Frequently Asked Questions

Marching Band Audition FAQs

Other Ensemble Audition FAQs

General
FAQs


How do I audition for the Marching Band?
If you are an incoming freshman at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s or Holy Cross, you should be receiving band sign up information through the mail. If you wish to audition simply complete the online form. You will receive more information by mail and email throughout the summer.
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When do I need to be on campus up for Marching Band auditions?
Band Camp registration begins at 10:00 am on the Wednesday of the week prior to classes starting at Notre Dame.
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When can I move into my dorm?
Students will be allowed to move into their regularly-assigned dorm rooms on the Wednesday of the week prior to classes starting at Notre Dame.
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What about meals?
Meals are provided for all Band Camp participants (including Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s students) in the Notre Dame dining halls.
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What is the Marching Band audition process?
In addition to participating in Band Camp, all students trying out for the Marching Band will play in a music audition and do a marching audition. Attitude and willingness to learn are also evaluated by the directors and CORE Band members throughout Band Camp.
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What is involved in the Marching Band music audition?
When you arrive for band camp you will be asked to sign up for a time for your music audition. The audition will consist of any prepared material you might have plus short short sight-reading excerpts. Your prepared material should be one short selection or excerpt that you feel best demonstrate your abilities as a musician (tone quality, technical ability, musicality, etc.). Percussionists may audition on any instrument(s) of their choosing, however we encourage you to audition on as many instruments as possible.
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Do I have to bring prepared material to the music audition?
No. Most students choose to bring prepared material, but many do not. If you choose not to bring any prepared music to the audition, your music evaluation will be based on your sight-reading performance.
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What is involved in the marching audition?
Much of your time in band camp will be spent with CORE Band members (returning upperclass leaders) learning the marching audition routine which is performed simultaneously with 15 other students from your section. You will be evaluated on your posture, step-size, coordination, hike-step, accurate execution of the marching routine, etc.
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Does Freshman Orientation conflict with Band Camp?
No. Band camp schedule allows freshmen to participate in orientation activities.
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I have a Placement Exam scheduled during Band Camp. What do I do?
If you have a placement exam that conflicts with Band Camp rehearsal time, please inform a Core Band member from your section. You will be excused from Band Camp to take the exam.
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Can I still audition for Marching Band if I am participating in ROTC?
We have had many Band students who have also been a part of the ROTC program on campus. Please make sure you inform both the Band Office and the ROTC Office of your status and arrangements will be made to accommodate your participation.
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I don’t own an instrument, will one be provided?
Instruments will be provided at Band Camp check-in free of charge for those students who do not own their own instrument, who do not wish to use their professional-quality horn on the marching field, or who play a large brass instrument, such as bass, baritone or mellophone. Piccolo players may play flute during Band Camp – piccolos will be checked out when the final roster is posted. Instruments for use in concert ensembles are also available on a limited basis.
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I’’m interested in Marching Band, but I’’ve never marched before. Is that a problem?
Not at all. During Band Camp, you will have an opportunity to learn Notre Dame’’s unique marching style which is different from nearly every other marching style. Each year several students without prior marching experience make the band. If you bring a great attitude and a willingness to learn, you’’ll be off to a great start.
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How much of a time commitment is Marching Band?
Marching Band rehearsals are held daily, Monday through Thursday, during the Fall semester. Rehearsals are held in the late afternoon/early evening following classes, and last approximately 90 minutes. Game Day Saturdays are very busy but rewarding days, with a morning rehearsal and the Concert on the Steps prior to game time. Most students find that the time commitment causes them or organize their time more efficiently. Students from every area of study on campus are able to find time to participate.
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I got pretty burned out on Marching Band in high school. Should I even bother with Marching Band at Notre Dame?
Every person in the Band will tell you that marching with the Fighting Irish is completely different from what they did in high school. Most students who felt burned out in high school find the Notre Dame Band a welcome and refreshing change. First of all, our Band is non-competitive. We spend our time focused on creating that special atmosphere unique to Notre Dame football rather than worrying about how we will score at a contest. All of our music and drill is specially designed for the Band by the directors and show committee. Since we perform a different show for each home game, rehearsals are efficient and the performances are never stale. The Band has an unmatched following and is well-appreciated throughout campus and in the local community. Most importantly, the people in the Band of the Fighting Irish make it a truly great organization. Relationships forged among the members of the Band are among the strongest on campus. Before deciding against Marching Band, you are encouraged to contact the Band Office and speak with a current Band member to get a student’s perspective.
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Does everybody makes it into the Marching Band?
Unfortunately, not everybody makes it into the Marching Band. Each year over 450 students vie for less than 400 available Marching Band positions. Acceptance rates vary depending on the section. Generally, saxophone, piccolo, clarinet, and drumline are the most competitive while tuba, 1st trumpet, tuba, and baritone have the highest acceptance rates. Although there are minimum playing and marching standards that every student must meet, having a good attitude will go a long way toward making the final roster. If a student does not make the Marching Band they are strongly encouraged to participate in the other ensembles offered by the band program and audition again the next fall.
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I didn’t make it into the Marching Band last year, but I’d like to try again. What do I need to do?
To ensure inclusion in Marching Band correspondence, those planning to re-audition should contact the Band Office with a current address and phone number. Be sure to indicate that you are re-auditioning.
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Does the Marching Band have a color guard or twirlers?
No, the University of Notre Dame Band does not have color guard or twirlers.
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What if I don’t play an instrument? Can I still be involved with the Marching Band?
Yes! We are looking for a few well-organized and versatile individuals who want to help with the Band’s operations at games and rehearsals.
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I play the flute, but the marching band uses piccolos. Do I need to audition on a piccolo or may I use my flute for the audition?
You are encouraged to go through the audition process using your flute. Upon making the band you will be issued a university owned piccolo for your use during the season. If you own your own piccolo and would prefer to audition on that, you are also welcome to do so. University owned piccolos are generally not issued to incoming students until after the audition process is complete. Should you have any instrument questions contact Alison Thigpen at athigpen@nd.edu.
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How do I audition for the Fall Concert Bands?
If you are trying out for the Marching Band, your music audition will also count as your Fall Concert Band audition. If you are not trying out for Marching Band, you will need to call or come by the band building to sign up for a Concert Band audition time on the Monday prior to the beginning of classes at Notre Dame. This audition will consist of any prepared material that you feel best demonstrates your abilities as a musician (tone quality, technical ability, musicality, etc.). Students should also be prepared to sight-read. A separate audition near the end of November will be held for the Spring Semester concert bands. (See below for University Band Information)
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How do I participate in the University Band?
The University Band is open to all Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students, faculty, staff and alumni. This non-auditioned ensemble provides a relaxed, traditional concert band experience for brass, woodwind and percussion players in the Notre Dame community.
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When are Jazz Band Auditions?
Jazz Band auditions are held on the Sunday following the first day of class at Notre Dame. Please stop by the Band Building when you arrive on campus to pick up music and sign up for an audition time. Contact Larry Dwyer for more information.
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How can I participate in Varsity (pep) Band?
Varsity Band sign-ups take place in mid to late September. Rosters for the bands are assembled prior to Varsity Band season primarily from Marching Band members and Band Camp participants.
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Who comprises the membership of the Band of the Fighting Irish?
Membership in a University Band is open to any student, graduate or undergraduate, officially registered and attending class at the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College or Holy Cross College. All academic majors are represented in the Band.
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How much time is involved with the Band?
This is one of the major concerns of incoming students. We highly recommend that you do not delay auditioning for any of the ensembles because you think it may take too much time. Each year students from every area of study participate in one or more bands, and most students find that the time commitment causes them or organize their time more effectively.

Marching Band rehearsals are held daily, Monday through Thursday, during the Fall semester in addition to one sectional per week. As with nearly every ensemble, rehearsals are held in the evening following classes, and last approximately 1-1/2 hours. Fridays before home football games include a marchout from the Golden Dome and final run-through, and Pep Rally performance. Game Day Saturdays are very busy but rewarding days, with a morning rehearsal, march-out and the “Concert On The Steps” prior to game time.

The Symphonic Band and Symphonic Winds rehearse twice a week during the Spring Semester. The Fall Concert Band and Jazz Bands Brass Ensemble and Winter Drum Program each meet once per week. Varsity Band rehearsals are held as needed throughout the basketball and hockey seasons.
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Do I have to be a music major to participate in any of the ensembles?
No. There are around 400 students involved in the Notre Dame Band program. Of these, less than 3 percent are music majors.
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Can I get credit for being in band?
Yes! Students in every ensemble receive non-graded credit for their participation.
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Are any scholarships available?
The University does not offer scholarships for students in the Band. However, several small awards and employment opportunities are available. These are generally awarded to upperclassmen who have a strong history of Band participation.
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What instruments, equipment, and fees do I need to supply?
We ask that those students who do own instruments to please bring them. Instruments will be provided at Band Camp check-in free of charge for those students who do not own their own instrument, who do not wish to use their professional-quality horn on the marching field, or who play a large brass instrument, such as bass, baritone or mellophone. Piccolo players may play flute during Band Camp – piccolos will be checked out when the final roster is posted. Instruments for use in concert ensembles are also available on a limited basis.

Most people are glad to hear that there is no student mandated fund-raising with the Notre Dame Band. All travel costs, with the possible exception of a portion of overseas travel costs, are assumed by the University.
The Band Officers do ask each Marching Band member to pay a small social fee. The amount is set through consensus of the Band Members and by advice of the Social Chairperson. These monies are applied to a number of social functions offered throughout the year. Social fees are not a pre-requisite for Band membership.
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Is there a place for me to store my horn?
Space is available for each Band member’s instrument. Lockers or shelf space for those actively participating in the Band program may be obtained in the Band Office.
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What is CORE Band?
The Core Band consists of a specially selected group of Band Members who assist the Directors and the Drum Majors in general marching instruction and technique. They provide vital instruction and welcome information during Band Camp. When possible, this group assumes the right and left guide positions in parade or march-out formation. At the conclusion of Band Camp the members of the Core Band become Squad Leaders.
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When should I expect to receive information about the Band?
General information about the Band is mailed out to all incoming freshmen around the end of May or beginning of June. However, if you were admitted to later in the year, or if your home address has changed recently, it is possible that we may have missed you. If you haven’t heard from us but would like to, please contact the Band Office with your current address, phone number and email address. In the mean time, many of your questions may be answered on the Band Web Site.
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