Audition Now!

Mike Lawson • Percussion • November 4, 2018

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After honing those marching and playing skills during fall band programs, it’s time to join thousands of young performers in their quest to be a part of Drum Corps International in 2019.

Auditions are in full swing, so here are some tips to help students be successful. Every corps has unique processes and requirements, but there are some basic skills and personal qualities that apply to every student who auditions. And the most important thing? PREPARATION.

Know the Process

Prospective corps members should understand the audition expectations of the corps. Do the research and get the facts. Go to to see the complete guide to DCI auditions along with a comprehensive list of dates and locations for auditions for ensembles across the country.

Next, follow through on finding out exactly what the corps wants to see through the audition process. Students should get to know the required audition materials forward and backward.

The more they know, the better impression they will make, and the more comfortable they will be during the weekend audition “camps.”

School music directors can assist students by making the most of personal knowledge and resources. Give your students that invaluable support in music, color guard, movement, and the audition process itself. After all, any music instructor who has been through many types of auditions themselves can likely share insights with students as a trusted advisor. Remember — the more the students know ahead of time, the more successful they can be.

As always, directors and staff of DCI ensembles will tell prospective members to focus on developing their complete marching music performance skill set:

Aptitude – demonstrate proficiency on their instrument or equipment through strong fundamental principles at every level.

Precision – march with precise foot timing and proper posture.

Physicality – be the best musician-athlete possible, isolating the upper body (musician) from lower body (athlete) and strengthening both.

Competence – rehearse audition materials well and perform them convincingly.

Commitment – demonstrate strong personal work ethic and dedication to improving skills.

Cooperation – display willingness to accept constructive feedback on performance while working with other members and staff.

Take It to the Next Level

While underlying skills are extremely important, there are additional qualities the corps want to see in would-be members. Technical preparation is critical, but so are the “intangibles” – the ability to learn quickly, a positive attitude, and availability to attend the required events.

Corps staff members running auditions generally want to see confidence, concentration, consistency, and continued effort throughout the audition weekends. How students work at the end of the camp is as important as how they begin the weekend.

Is there still enthusiasm for learning? Are the prospective members still contributing with their best performance? Audition camps are an incredible opportunity for students to learn. Every camp will offer young performers the opportunity to leave with more knowledge than they had when they arrived.

Things to Keep in Mind

Not every performer who auditions makes their “first-choice” corps on the first try. That certainly doesn’t mean that 2019 is out of reach. Since there are many World Class and Open Class corps and SoundSport organizations throughout the country, trying another corps can provide the opportunity to gain proficiency and be a part of the action – all providing life-changing music and leadership experiences in the fastest growing performance activity in the country.

Additional tips for success:

• Plan logistics for auditions. Register with the corps and schedule travel/housing.

• Be prepared. Period.

• Arrive ready to learn.

• Listen and take notes.

• Make new friends and learn from them.

Whether it’s the first DCI audition or one for a drum corps veteran, the most important thing is to soak up the experience and have fun!

The 2019 Drum Corps International Summer Tour is waiting!

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