I highly recommend that all of my students to audition for District Honor Band and All-State each year. Double-reed players have a good chance at being selected.
What is District Honorband? A Friday-Saturday event in your district, involving rehearsals in a band with a guest clinician, ending with a concert. It is a special honor to be chosen and students who go to this event are often considered for other opportunities like Mid-Fest, Jan-Fest, or camp scholarships.
What is All-State Band? A Thursday-Saturday event in Athens, GA, involving rehearsals in a band/orchestra with a guest clinician, ending with a concert.
When is the Audition? The 1st-round All-State audition for MS is the 1st Saturday in December (the 2nd Saturday for HS). This audition is also used to determine District Honor Band eligibility.
If students receive a high enough score (out of 100, cutoffs vary by instrument), they attend the 2nd round audition in early January to be considered for All-State.
What is involved in the 1st-round audition? On the audition day, students go to the school that is hosting the event. Students warm-up in the gymnasium or cafeteria, then find their audition rooms. Inside the room are 2 judges who will not be able to see the students, and there will also be a monitor who invites students into the room and communicates with them.
Each student receives a score out of 100: 10 points - a memorized chromatic scale 30 points - memorized major scales, 1 point per correct octave and arpeggio 30 points - etude (a short piece of music, not memorized) 30 points - sight-reading (a short, easier piece of music that students get to study for 30 seconds and then play) For the exact scales, etudes, chromatic ranges, and score sheets, go to www.gmea.org. The new etudes are released in August each year.
What is involved in the 2nd-round Audition? 2 etudes (the same one used for the 1st audition, plus the technical etude) 2 sight-readings (1 lyrical, 1 technical) No Scales
What Else Do I Need to Know Before I Audition? 1. Practice. The scales/etude need to be ready by the end of October for you to be well-prepared. You should expect other students to show up and play their scales like well-oiled machines. 2. You may play a few notes in the audition room before starting your scales. If the monitor or judges forget to offer this, do it anyway. 3. Managing Performance Anxiety:
Do not go to your audition room until your assigned time. Waiting in the hallway forever usually makes students feel nervous.
Be well-prepared. You cannot "cram" for an audition. Order your good reeds in early October.
Play for your family, friends, and band directors.
Be on the lookout for All-State help clinics or mock auditions at local schools.
Enjoy the music. Have some fun with it.
You will make a mistake. You're human and it's ok. Let it go and sound great for the rest of your audition.
What's the worst that can happen? The judges do not know who you are, and no one gets hurt, right?
4. Interpret results constructively:
Do not look at your score as a school grade. Scores in the 80s and 90s are rare. It's just a number relative to how others performed that day.
It is possible to make the 2nd-round audition but not District Honor Band (and vice versa).
Not all District Honor Band participants are chosen based on scores (after the first 1 or 2 chairs, it is also about school representation). Not being chosen does not mean you are not a good musician. An audition is only a snapshot of how you played at a particular moment, and it can also come down to the judge's personal taste.
You might be competing against older students with more experience, but you should still try...give them a run for their money! Next year, you will have the advantage over students who are auditioning for the first time.
I am proud of you for auditioning, no matter the result. :)