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Holding Auditions for Your Marching Percussion Section

Dartmouth Public Schools

Whether you are getting ready for marching band or the indoor season, the process of setting your high school line can be difficult. You need to make sure you assign the right players to each of the various instruments. Proper instrument assignment will not only give individual students a chance to achieve success but will benefit the overall group as well. Instructors should hold general auditions to prevent students from limiting their potential. A traditional one-on-one audition may not be the best procedure to use as you try to balance out your talent. Knowing each player’s attitude, work ethic and physical ability take time. Furthermore, you could have an extremely dedicated and talented player that just doesn’t come through in a one-time only audition. In my opinion, knowing who will put in the time to practice at home is an important quality to look for when setting your line.

To get started, you may want to set up two or three rehearsals to work on technique, reading, rudimental skills and marching. At the first rehearsal, you should take time to give a detailed explanation of the group’s goals and expectations. The practice schedule and time commitment should be discussed as well. During each session, keep an eye on attitude, work ethic, playing ability and improvement between rehearsals. After the three rehearsals, you may be able to set the line without having individuals try-out separately.

You may want to bring each student in for a personal interview so that you can find out more about their personalities. Knowing your performers and what their expectations are may prove to be very important.

Lastly, when making the final decision about which players will be playing which instruments, remember to spread out your talent. Avoid putting all of your best players on one instrument. By spreading out your talent, you will attain a balanced percussion ensemble. The bottom line is to create a situation where the students feel good about the audition process and you get a line that has the ability to achieve success.

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