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Ready, Aim, Take a Seat...In Your Region Band or Orchestra

A special note about this article: Williamson Music-1st is unique in that our team exists for Students, Parents, and Band Directors, all of whom work together toward a common goal of bettering music education. We continually strive to be aware of things our students will be working on at different times during the year and attempt to aid them in any way we can. This article addresses the goal of getting our students to the Region Band and Orchestra level and then the high school students on to the Area and State levels.
The following information is for High School players who wish to audition for the Region, Area, and State level positions. Note that Middle School students will receive their materials as soon as school starts from their Band or Orchestra Director (at which point the 'Tips For Success' below will become applicable). Those materials will vary from region to region. The Etudes will not be the same for every Region.
FOR ORCHESTRA - The Etude books were released on April 16, 2018 and the exact materials were announced on May 1, 2018. You can get that information by visiting the Texas Music Educators Association's home page and going to Orchestra and then Region Audition Materials (Click Here). All information you will need is there.
FOR BAND - The Etude Books were announced back in May and can be located on the Texas Music Educators’ home page by going to Band and selecting Region Audition Books (Click Here). The exact Etudes will be announced on July 23, 2018 at 12:00 noon. At that time all High School students in the state of Texas will know at the same time which Etudes they will have to perform for the auditions.


PRIVATE LESSONS - The very best way to start your preparation for the Region process is to have a Private teacher or coach. Try not to go it alone. There is no substitute for one-on-one.
HEAR THE ETUDES PERFORMED - All of the Etudes are available on the internet or through your band director. They are all performed at the Texas Bandmasters Convention, the last of July, by pros who would make the band. You really need to hear how the etude, or piece of music, sounds before you start to work on them, especially if you do not have a coach or private teacher.
SET GOALS AND KEEP THEM - Remember to begin slow and work up speed later. Set a goal like: Beginning of the Etude to bar 16 by Friday. Make yourself keep this short goal and do not get behind. Then set another goal and keep it. There are 3 Etudes to learn. Work on each one and feel your success as you complete your first goal. Setting down and trying to play the entire Etude at one time won’t work. You will become discouraged. Some private teachers will ask their students to start at the end and work backwards. This way, the ending of their Etude will not be weaker than the beginning. Never be afraid to ask for help with a rhythm or fingering that you do not know.
NEVER TRY TO OUT-GUESS YOUR COMPETITION - Many students think they know the competition and strive to out guess who they are up against, especially returning students from last year. Do not waste time on that: remember, every year is a new and different year. People get better and new people show to audition. Work hard to win a place no matter who shows up.
WORK IN A SMALL GROUP - There are always other students working on the same materials. It is fun to work together and help each other. When you help someone else, you become better yourself. If your Band Director holds any type of sectional or work session on the Region Materials - ALWAYS ATTEND - DO NOT PASS UP THIS OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN AND BE BETTER. 
NEVER WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE - The definition of “Tomorrow” is the best time to do anything; however, not for region etudes. You must start early and end up with time to polish your performance by adding better phrase endings and more dynamics.
PLAY FOR PEOPLE - Never be afraid of playing for people and showing off your hard work. If possible, perform in a "mock" audition before the real audition occurs. If you get nervous, it is usually because you know that you have not prepared yourself as you should have.
THE ACTUAL AUDITION DAY - First, get plenty of rest the night before. Eat some sort of healthy breakfast, just do not go without. As you get ready to go to the audition, make sure that you have everything you need, especially your music. Many people suggest eating a banana before you audition which adds potassium to your system which can help with your nerves. Lastly, listen to the rules of the room and follow them exactly. Be courteous to other participants and most important, do not change the way you are playing anything just because you heard someone in the room do it differently than you do. Do not change your tempo because someone else performs faster than you have prepared. Do your own thing the way you have practiced it.
FOLLOW - Use these tips and remember there is no substitute for practice. You should practice enough so that you almost know the Etudes by memory. Leam all of the Etudes and never try to guess which part they might not ask for. Be prepared for everything.

Written by : WM1st