Drum Corps Auditions

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hkfan736, Nov 1, 2006.

  1. hkfan736

    hkfan736 New Friend

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    Dec 19, 2005
    I'm auditioning for The Academy this December, and I was hoping for a few words of guidance for preparing for auditions and camps. My main issue will most likely be endurance, but any advice is more than welcome. Oh, I am a sophmore in high school, if that might matter. And yes, I have a private teacher, but I like a variety of perspectives.
     
  2. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

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    I marched with Academy in '04 and '05. (skiped out last year, that turned out to be a regretful move) But I'm doing it again this year since I'm not in the finacial position to live in Santa Clara quite yet....

    I'll post something helpfull later, but I just realized I have class on the other side of campus in 10 mins!

    What highschool are you from?
     
  3. hkfan736

    hkfan736 New Friend

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    Dec 19, 2005
    I'm from Great Oak in Southern California, so this is a bit of a commute for me, but it's a better alternative than Esperanza, who's future isn't looking so bright. I've been a fan of The Academy since I saw them in June last year, so when one of the staff at my school, an '06 ageout of SCV, told me to audition there instead of at Esperanza, I ran with the idea. Now I'm all signed up to be there at the audition camps.
     
  4. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

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    Ok. The main thing that The Academy (and most other corps) looks for is strong work ethic and good attitudes. When I marched in '04, I had 1 year of marching experience from high school, and I was pretty bad at trumpet in general. If the auditions were purely based on talent, I would have been at the bottom of the cut list. But if you go in there and work you're butt off while keeping a positive attitude, stay focused on every instruction that the staff gives you, you'll make it even if you're not a very strong player or marcher (marching corps all summer will make a strong player/marcher, and the staff knows it, that’s why initial talent doesn’t play a very strong role in auditions).

    You mentioned that one issue for you is endurance. I don't know if you mean chop-wise, or just physical body endurance, but I'll talk a bit about both because they are both so important.

    You're going to have to keep you're chops in shape, remember that during the summer, we have 14 hour rehearsals pretty much every day. About 4 hours of that will be marching basics, running, stretching, ect that doesn’t involve playing, 2-3 hours will be breaks: lunch, dinner, water breaks. The other 7 or 8 hours every day you'll be playing, and not playing lightly, we're talking drum corps, not wind ensemble or orchestra where you play a few lines and then rest for 150 measures. You'll be playing the majority of the time, it takes allot out of those little muscles in you're lips. If you don't already have some kind of schedule for playing each day, you need to start one soon, we have a month before auditions and that’s just about the right time it takes to make some habits like waking up an hour earlier each day to get in a good warm up, hit the practice rooms during your breaks at school, practice when you get home, practice some more after that, make sure you have a solid warm down every night and ice your lips before bed, ect. You just need to get your lips used to playing ALOT.

    As for physical endurance... Cardio. Running, Biking, those stair stepper machines at the gym. These kinds of activities bet your blood flowing raises your heart rate. Get your heart rate up around 120-130 bpm and just go. Start off lightly, maybe run for 15 mins the first couple days, and then increases it to 20, then 25, and 30. By December, you should be able to run for 45 mins to an hour non-stop with a steady heart rate up around 120. You won't actually need to do this for auditions or if you make the corps, (we usually only run for 15 or 20 mins each day) But you have to build up that endurance, because marching a 12 min show at 220bpm while playing a brass instrument is a heck of a lot harder than just running for an hour.


    Another thing that you'll want to put a lot of focus into is breathing. You're from a California school so I'm sure you guys probably do a lot of breathing exercises. But if you don't, look into this program called "The Breathing Gym" by Pat Sheridan and Sam Philaphian. Pat actually works with The Academy, Academy and some of the high schools in the area were the "lab rats" of his program, and it's worked so well that schools and corps across the country live by this program. If you haven’t heard of it, I'll talk more about it later but I think you probably have a pretty good idea of it.

    Other than that, just keep working on all the audition materials, the exercises you print of the applicant site are exercises that we play every day, they are very important to have down solid. Keep working on your solo/etude, remember that what ever it is you're playing, the staff has probably heard 5 or 6 times already today, so make yours stand out. If you're like me and stress out over the little things like scales... don't worry, they are most like going to want to hear C, F, G, Bb, maybe Eb, just the easy ones, I don't think any corps in the history of DCI has ever had a show in the key of F# or Gb, they are going to want to hear the things that they'll be doing in the show that summer. That doesn’t mean don't practice the other scales, you never know if they'll decide to throw a curve ball and want to hear C# this year.

    Just keep practicing, working out, keep a good attitude and work ethic and you'll do fine.

    Good Luck!
    See ya in December!
     
  5. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

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    I forgot to mention "Core Excersizes" (the core area would be like your abs and lower back), like sit-ups or crunches. This year, Academy is going to work alot with Pilates, so I would suggest going to the library and see if you can find a DVD on pilates so you know the basics of it and can get an early jump on it.

    Another thing they'll do alot to help build the core area is an excersize called "ups and downs". Its basicaly a very slow high-knee marching style thing. Start off at attention position, and move your left foot up to about knee hight in 4 counts, then back down in 4 counts, then bring your right foot up in 4 counts and down in 4 counts, and continue on again with the left. Try to stay strong and lifted up in your attention position, and try not to lean to the left and right when your foot is up. When your left foot is up, you're body will want to lean to the right, and when you're right foot is up, you'll want to lean left just so you can stay balanced. You have to fight against that tendancy and try to stay straight up.


    By the way, what's you're name? I'll look for you at auditions, it'll be exciting, I've never meet anyone from the forum before!
     
  6. hkfan736

    hkfan736 New Friend

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    Dec 19, 2005
    Thanks so much for this information! Mainly, the lack of endurance chop-wise is what has me worried. I have a serios problem with mouthpiece pressure, so I am working very hard to break that habit. I am really prepared to work hard and follow directions, and I am decent at trumpet playing and marching, so hopefully I have a pretty good shot at making the line. Our band already does ups and downs, our SCV alum instructor taught them to us.

    My name is Ross, I'll see you at the auditions.
     
  7. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

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    And one more thing, even if you don't plan on marching with a corps like Esparanza, if you can make it, and the audition fee isn't to high, I'd suggest going to a few audition camps from other corps so that you have a feeling of what its like to audition so that you're more comfortable.
     
  8. hkfan736

    hkfan736 New Friend

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    Dec 19, 2005
    I would, but my parents already aren't too happy about having to commute to Tempe, so a lot more driving means more money, and I would hate to tell a corps I can't march with them if I happen to make it.

    Oh, BTW, what marching techniques were you asked to do in your audition? Jazz running, 6-to-5, etc.
     
  9. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

    Age:
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    Most of it was just the basics. 8to5, 6to5, forwards, backwards, slides, direction changes. Nothing to difficult.
     
  10. hkfan736

    hkfan736 New Friend

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    Dec 19, 2005
    Ok, good. I have had no jazz running in our drill since I have started high school, so I can't jazz run properly.

    (More questions) What did you do to get the money to afford tour?
     

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