With the start of the school year comes the preparation period for districts festival auditions! Districts are a great opportunity to become a more mature, well-rounded musician. Here are six ways districts will make you the star of your band program:
1.) You'll get to meet kids from other schools.
People who are a little more removed from your band program and circle of peers at school might have been exposed to instrument brands, private teachers, and performance techniques that you haven't learned yet. It's a two-way street, too; you might have something new and useful to share with the kids you meet at the festival, and it feels good to be someone's guru.
2.) You'll work with different conductors.
Each person who leads an ensemble has a different way of conducting. You'll begin to see that the conductor isn't just standing in front of the band to show everyone the beat; they're also there to interpret the music and communicate that interpretation to the entire ensemble so that the music can be played cohesively.
3.) You'll play alongside skilled peers.
We tend to rise or sink to the level of the people around us, and when you play in a group made up of the most motivated students from many area band programs, you'll find yourself watching the conductor more, listening more inclusively to the ensemble around you, and counting your rests more carefully. In short, you play at your own highest level.
4.) You'll get to play more interesting music.
School band programs need to be accessible to everyone, which means that the music isn't always the most challenging. Area music festivals, on the other hand, usually require an audition, which means that the conductor can choose more complicated music for the concert program because he or she knows the ensemble is skilled enough to do it justice.
5.) You'll gain valuable audition experience.
The only way to get comfortable in the audition setting is to spend as much time as you can auditioning for things. Districts are a low-stakes way to increase the number of auditions you take in any given school year, which you will be very glad you did if you decide later on that you want to audition for a college music program. Just like with any other skill, auditioning gets easier every time you do it.
6.) You'll add to your personal repertoire.
Districts audition pieces are usually very well-known; each time you prepare for an audition, you're also adding a staple of your instrument's repertoire to your own knowledge. These aren't pieces that you'll play just once in your life; they'll come back again and again, and it's better to start learning them sooner rather than later.
So consider auditioning for districts this year, especially if you're new to the experience. You'll be happy you did it.