Audition Procedures & Philosophy
The Audition Process
The audition process for the UTSA Summer Band Institute is designed to be as stress-free as possible. That’s why we encourage all of our participants to audition on material that they are comfortable with. There is no need to go out and learn material beyond the individual’s ability in an effort to impress the judges.
However, all campers should take the process seriously. Auditioning for a summer music program is the perfect opportunity to enhance the individual’s performance skills and serves as beneficial experience for when the student auditions back at their respective programs, region band, or any other audition based program in which the camper may participate.
Who Judges the Audition?
A mixture of UTSA faculty and outstanding UTSA alumni will serve as both our judges and our master class instructors. All of our judges are master performers on their assigned instruments and serve as UTSA private instruction faculty, performers in the San Antonio Symphony, the San Antonio Wind Symphony, other prestigious ensembles, and local middle school and high school educators. We have sincere trust in their ability to appropriately assign our participating campers.
We operate our camp differently than what many campers (and their guardians) may be used to. While many campers may be used to being placed in an “Honor Band”, “Wind Ensemble” or “Top Band”, we do not follow that same system when it comes to assigning our ensembles. We simply place our campers in the Orange band or Blue band and the auditions determine which part they play on each particular piece. This demonstrates a rotational part system that is used by nearly all professional and college ensembles.
At the UTSA Summer Band Institute, our ensembles are constructed in a manner that allows musicians of all calibers to experience music that they may not typically experience in their respective programs back home. This includes music that can be above or below their respective playing ability. By splitting our ensembles into equal caliber groups, we are able to program music that allows our stronger players to model their strong musical skills while also challenging our younger or less developed musicians. Again, there is no technical ability difference between our Orange and Blue ensembles.
At the middle school level, all rising 8th and 9th graders will be placed in either our orange band or blue band. The placements will be split evenly based upon audition results.
Our white band is designed primarily for 6th grade students who will be 7th grade band students in the fall following the camp. The white band is typically taught by a middle school band director who has proven to be outstanding in terms of how they develop their respective programs.
The white band will focus heavily on preparing our campers to not only exhibit a fantastic musical performance come concert day, but also serve to foster an environment in which the individuals receive the proper care and attention towards enhancing fundamentals of musical rehearsal and performance.
We strongly believe that those young performers seated in the white band will be better equipped to serve as role model musicians upon returning to their respective programs. Those young students who exhibit mature musicianship in their audition will be considered for one of the more advanced orange or blue groups.
Why Use This System?
Too often, we are quick to categorize music as easy or hard. We have been commonly led into thinking that “harder” music is better and that “easier” music is boring. Our mission at the UTSA Summer Band Institute is to help guide our campers into developing a respect for all types of music. By constructing ensembles that are equal, we are able to program both “challenging” music and “easy” music. Why? Because that’s how professional musicians operate in the real world! Professional musicians are not always playing the hardest, most challenging music. The real world offers a healthy balance of different levels of repertoire for even the most advanced musicians because there is tremendous value to be found in all types of music. If we can expose our campers to a wide variety of repertoire, we can hopefully inspire them to be consumers of many musical masterpieces.