Notre Dame Band FAQ

General

Marching Band Audition

Other Ensemble Audition


General

Who comprises the membership of the Band of the Fighting Irish?
Membership in the 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.

During the Fall semester, Marching Band rehearsals are held daily, Monday through Thursday, 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 exciting, with a morning rehearsal, march-out and the “Concert On The Steps” prior to game time.

The Fall Concert Bands practice only once a week. The Symphonic Band and Symphonic Winds rehearse twice a week during the Spring Semester. The Jazz Bands practice once per week in both the Fall and Spring. 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. More than 500 students participate in the Notre Dame Band program. Fewer than 1 percent are music majors.

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Can I get credit for being in band?
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. The University’s Office of Financial Aid is committed to making it financially possible for every admitted student to attend Notre Dame. Additionally, several modest awards and employment opportunities are available to upperclassmen who have a strong history of Band participation.

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What equipment and fees are required by the Band?
There is no student-mandated fundraising in the Notre Dame Band. The cost of all domestic travel is provided by the Band. The costs of overseas travel are funded equally by the Band and by the students who apply for and are accepted for overseas tours.

We ask that those students who do own instruments to please bring them. Instruments will be provided at Band Camp at no charge for those students who do not own their own instrument, who do not wish to use their concert-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.

The Band Officers do ask each Marching Band member to pay a small social fee. These funds are applied to a number of social functions offered throughout the year.

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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 is junior and senior Band Members who assist the Directors and the Drum Majors in general marching instruction and technique. They provide welcome information during Band Camp. 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 students after their acceptance. If you haven’t heard from us but would like to, please fill out this form.

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Marching Band Audition

When can I move into my dorm?
Auditioning students will be allowed to move into their regularly-assigned dorm rooms on the Wednesday before classes start 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 a music audition, do a marching audition, and participate in practice sessions. Your attitude and willingness to learn are 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 assigned a time for your music audition, which is 5 minutes long. Prepare a short 1-minute musical solo or the Notre Dame Victory March, plus the concert Bb scale across the full range of your instrument. The auditions are heard by directors on the band staff, who understand that you may be nervous, and take that into account. Percussionists may audition on any marching  percussion instrument(s) of their choosing; however we encourage percussionists to audition on as many instruments as possible.

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Do I have to bring prepared material to the music audition?
No. Some students bring prepared material; others play the Notre Dame Victory March sent to auditioning students during the summer.

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What is involved in the marching audition?
CORE Band members (returning upperclass leaders) will help you learn 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, and accurate execution of the marching routine.

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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 play in Marching Band and also participate in ROTC?
Band students participate in the ROTC program on campus. Inform both the Band Office and the ROTC Office of your status and arrangements will be made to coordinate your participation.

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I don’t own an instrument. Will one be provided?
Instruments will be provided at Band Camp free of charge for those students who do not own their own instrument, who do not wish to use their concert-quality horn outdoors, or who play a large brass instrument, such as sousaphone/tuba, baritone, or mellophone. Piccolo players may play flute during Band Camp. Piccolos will be checked out once the final roster is posted. Instruments for use in concert ensembles are also available.

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What if I’ve never marched before?
During Band Camp, you will have an opportunity to learn Notre Dame’s unique marching style. Students without prior marching experience can and do audition successfully for the marching 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  Monday through Thursday during the Fall semester. Rehearsals are held in the early evening following classes, and last approximately 90 minutes.

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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?
Marching with the Band of the Fighting Irish is completely different and a welcome change from what you did in high school. The Notre Dame Band is non-competitive. The band shows are entertaining for our audience. Our music and drill is custom 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 exciting. The Band has an unmatched following and is loved by Notre Dame students and ND fans everywhere. Most importantly, the people in the Band of the Fighting Irish create a family atmosphere. Relationships forged among the members of the Band are among the strongest on campus. 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?
Each year approximately 430 students vie for 380 Marching Band positions. Acceptance rates vary depending on the section. Generally woodwinds and drumline are the most competitive while brass instruments have the highest acceptance rates. Those not selected for Marching Band are encouraged to play in the other bands, such as the concert bands and athletic bands, and then audition for marching band the following year.

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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 and upcoming auditions, fill out this form.

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Does the Marching Band have a color guard or twirlers?
The University of Notre Dame Band does not have a 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?
We always are looking for a few well-organized and dedicated individuals who want to assist 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 use your flute. Upon making the band you will be issued a university owned piccolo for your use during the season. You may also audition on your own piccolo. If you have any instrument questions, contact us here.

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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 before classes start at Notre Dame.

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Other Ensemble Audition

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 can I participate in Varsity Band (Bands for men’s and women’s basketball and for hockey)?
Rosters for the Varsity bands are assembled in mid to late September–prior to the Varsity Band season–primarily from Marching Band members and Band Camp participants.

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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, graduate 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 us for more information.

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