The Spartan Marching Band is open to all university students by audition only. You must be accepted to Michigan State University in order to audition. You do not need to be a music major to qualify for the Spartan Marching Band (SMB). Approximately 10% of the SMB population studies music, while the other 90% come from all other colleges and majors in the University.
Directions and Audition Appointments
To confirm audition participation (required) and get directions to campus, contact Charlene Wagner, Band Secretary at (517) 355-7654, or email her at email@example.com.
More questions about the audition process? Be sure to visit the SMB audition FAQ page.
There is one scheduled audition day for instrumentalists interested in membership in the SMB:
- Saturday, June 17, 2017
- Start time: 9:00 am meeting, Music Building, room 120
- 9:30 am audition times begin
- Lunch on your own
- 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Marching Audition – location TBA
- 3:00 pm: audition day concludes
What to Expect
The instrumental audition should consist of one prepared solo piece or etude involving contrasting styles (3 to 5 minutes in length). A piece that you might perform at a “Solo and Ensemble Festival” would be appropriate. You do not need an accompanist. This piece does not need to be memorized.
Please also prepare the following major scales; C, F, B flat, E flat, A flat, G, D, A, E. Perform these scales by memory.
There will be brief sight-reading at the live audition.
Wear appropriate “work out” type clothing for the marching audition, including proper footwear (running shoes, sneakers, etc.). No sandals. Wear comfortable, not formal, clothing for your “playing” audition. You will have time to change clothes for the marching audition.
Those who can’t be on campus for the June 17 audition day may submit a “video audition.” However, it is highly recommended to attend the audition day. Video must be uploaded to a YouTube or vimeo format. Email the video link to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line; SMB Video Audition 2016.
The video audition must contain:
- Solo piece from beginning to end (may be video of recent solo and ensemble performance with accompanist, or other solo performance).
- If making a solo performance video, accompaniment is not required, but is welcomed.
- All scales listed above from memory.
- Display of marching technique on a football field – 10 yards of forward march “8 to 5” and 5 yards of backwards march “8 to 5.” IPhone video is fine here.
- Introduction of yourself.
- Email with video link(s) must contain name, address, phone, and on-campus housing assignment (if known).
Brass and Saxophone Music Majors:
If you plan to be a music-major, your MSU College of Music audition will satisfy for automatic membership in the Spartan Marching Band. These music majors will receive an invitation letter from the Marching Band Office in early May. If you would like to participate in the SMB as a music major, simply fill out the form in the early May mailing and return it to the MSU Band office. You will then be included in our July mailing for all new SMB members.
Percussion Music Majors:
Percussion music majors must audition for the Drumline separately (see below).
Flute, Clarinet, Oboe and Bassoon Music Majors
Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, and Bassoon music education majors typically perform on alto or tenor saxophone in the SMB. If you are interested in participating in the SMB, you must audition on your preferred “marching” instrument on June 11th or by video as described above.
2016 MSU Drumline auditions will be held on April 29 and May 13, from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. More information can be found on the drumline website.
Questions about drumline auditions should be directed to Professor Jon Weber, MSU drumline instructor.
On Campus Auditions
The SMBCG will hold one (1) audition day for the 2016 SMB season. All prospective members will experience a morning group class in movement and flag that includes fundamentals along with choreography. After lunch, there will be a brief review and then the audition will proceed in small groups.
Location: Band Hall in Demonstration Hall.
Time: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
What to wear:
Please wear darker clothes that you move well in and are able to properly show your skills.
Ladies, a hair tie is expected to keep your hair out of your face.
What to bring:
Water, gloves and a great attitude! We will provide all equipment.
What we are looking for:
We are looking at grace, poise, attention to detail, athleticism, connection of body with equipment, quick adaptability to style + technique, strong performance, strength, consistency, attitude.
The desirable candidate will have all of the above attributes or the right mix along with a strong desire/passion to improve and grow into the skill set necessary to succeed at Color Guard at MSU.
Those who are unable to attend auditions with a reason deemed acceptable by the SMBCG instructor or SMB Director are able to submit a video with that demonstrates the following requirements:
- Movement: 60 second routine that demonstrates basic knowledge of movement fundamentals including moving across the floor
o Drop spins
o Peggy spins
o Thumb flips
o Pull hits
o Pop, Pole (crank), Prayer, Wind-up, 45 tosses
o 60 second routinesTo submit, please upload to Youtube and mark as ‘unlisted’. Send unlisted link to email@example.com
Deadline: Friday 6/10/16 @ Midnight. This deadline is non-negotiable. We will not accept late submissions.
Please feel free to reach out to any of the following people with questions:
John Madden, Director of SMB: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Eichler, Instructor of SMBCG: email@example.com
Krystle Forbes, Assistant Instructor of SMBCG: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlene Wagner, Band Administrative Assistant: email@example.com