Have you practiced today?

Regardless of the size of the marching band you want to join, the step up from high school marching band to a college marching band can be a big one. So, to help you put your best foot forward, take into account these tips when you step up to your college marching band audition.

• Be Prepared

The competition to join a marching band can be tough, so make sure you’re ready. And the most important aspect of being prepared is to have the fundamentals of your instrument down cold. Have a high-level solo piece and your scales in your skillset and be prepared to sight-read. You likely won’t be the top musician in the band, but it’s still important to stand out in your audition, so practice, practice, practice. Then, practice some more.

• Scout The Band Ahead of Time

Another way you can prepare for a band audition is to watch that band in person or on YouTube and get a handle on its particular style. Not all bands are the same and adapting to a new style means you may be working out of your comfort zone. Not every band marches 8 to 5 and many bands high step instead of roll stepping. If one or several elements of a band’s style are unfamiliar to you, get familiar with them before you audition. Practice those new elements before you audition until they become old hat. Then, practice some more.

• Prepare Your Instrument

If you’ve played your instrument for any length of time, you should have a general understanding of what it takes to maintain it and how often it needs to be checked. Your band audition is not the time to forget that. Just as you’ve practiced playing your instrument so your skills will be in top shape, take extra care to keep your instrument in top shape too. Your audition is no time to deal with sticky or dirty valves in your horn, moisture in your sax, or a loose drum head. Make sure your instrument is ready before you audition and, if you’re auditioning at a multi-day band camp, check it before and after each day’s session to keep in peak shape. Make instrument maintenance part of your practice routine. Then, practice some more.

• Prepare Your Body

Whether you’re attending a college marching band camp or you’ve already made the band, make sure you’re physically prepared. A college band camp will likely be more physically demanding than anything you experienced in high school, as will the practices and performances. Get in shape beforehand and keep your body fed and hydrated to ensure you have the physical fitness to keep up. Practice building your physical stamina while you’re practicing with your instrument. Then, practice some more.

• Learn How To Manage Your Time

Be punctual. Don’t be late for an audition, camp session, or practice. Don’t be slow getting into position. Your goal is to stand out, but tardiness will get you weeded out.

Further, if you’re at a band camp or you’ve already made the band, remember to manage your time wisely. Make time for classes, to study, to socialize, and some “me” time. Make time to relax and make time to rest. Going to college may mean exploring entirely new worlds, but you’ve got plenty of time to discover them all.

Finally, remember that, while your life may be all about band, it doesn’t have to be your whole life. Yes, marching band can eat up a lot of your time but, in the big picture, you still have plenty of time to do all the things. Just remember to practice smart time management, don’t be late, and make time to practice your instrument. Then, practice some more.

• Have Fun

Ultimately, marching band should be fun. Beyond that, your college experience should be fun. Yes, college marching band is serious business, and making good grades and preparing for the rest of your life is important too. But if marching band isn’t fun, then it will affect every other part of your college life. So make sure you’re ready to make the step up from high school to college marching band. And remember to practice!

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