Field Commander Auditions

Audition Excerpt

*Audition Areas

1. Tempo Recognition  & Control

You’ll be given these tempos to conduct the different patterns. We’ll randomly mute/unmute the metronome to observe how well you control tempo. On the day of the audition, video record yourself conducting these excerpts using Flipgrid.

  • 4/4 – tempo 140
  • 3/4 – tempo 110
  • 2/4 – tempo 90
Time Signature 4/4 at tempo 140 bpm
Time Signature 3/4 at tempo 110 bpm
Time Signature 2/4 at tempo 90 bpm

2. Prepared Piece

            – Selections from DCI 1997 The Cavaliers, “The Firebird.” 

            Listen to the selection, after the beginning applause, there’s approximately 10 seconds of silence and pit sounds for you to determine meter and tempo. The first big hit is approx. 1:17 into the recording. On the day of the audition, submit a Flipgrid video recording of you conducting this excerpt.

3. Interview

We’ll do these in TEAMS separately from the conducting portion of the audition, asking approximately 5-6 questions. Here’s a list of sample questions to think about;

  1. Why do you want to be a drum major?
  2. What are 3 characteristics of a good leader (in your opinion) and why?
  3. Name one aspect of the Riverdale Band program you’d like to see improved, and how would you facilitate that improvement?
  4. What are your strengths/weaknesses? Explain.
  5. Scenario: The band is having a tough rehearsal and morale seems to be low. What do you do to help motivate the group?
  6. Choose a moment where you felt like you acted as a leader and explain.
  7. Have any of your personal experiences helped you become a better leader? How?
  8. Scenario: 2 students are arguing over whether to be on their dot or guide to the form. The one student on their dot is sticking out of the form, but continues to claim they are in the correct spot, causing a distraction during rehearsal. How do you handle this scenario?
  9. Briefly describe your decision-making process.
  10. How have you encouraged your peers in the past, both during band and outside of band?
  11. If I were to ask your friends/family, how would they describe you in a few words?
  12. How do you describe your personal leadership style?
  13. Who is your favorite leader/role-model? Why?
  14. What is your passion?
  15. What strengths would you personally bring to the Riverdale drum major position and overall program?
  16. What changes would you seek to make in the future if you are offered the drum major position?
  17. Describe a scenario where you’ve had to give negative feedback to a peer and how you handled that situation.
  18. How can a leader fail? Give an example.
  19. What is the difference between a leader and a manager/boss?
  20. How do you set examples for your fellow band peers?
  21. What do you find most difficult about the possibility of being drum major?
  22. Who do you think is the most important person/section on the field and why?

*Conducting Advice from former MTSU Drum Major Jessica Graves….

  • Things to remember:
  • Hug the tree and flip the wrists
  • Crisp and defined beats/focal points
  • Tabletop (where is your conducting plane – too high or too low?)
  • No unnecessary hitches/subdivision in hands
  • Patterns (4/4, 3/4, 2/4) – fast and slow patterns
  • Stay within your conducting box (tabletop, side to side, not too high/eyebrows)
  • Stance (should width apart, stable base)
  • Uniformity with your fellow drum major candidates
  • Again, NO TENSION! If you’re tense, you’re doing it wrong.

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence”

-Sheryl Sandberg

“Leadership is the art of giving people a platform and spreading ideas that work”

-Seth Godin

“Leadership is an action, NOT a position”