your life!
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