All About Auditions

The USAAAMB enters its 9th year with this year’s candidates.  If you have questions about auditions, here is a great place to start!  Taking your marching experience to an entirely different level, this group is for those who strive for excellence and are passionate about performing.  The program is already underway for making this season especially historical for the marching music activity.  Embrace yourself to take a trip on this once in a lifetime adventure that will be with you always.  So what do you think?  Are you in? 

 When can I apply for the 2016 USAAAMB?

Auditions for the 2016 program are currently open and will end on May 1st 2015.

How will I know if I’m eligible to participate?

You must be an American citizen.

You must be a member of your high school marching band from the time you applied to the January 9th performance.

You must be a high school senior for the 2015-2016 school year.

What are the commitments?

You must hold a commitment for attending the Bowl performance that runs from January 4th through the 10th 2016 in San Antonio Texas.

How do I apply?

Only online applicants will be considered for the audition process.  A completed application should include: All of the online applications (terms and conditions, applicant contact information, etc,)

Uploaded school information packet.

All required audition videos depending on your instrument of choice.

Where do I submit the videos?

When you have completed the filming for your videos, EVERYTHING is uploaded to You can create an online profile on that website.

What instrument or section can I apply for?

Drum Major

Woodwinds: Piccolo, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone,

Brass: Trumpet, Mellophone, Trombone, Baritone, Sousaphone,

Percussion: Snare Drum, Tenor Drum, Bass Drum 1-5, Vibes, Marimba, Bass Guitar, Drum Set, Piano.

Color Guard: Flag or Rifle

Can I apply for more than one section? Students can apply for multiple instruments, but they must submit a separate application and audition video for each position.

When will I get my results?

Applicants will be notified via email by the end of July 2015.

*You cannot edit your video to correct flaws*

Below is advice from past All-Americans on the audition process and how to get prepared musically and visually for your own recording.

Something to keep in mind is that the submission deadline is closer than you think. When preparing for the audition, do not skimp in the first few months because May 1st seems like a long way off. It is not. Start practicing early–it doesn’t have to be much on a daily basis, but probably by early April you should be comfortable with whatever your audition material is to give you plenty of time to record.

For Percussion, woodwinds, and Brass
In preparing the marching and playing video, keep in mind that moving around is a big part of it. It might not seem like a big deal, since the moves aren’t all that complicated, but it adds an extra layer of things to keep in mind. You can’t just practice the excerpt alone. Think about where direction changes fall, how marching may affect your playing technique or sound, etc. so it’s not a surprise later.

For the drumline especially, it’s important to make sure that the rhythms are exact and match up with your feet, so make that a big part of practicing. Be insistent on the tempo as well as how the parts are structured.  Also, a common practice is to borrow parts from DCI/WGI books, so if you’re stuck on what to do that could certainly be a good place to start.

For the color guard: It would be best to keep two things in mind–perform to your strengths, and make sure whatever you’re doing is executed at the highest level. Don’t pick something (or write something) that you’re going to struggle with come recording time.  Do not be worried about what other people are going to do. It looks much better on your part.

For the self-intro, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS PART.   If you are not used to talking about yourself, this may take some preparation. In addition to that, it’s pretty easy for people to tell if you’re not confident or convinced of what you’re saying, so get to the point where you’ll be okay with the product. Also feel free to add in personal touches and humor. It doesn’t have to be (and even shouldn’t be) a listing-off of accomplishments–odds are you’ve already done that on the application, so this is really just a time to be you. People have acted, they have danced, and they have demonstrated their prowess with weaponry, etc. so there are no boundaries on what you can and cannot do just as long as you conduct yourself well.

For Drum Majors.  Think about why you originally wanted to lead your band and what you enjoy about it. Telling these stories and memories really gives the USAAAMB a better idea of the type of leader you are!

I had a chance to talk to Emily Swanson (Drum Major) about drum major auditions and she broke down how to prepare for the video audition for me, “Practice with the camera. It is honestly the most awkward thing to sit in front of a camera and talk. You are going to mess up, and it’s okay. My best videos came from when I had a close friend stand directly behind the camera and I just talked to them. It made the whole ordeal less awkward.  Have fun with the video. You don’t have to sit in a bland room with your best suit or dress on while reading scripted lines. Be creative, be funny, just be you!”

I also spoke with Theo Richardson (Drumline).

First off, audition. Seriously. This is a great experience that is 100% worth all of the time and effort that you put in.  Probably the best thing I can suggest is to make use of every resource you have to get feedback, especially anyone from your school that’s made the group before. I know that’s where I got a lot of good advice from since my section leader made it on bass drum the year before I did, and I was able to get a lot of help from him. Get another pair of eyes in as much as possible, because if you misread something in the prepared excerpt or something you’re playing isn’t readable, it helps to have someone to point that out.”





















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