Percussionist Audition Information

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Warm-up rooms will be available and can be used at your convenience throughout the day. Report to the designated audition room 5 minutes before your scheduled audition time. The actual audition performance will take 7–8 minutes. Plan on about 30–45 minutes for the entire music audition process including warm-up and performance. If you need more warm-up time or anticipate having lots of questions, plan accordingly.


Blue Band is open to all students registered at the University Park campus by audition. Accepting 290–320 student members annually, the Blue Band is a select ensemble with talented musicians and band front performers auditioning in all sections. All prospective members, new and returning, must audition each year for membership; not everyone who auditions is accepted.


All percussion candidates must prepare a standard rudimental style snare drum solo which will be performed on drum pad at the audition. A drum pad will be provided for the audition; you should provide your own sticks.

Percussionists wanting to be considered for snare or tenor must perform either Tornado or Stamina by Mitch Markovich. Traditional or matched grip may be used.

Percussionists wanting to be considered for bass drum or cymbal station must perform any solo from the Mitch Markovich series, such as Tornado, Stamina, The Winner, or The Four Horsemen, etc. Traditional or matched grip may be used.

Your solo does not need to be memorized, but it would be wise to know it thoroughly. Sight-reading of other material will be required, as well as a display of your rudimental literacy.

Forty-eight (48) hours prior to your audition day you will receive an additional piece of music (written by one of our instructors) to prepare for your audition. This music will come as a PDF to the e-mail address you provided when you filed your Intent to Audition. It will also be available to be picked up at the Blue Band Building. This piece is geared toward giving you a similar experience to what you will normally come across during the season. You will be asked to play this during your solo audition. This piece does not have to be memorized.

Audition material for potential rookies can be found here. Returnees can find their audition packet in the Members Only Announcements.


Blue Band Building (map)
Services Road & University Drive
University Park Campus (campus map)
Pennsylvania State University


Sight Reading

All musicians will be provided with a short musical example and given time to study it. You will be asked to perform the example to the best of your ability. We are not interested in perfection, but we are interested in identifying capable readers.

Audition Scoring

Your audition score will be based on your prepared selection, sound quality, and sight reading. We are very much interested in good musicianship and good sound. Sight reading is an important part of the audition process because the Blue Band prepares a new halftime show for every home game.

Marching Fundamentals and Marching Auditions

All Blue Band candidates will be required to attend marching sessions at which the Blue Band style is taught. These sessions are used to assess marching ability and desire. Detailed information is provided in the auditions schedule you receive at the time of your music audition. You may want to consider some aerobic conditioning prior to coming to campus; the Blue Band marching style is a rigorous physical activity.

For Potential Rookies

On Monday, August 14, 2017, you will be given the morning to get squared away with all of your housing responsibilities. After lunch you will report to the Blue Band Building and join the rest of the line for auditions. As the day progresses you will be individually pulled out of the full drumline to go and perform your solo audition in front of the instructors. You will be given about ten minutes before your solo audition to warm up. During the solo audition you will also be asked to perform a short bit of sight-reading. Once you are finished, you will be brought back in with the rest of the line and resume playing.

Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's programs, activities, and courses and provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities to ensure equal access and an equal opportunity to participate. If you have a disability-related need for reasonable accommodations for the auditions for the Blue Band, please contact the Office for Disability Services, ODS, by phone at 1-814-863-1807(V/TTY) or in-person (ODS is located in 116 Boucke Building). Please provide adequate notice of this need so that appropriate arrangements can be made in time for auditions. For further information regarding ODS please visit their web site at


Go to the Intent to Audition Form


Any further questions can be directed to the Blue Band Office at (814) 865-3982.