IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL CONCERT BAND AUDITIONS FOR NEXT SPRING – 2020:
In case you have not heard yet, the high school “concert band” will be split in to two classes/bands next Spring (2020). This has been needed for quite a while here at BHS. It is a very good thing for our students and our program such that varying levels of students will receive more specialized instruction, better scaffolded to their needs. In order for the school to schedule students’ classes for next year, we have to have the auditions for this band split, soon. Therefore, all students who will be participating in Concert Band next Spring (2020) will need to have an audition about a month from now. Requirements and dates are below.
Since this development is still very new, I don’t have all the details worked out yet in terms of after school rehearsals and performance requirements – how that will work with having two different bands. Those details will be figured out later. The upper band will be a “Wind Ensemble” made up of the top-scoring students in each section. Then, we will have a “Symphonic Band”. One of the bands will meet 1st block and the other will meet 4th block in the Spring. Based on the way AP classes are scheduled at BHS (2nd & 3rd blocks), this makes it so there should be limited conflicts with students scheduling their desired classes. In the case of a student needing/wanting to take one of thevery few classes that is only offered during one block, and it conflicts with the band they are placed in, we will do our best to work out an accommodation. The band class in the Fall (mostly marching band, through October) will not be split – all students will still meet 4th block, whether in Football Band or Competition Band (which will have different group auditions – separate email about those dates, coming).
Naturally, there will be a “cut-off” for the Wind Ensemble and while it will be limited numbers for each section, said numbers are not permanently set. There are lots of considerations for “numbers” including instrumentation for both bands. The cut-off will be based solely on students’ exhibited skill level in the audition and will not consider grade level. This means incoming freshmen can very well make the Wind Ensemble and seniors are not guaranteed a spot just by virtue of age ( – just like chair placement auditions have always maintained).
Again, this is a very good thing for our band and our school. I am very excited for this change and how the opportunity will give the students and me more time and room to grow!
*Parents, I will be speaking with students (including our upcoming 9th graders) about this audition process. Especially for our current 8th graders, this should not be and we don’t want it to be a stressful endeavor. Mr. Williams has been doing a great job better preparing our students to know their scales and develop instrumental techniques. The “prepared piece” excerpts below are from the high school all state etudes which may be very challenging for our 8th graders, but the audition requirements are structured to simply help us assess our students fairly, and best schedule them for next Spring’s band classes. In short, please make sure your students understand that while we do want them to prepare (they should always be practicing) they should not stress about it, as I am just looking to see/hear what their skill level is in a brief audition with me.*
1. 8 major scales – any 8 the student prefers to play.**Important notes about scales: – Knowing a scale means you have it memorized such that your muscle memory (and/or note understanding) executes it with very limited difficulty. If you have to struggle to remember it or put it together in the audition, you don’t really know it and may be asked to move on.**- Extra scales/octaves for extra credit will not be allowed for this audition.
2. Prepared piece excerpt (a link to the Google Drive folder where excerpts (and scale sheets) can be printed is at the bottom)FLUTES: a minimum of 7 measures to a maximum of 11 measures from the beginning of the High School Lyrical (HSL) All State audition piece.CLARINETS: a minimum of 6 measures to a maximum of 9 measures from the beginning of the High School Lyrical (HSL) All State audition piece.ALL OTHER WINDS: a minimum of 8 measures to a maximum of 16 measures from the beginning of the High School Technical (HST) All State audition piece.PERCUSSION: a minimum of 6 measures to a maximum of 9 measures from the beginning of the High School All State MALLET audition piece.
3. Tone/Technique assessment: As with any instrumental audition, tone (& technique) is a prioritized aspect of performance. The students’ tone (& technique) will be scored throughout their audition and factored in to their composite score.
**Important and helpful notes about excerpts: – In order to keep auditions moving and expedite the process which can become very long when students frequently stop because they are not prepared or able to proceed, I will ask them if they know the content and give them one or two additional opportunities to resume playing before their audition will conclude. Please understand I will be supportive and helpful but the audition cannot become a lesson and we have to keep them moving.- The excerpts are chosen and designed (by selection of etude and length) to challenge the students but make some portion of it achievable for all. I realize not all students will be able to play all requirements. Nevertheless, we need equal content requirements but with room to adjudicate “top” students. Therefore, again, students need not stress. They should simply prepare what they can with what they have been taught/learned up to this point in their education. Often times, preparing for auditions is what makes students better.– Students can play whatever tempo they choose (however slow they need) and will not be penalized for playing slowly, but will be given more credit for playing up to the written tempo of the excerpt. Slower + more accurate is always better than Faster + inaccurate. – Students can lower notes an octave if certain notes exceeds their range playing ability, but they need to be prepared to do so while maintaining melodic and rhythmic integrity.
DATES/TIMES:Current high school band students = March 25, 26 and 28 (M/T/Th) during 4th block class and after school, by sign-up sheetUpcoming 9th grade band students = April 1, 3, 5 after school (M/W/F) – by sign-ups – I’m working on an online sign-up and will get that out soon.
LINK TO GOOGLE DRIVE FOLDER TO ACCESS EXCERPTS:https://tinyurl.com/aba-all-state-2019
– click on “High School Scales & Exercises” Folder (not middle school)- click on your instrument – click on “HST” or “HSL” or “Mallet” depending on what the instructions said
LINK TO Univ of South AL staff playing excerpts:https://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/music/allstate/highschool.html
– these professors are of course playing them at tempo but, again, students can (and should) play “down tempo” for accuracy.