Audition Tips: Go in with an open mind
Audition advice for prospective drum corps members from current members
Jenna Wojdula, 19
Central Michigan University, Music Education
Legends Mellophone, Drum Major, 4 years
What do you think is important in choosing which corps to audition for?
When choosing a corps to audition for, you should probably do some homework. Research the corps you've heard of, and see what they're all about. Look at their views on membership, music, and the activity itself. After that, try and find some videos of the corps rehearsing and performing. See how they run their rehearsals and how they perform. Ask yourself if you like their marching technique, their sound, their style, and the musical selections they tend to choose.
How do you like to prepare for an audition?
To prepare for an audition, make sure to read through and understand all of the audition materials and be well prepared. This can apply to music and marching techniques, as well as repertoire. Other than that, I like to make sure I am mentally prepared to take constructive criticism from all instructors and be ready to learn. Much of the audition process is based on whether you are a hard worker, an easy person to work with, and if you work well with the group. So, go in with an open mind, be ready to work, and have fun!
What was your experience like the first time you auditioned for a corps?
Funny story, my main instrument is the flute. When I first decided to audition, I didn't even know what a mellophone was. When I asked my band director, she handed me a dusty old case, a beginner's trumpet book and said, "Here you are! Go learn!" Needless to say, I had a few difficulties when I showed up to my first rehearsal not knowing how to buzz the mouthpiece or being able to hold up my horn. I pushed through the whole weekend, putting everything they were teaching me to practice, but I knew my skills were nowhere near "drum corps ready."
At the end of the weekend, I was shocked when the brass supervisor pulled me aside. "Go home, practice, and come back ready to work" was the gist of the conversation. Since then, I've learned that hard work and dedication really do pay off!
What advice would you give to somebody who is nervous or unsure about auditioning?
There is nothing to be worried about at an audition, so why waste the energy? Everyone at an audition, from the staff to the others auditioning, want to see you succeed; whether by instructing you, or standing beside you and giving their own personal best, they're there to help. Even if you feel your skills aren't up to par, you may be surprised by the results of the weekend. If nothing else, audition for the experience. It may prepare you for other auditions, or situations in life (like job interviews) where you will be judged on your performance.
Any other tips?
Above everything else, be yourself. Like I said earlier, a part of the audition process is seeing how well you and your personality works with the group. So, relax and let your personality shine through. And don't take yourself too seriously, you are going to make mistakes; everyone does. Don't worry too much about missing a tricky rhythm, horn move, or rifle toss; the important part is knowing how to fix it. Relax, you'll be fine.
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