Students audition for next year’s bands

Nolan Shen, Staff Writer

Naperville Central band program is currently holding placement auditions for next year’s curricular bands. These auditions will be done in a video format, due March 8.

The Central band program includes the Wind Ensemble, the advanced group, the intermediate Wind Symphony, and a non-audition band, called Symphonic Band. Current members of Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble are required to audition in order to keep their spots. Students may also audition to advance to a higher group. Audition materials were given out in the fall semester, and students have been preparing since. 

This year, band directors have decided to run a virtual audition process. Students will submit videos of their playing instead of auditioning live in front of a professional musician. According to Band Director DJ Alstadt, the virtual audition was first tested out in spring 2021. Alstadt and fellow Band Director Brandon Estes found numerous benefits in this virtual process, including a more level playing field. 

“A student can use their Chromebook, which everyone has access to,” Alstadt said. “We’ve provided recordings of professional players on each excerpt, so students, if they’re taking [private] lessons or not taking lessons, have equal access to what this should be like.” 

In addition to allowing for equal access to various resources, Alstadt also believes this new virtual format helps students grow as players. 

“It’s my job to educate our students on how to perceive their playing, how to be accepting, how to practice,” said Alstadt. “It’s fun to go through that journey.” 

After students submit their auditions, videos are evaluated by professional players for each instrument. This is another effort by band directors to level the playing field, by helping eliminate any biases that may be perceived from audition results. 

Alstadt believes that the audition process helps with the band program’s goal of constant progression for students, who make their way through the 3 bands and beyond. 

“Once they get into the advanced band, my job is to funnel them to the next level,” Alstadt said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean a music major, but it can mean playing in college, playing in community ensembles, and making sure that kids keep music in their life.” 

Audition videos are due on March 8 and results will be communicated in the following days.