Matthew Black, 21 Eastern Illinois University Colts Snare Drum, 2008-2010 How did you choose your corps? I wanted to study with the staff members who were teaching at Colts and gain experience at the level I felt comfortable with at the time. What was the experience like the first time you auditioned for a corps? It was very clinic based. The staff was great at giving all the auditionees time on their prospective instruments. The instruction was focused on bettering all members' playing whether they looked like they were talented enough to make the corps or not. What's the best way to prepare for an audition? Completely memorize all the music. Drum corps is about making it look easy. When you show up to camp you're going to be given tweaks on things like technique and your thought processes. With the audition materials memorized you can focus on those things without having to worry about the music you didn't learn. You'll also more than likely receive new music at the camp. You'll want to have everything memorized beforehand so you can spend your extra time before bed and on meal breaks just working on that stuff. What would you say to someone who is unsure whether or not to audition for a drum corps? Do it! And audition at various places. I can say with confidence that I learned as much if not more at auditions than I did in my combined three years of drum corps. It's the only place that you can get a hands-on experience with all three components: 1. Clinical time. 2. Hands-on time in the one-on-one audition with the instructor. 3. Time playing with people that are better than you. Under any other circumstance you'd have to go somewhere separate for each of these and pay much more! More important than any of this though is networking and friendships! Drum corps is about family. These people are going to be your brothers and sisters for three months over the summer. Get to know them now so you have friends on tour to help you get through. My best friends are all people who I marched with. They're the first people I call when I hit troublesome times or have something exciting happen in my life. Any other advice? The best advice I ever got from an instructor was from Mike McIntosh who's now with the Cavaliers. His advice was to "be your own worst critic." While preparing for the audition take this approach. Create a game plan and schedule for your practice and preparation for the camp. For example, if you have five exercises to work on, work on each for 15 minutes, and spend an hour on one each day. Two hours of practice a day for a month is pretty reasonable for preparing for camp. This will help ensure memorization and comfort at various tempos so that you can be the most comfortable at camp. The more comfortable you are at camp, the more you can take in, and the more confidence you can convey to the staff. Learn more about corps audition dates, locations and additional info.