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Thread: Military Audition Preparation

  1. Military Audition Preparation

    I recently completed my Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and went straight to grad school to further my music studies. I am ready to join the military and have scheduled an audition for the beginning of April.

    I have been instructed to choose three selections of contrasting style (these are NOT limited to solos). The selections may also be excerpts, jazz licks etc..

    So far, I have come up with portions of: Csardas, Vaughan Williams Concerto for BassTuba Mvt. 2, and the Gregson Concerto for Tuba Mvt. 3

    I am not sold on my selections and want to make sure I make the best decisions possible. I am open to doing excerpts, etudes etc...

    Please Help! Thank you!

  2. Military Audition Preparation


    There is a wealth of really good audition tips under the Euph Auditions link.

    Good luck.

  3. #3

    Military Audition Preparation

    For whom are you auditioning? Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard? All of the above?

    Depending on the level of the audition, meaning one of the premier bands or one of the line/fleet bands, what you choose to play can make a difference.

    Please explain more about your upcoming audition(s).

    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-Fifties)
    Adams E2 Euph (built 2017)
    Boosey & Co. Imperial Euph (built 1941)
    Edwards B454 Bass Trombone (built 2012)
    Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tuba (built 1958)
    Kanstul 33-T lBBb tuba (built 2010)
    Shen 3/4 upright bass (who cares?)

  4. Military Audition Preparation

    This audition will be specifically for an Army Post Band, although, I am not against the idea of going Marines. This is not a premier band audition, however, this does not take away from the level of preparation I would like to achieve. I love playig my tuba and love going to the gym. I am joining the Armed forces for the physical challenge as much as I am for the musical challenge.

    I want to blow this auditioner out of the water and have the chops to do so. Please let me know what pieces/excerpts/etudes or what not to prepare. I am game for anything.

  5. #5

    Military Audition Preparation

    When I auditioned for the Army band program in 1975, the audition material was called the "Watkins-Farnum" test. It was based entirely on sightreading, since most auditionees had never seen it before. The material took you through all sorts of meters and keys and was designed to find weak points.

    Times have changed, according to Command Sergeant Major Joseph Camarda, the CSM of the Army School of Music that is still, for the foreseeable future, housed in the same physical structure as the Naval School of Music. Both schools are at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, VA, which lies between Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

    To have a successful audition, the upshot is, you already named several pieces that you would perform. Those will be perfectly okay. What the auditioners are looking for is general musicianship, i.e., how well do you play the prepared pieces? Do the prepared pieces take you through the range of the instrument, meaning do they showcase your technical ability, slow melody ability, phrasing, articulation, flexibility, tone quality, dynamic range, etc.? The more of this you can do, the better. It does no good to play blazingly fast in a flurry of notes when you can't play a whole note in tune and at triple pianissimo.

    Another important point, particularly for the Army: These days, they are targeting conservatory/university graduates and those with significant musical experience, meaning "the road," for recruitment. This means, of course, that the Army expects the candidate to already have had a measure of musical training to include sightsinging, theory, form, as well as capable instrumental skills. The reason for this is, the Army intends to get the basic training graduate through the SOM in 10 weeks, as opposed to the Navy's 6 months. They want you in the band, not parked in school.

    If you can double on any other instrument (euph, trombone, bass trombone, electric/string bass or even singing, for example) you absolutely need to demonstrate those skills, even if it's not as developed as your tuba skills. You get extra points for being diverse.

    I would imagine there is still a sighreading element to the audition, but that will likely take you through some standard wind ensemble literature. A couple that come to mind include Mendelssohn's "Fingal's Cave," marches of all types and composers (ability to hold a steady tempo is what they're looking for here), and perhaps some Stan Kenton charts that have a tuba part in them.

    Be comfortable with swing rhythms, latin rhythms and the like. Again, diversity is key.

    I'm not well-versed in the tuba audition literature well enough to quote actual pieces, but I'd say what you've already mentioned will be just fine -- just be prepared, meaning the old adage "if you can't play the piece/excerpt five times in a row at tempo without an error, you're not prepared enough" very much holds true.

    Show confidence without arrogance, humor and a willingness to listen, and you should do fabulously.

    Good luck! And thank you for considering military service.

    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-Fifties)
    Adams E2 Euph (built 2017)
    Boosey & Co. Imperial Euph (built 1941)
    Edwards B454 Bass Trombone (built 2012)
    Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tuba (built 1958)
    Kanstul 33-T lBBb tuba (built 2010)
    Shen 3/4 upright bass (who cares?)

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