Winds & Percussion Audition Procedures

Wind instrument auditions are designed to evaluate a student's technical and musical abilities in all registers with both prepared material and sight reading.  Percussion auditions are designed to evaluate a student's technical and musical abilities in the major facets of concert percussion performance (i.e., timpani, keyboard percussion, snare drum and auxiliary percussion) with both prepared material and sight reading. 

The purpose of Junior and Senior level auditions is to rank students in order to determine District Festival eligibility and seating. Additionally, for 10th, 11th and 12th grade students, the audition is used to determine All-State eligibility and seating. Consequently, the audition is viewed as an evaluative process and not an instructional experience.



Snare Drum:  15 Points

Tympani:  15 Points

Mallets:  15 Points

Auxiliary Percussion:  10 Points

Sight Reading:  15 Points

Total Possible:  70 points



Tone Quality:  10 Points

Intonation:  10 Points

Technical Facility:  10 Points

Rhythmic Accuracy:  10 Points

General Musicianship:  10 Points

Scale Studies:  10 Points

Sight Reading:  10 Points

Total Possible:  70 points



Tone Quality:  10 Points

Intonation:  10 Points

Technical Facility:  10 Points

Rhythmic Accuracy:  10 Points

General Musicianship:  10 Points

Sight Reading:  10 Points

Total Possible:  60 points

Piano Auditions - Senior Level ONLY

Piano auditions will be held at the District site. Pianists will be expected to perform the two listed etudes in their entirety and also perform the prescribed sight reading selection. District Band Representatives will provide taping equipment to record District Piano auditions; the entire audition will be recorded and submitted to the State Band Division President for the purpose of All-State Selection.

If a piano part is part of the District Band or Orchestra repertoire, the selected pianist must perform with a District performance organization, in order to remain eligible for All-State.

If the District repertoire does not require piano, the selected recording(s) will be forwarded to the State Band Division President and selected student(s) are not required to attend the District Festival.

Auxiliary Instruments

Color/auxiliary instruments are no longer an add-on to another instrument's audition.  The concept to change the color/auxiliary instrument audition procedures was born from the desire to clarify and make more transparent the selection of these students to the District Festivals and All-State ensembles.  All auditioned instruments will mirror the Wind Instrument Evaluation procedures listed above.

Beginning in the fall of 2017, all instruments are judged separately.  This will allow for selection of those instruments independently of any other instrumental audition.  As part of this change, the Board of Directors decided to add a piano audition for band and orchestra.  This piano audition will mirror the harp audition already in place.  Also, harp and piano will be the ONLY instruments that do not require District Festival participation to retain All-State eligibility.  If the District Festival literature does not call for harp or piano, those selected students will be eligible for All-State.  The Board is also allowing for the recording of the Piccolo, Eb Clarinet, English Horn, Harp, Piano, Contrabassoon, and Soprano Saxophone for the purpose of All-State selection.  

The requirement that Piccolo, Eb Clarinet, English Horn, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Contrabassoon, Euphonium, Contra Alto Clarinet, Contra Bass Clarinet, Piano, and Harp players participate in their District Festival Orchestras to be eligible for Orchestra Winds at the All-State level has also been removed. Students that performed in their District Festival Band on these instruments will be eligible for selection into the All-State Orchestra winds.

Electronic Devices

The student use of all electronic and/or mechanical devices to include, but not limited to, metronomes, tuners, cell phones, and audio/video recording devices is prohibited in all ILMEA audition rooms.

Use of Prepared Music

Students may perform the scales and the etudes from music that contains prepared markings without any deduction in point score.

Scale Sheet Time Limit - Senior Level

Senior level students have a maximum of 3 minutes to perform the scale sheet after which time a judge may stop the student.  A student will be allowed to continue his/her performance of the scales until the time limit has expired regardless of the performance level.  All scales must be tongued.

Etude/Sight Reading Time Limit

Excerpts of the etudes and/or the sight-reading material are permissible as long as this procedure is started with the first audition.  Every student must be given an equal opportunity to perform the etude and sight-reading portions of the audition.

Audition Results

Audition scores, including final rankings, are not to be posted, distributed to and/or discussed with individual students, directors, private teachers, or parents. Notification of acceptance to an ILMEA festival, as well as specific chair and part assignments, is the responsibility of the District President and the ILMEA State Office. Judges are strongly discouraged from attempting any written or verbal critique of a student's performance beyond a thank you. In addition, judges will refrain from discussing private lesson teachers, past performance experiences, or future college/university plans with any student at any time during the audition process.


If call-backs are to be utilized in determining the final ranking of students, information concerning the specific time and place for call-backs must be clearly posted and/or distributed to all students at the start of auditions. Call-backs will not begin until all students have had the opportunity to complete the initial audition within the pre-announced audition time.

Percussion Equipment

Percussionists may perform on their own equipment, particularly snare drums, auxiliary percussion instruments, and keyboards.

Whenever possible, percussionists should be given a choice between performing the keyboard etude on either xylophone or marimba.  Though performance on marimba is preferable, many schools do not have access to this instrument and, in fairness, no student should be required to audition on the larger keyboard without prior preparation/experience.  Under no circumstances will percussionists be required to perform the keyboard etude on orchestra bells or vibraphone.

Multiple Room Judging

When utilizing multiple rooms for instruments such as flute, clarinet, trumpet or percussion, it is highly recommended that one judge evaluate one part of the audition (i.e., etudes) in all captions (i.e., tone quality, intonation, rhythm, etc.) while the other judge(s) work(s) in a similar manner on the other parts of the audition.

Appropriate Instrumentation

It is the goal of the Illinois Music Education Association Band Division to promote the highest standards of musical excellence within the District and All-State festival experience. To that end, students are required to audition on standard/traditional wind-band instruments. Students MAY NOT audition on non-standard instruments such as mellophone, valve trombone, marching baritone, or any others that are not traditionally called upon in contemporary literature.

On the rare occasion that a student does not have access to a concert tuba, the sousaphone will be permitted as an alternate for audition purposes only. If the student is selected to the District or State festival, it becomes the responsibility of the school to provide a concert tuba for festival performance. Band directors are encouraged to contact their District Band Representative if they need assistance in facilitating these requirements.

All-State Wind & Percussion Selection Procedures - Senior Level ONLY

Whenever discussing the selection of students for the District and All-State ensembles, it is important to understand that the philosophy of the Illinois Music Education Association has always been founded on a balance between high quality student performance and representation from across the district or state.

The All-State Selection Meeting is held in late November immediately following the last District Festival. The District President, the District Band Representative and the State Band Division Vice-President are the people directly involved in nominating and selecting woodwind, brass, and percussion musicians for the All-State Conference. In addition, the Band Division selection process incorporates input from both the District Orchestra Representative and the District Jazz Representative.

Prior to the Selection Meeting, District Band Representatives receive a database which lists, by instrument, the number of junior or senior year students that may be nominated for the All-State Bands and Orchestras wind sections from that District. (underclassmen may participate at the district level only.) These quotas are based on percentages of District representation as determined by the Executive Director. For example, if District X has 38 schools participate in the District Band out of a total of 292 schools participating statewide, District X would qualify for 13% of the All-State Band Division musicians. Normally, a total of 40 flutes and 72 Bb clarinets are selected for the All-State Bands. Consequently, the District Band Representative would be able to nominate the top 5 flutists and the top 9 clarinetists from District X for All-State. The ranking of students for All-State selection is determined solely by the District level audition score. Part/chair assignment for the District festival does not affect a student's ranking for All-State nomination. All-State wind and percussion students are not pre-assigned to the Honors or All-State groups. Students re-audition for ensemble and chair placement upon arrival at the All-State Conference. District audition scores are not considered in the final All-State placement.