Ensemble Audition Information

Click here to learn about large and small ensembles at the Mead Witter School of Music.

Auditioning for entry into the Mead Witter School of Music? Please visit our undergraduate or graduate admissions pages.

On this page you will find:

  • Excerpts to prepare
  • Audition forms
  • Audition advice
  • Links to online sign-ups

(608) 263-1770

ATTN: Non-music majors: If you would like to request an early dormitory move-in date to attend an ensemble audition, please contact Jared Jellison at admissions@music.wisc.edu by August 7, 2019.

SIGN UP FOR AUDITION: Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra (updated 9/6/2019)

Auditions for Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, and Symphony Orchestra are now complete. Results have been posted on the bands and orchestra bulletin boards, first floor of Humanities (near center/red stairwells).

Auditionees should have received a code from the conductors or ensemble TAs for enrollment. If you have not received a code, contact the conductor and/or your advisor.

All majors auditioning for Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, and music majors auditioning for Concert Band — Click your instrument to sign up for an audition time slot below.

Flute (Thursday 8/29, 10:38 a.m.–12:08 p.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Oboe (Thursday 8/29, 12:38 a.m.–1:20 p.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Clarinet (Friday 8/30, 9:44–11:08 a.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Saxophone (Thursday 8/29, 1:24–2:06 p.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Bassoon (Wednesday 8/28, 2:37–3:31 p.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Horn (Wednesday 8/28, 3:41–4:47 p.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Trumpet (Thursday 8/29, 2:10–4:10 p.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Trombone (Friday 8/30, 11:18 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Euphonium (Wednesday 8/28, 1:39–2:27 p.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Tuba (Wednesday 8/28, 12:45–1:33 p.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Percussion (Thursday 8/29, 4:30–8:00 p.m., room 1629)
Harp (Friday, 8/30, 9:00–9:28 a.m., room 2411)
Violins (Friday 8/30, 1:15–4:18 p.m., room 2411)
Violins (Saturday 8/31, 2:10–4:32 p.m., room 2411)
Viola (Saturday 8/31, 12:30–2:00 p.m., room 2411)
Cello (Saturday 8/31, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., room 2411)
Double Bass (Tuesday 9/3, 10:10–10:46 a.m., room 2521)

Non-music majors auditioning for Concert Band ONLY — Click your instrument to sign up for a time slot below.

Woodwinds and Brass: Non-Music Majors (Friday 8/30, 1:00–5:00 p.m., Morphy Recital Hall)
Percussion: Non-Music Majors (Thursday 8/29, 8:30–9:30 p.m., room 1629)

For excerpts, see below.

SIGN UP FOR AUDITION: Choral (updated 9/6/2019)

Auditions for choral ensembles are now complete. The choral directors will contact auditionees by email notifying them of results.

Student auditionees assigned to ensembles should have received a code from the conductors or ensemble TAs for enrollment. If you have not received a code, contact the conductor and/or your advisor.

UW–Madison VOICE MAJORS only:

Sunday, September 1, 2019, 1:00–5:00 p.m., George L. Mosse Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St., Room 2511
Voice majors: sign up here

UW–Madison students:

Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Humanities Building, Rooms 2411/2511
Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Humanities Building, Rooms 2451/2551
UW–Madison students, all other majors (not voice): Sign up here (Tues. 9/3) or here (Wed. 9/4)

Note: You do not need to be a music major to audition for a choir. For University Chorus, simply enroll in the course as no audition is required.

Here’s how to audition:

→ Sign up for an audition slot on the appropriate link above.

→ Print and complete the choral audition form before arriving at your audition (available online here or outside the audition room). Print double-sided on white paper. Write your name on the top of both sides.

→ Arrive ten minutes early for your audition.

The 8-minute audition will include singing My Country, ‘Tis of Thee (we have the words and will help you with your best starting note) and sight reading. International students may choose a simple song of their choice. The conductors will help you decide which choir best suits your schedule and abilities at the end of the audition. Each choir has several required concerts per semester.

Wait for your audition results before enrolling. Everyone will receive results within a few days, so please email if you do not hear back.

Community Members/Non-UW:

Fall 2019: Choral Union, Madrigal Singers, and Concert Choir are open to interested community members (non-UW students). Auditions for will be held in the George L. Mosse Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St.:

Thursday, September 5, 2019, 6:00–7:30 p.m., Room 2551

There is no need to sign up in advance for a time slot—auditions for community members/non-UW–Madison students are first come, first serve. The 8-minute audition will include singing My Country, ‘Tis of Thee and some sight reading.

The instructor will notify you of audition results via email. Once you have passed the audition (or received instructor consent to waive the audition) you will be directed to the Division of Continuing Studies to complete the enrollment process.


(608) 263-1770

SIGN UP FOR AUDITION: Jazz Ensembles (updated 9/6/2019)

Auditions for jazz ensembles are now complete. Click here to view audition results and Fall 2019 rosters.

Auditionees assigned to ensembles should have received a code from the conductors or ensemble TAs for enrollment. If you have not received a code, contact the conductor and/or your advisor.

Jazz ensembles auditions for all music majors (jazz and other MWSoM majors) will be held on Thursday, August 29, 2019 (woodwinds and brass, 8-minute time slots) and Friday, August 30, 2019 (rhythm section, 10-minute time slots including set-up).

Jazz ensemble auditions for all non-music majors will be held on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 (first day of classes). Times will vary based on the instrument you play (10- to 12-minute time slots).

Ensemble placements are for the full academic year. There are no regularly scheduled spring semester auditions, except in the occasional cases of specific vacancies.

Music majors: sign up for your instrument/section below
Woodwinds and Brass (Aug. 29)
Rhythm Section (Aug. 30)

Non-music majors: sign up for your instrument below (Sept. 4)
Trumpets and Trombone
Drums and Bass
Piano, Guitar, and all other instruments

Auditions are open to music majors and non-majors on all instruments (jazz ensembles consist of roughly 50% music majors and 50% non-majors). Students must be enrolled in classes at UW–Madison and, upon a successful audition, be able to add a 1-credit section of MUS 262 or MUS 562 to their schedule.

Students wishing to audition on more than one instrument should sign up for multiple audition time slots (one per instrument). Saxophonists who would like to be considered for multiple saxophone chairs (alto, tenor, baritone) should audition only on their first-choice saxophone but indicate their available doubles on their audition form.

There is a wide range of skill and experience levels represented in the UW–Madison jazz ensembles. However, rhythm section players (piano, guitar, vibraphone, bass, drums) should have prior jazz ensemble experience. Improvisation experience is required for most instruments, but there are some ensemble opportunities for brass players who are novice improvisers.

Students take a single audition, after which they are considered for placement in any of the Mead Witter School of Music’s six jazz ensembles. The jazz ensembles are not ranked by experience or skill level. Each ensemble has a different curricular and repertoire focus, for example, the Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble focuses exclusively on music of that diaspora. (Please visit this page for descriptions of each jazz ensemble). The jazz faculty attempts to rotate participating students through different ensemble experiences from each year to the next.

Upon a successful audition, students will be assigned an ensemble based on multiple considerations, which include the student’s schedule availability, instrument distribution, and available space within the ensembles, among other pedagogical decisions. Attempts are made to match similar skill and experience levels and factor in the student’s stated ensemble preference. Once students have been assigned to an ensemble, they will receive a registration code and must then register for the corresponding section of the 1-credit class, MUS 262 (for undergraduate credit) or MUS 562 (for graduate credit).

Reading: Students will be asked to sight-read a jazz big band part together with piano accompaniment (provided). Focus is on jazz-appropriate phrasing, sight-reading accuracy, instrumental tone, and technical ability. Guitarists’ and pianists’ sight-reading piece will include comping over a given chord progression. Bassists’ sight-reading piece will include walking a bass line over a given chord progression. The level of difficulty of the sight-reading will be adjusted based on the auditioning student’s experience and reading ability. Students with limited reading skills who are otherwise experienced jazz players are still encouraged to audition, as sight-reading accuracy is only one of several consideration in ensemble placements.
Improvisation: Students will be asked to improvise on a standard chord progression. Novice improvisers who are not yet comfortable navigating chord changes can substitute improvising over a blues progression in the key of F (concert).
Drummers: Students auditioning on drum set will be asked to play a variety of jazz grooves at different tempos, including medium swing, ballad, two-feel, fast swing, bossa nova, samba, 3/4 jazz waltz, and others.

A full drum set with cymbals, guitar amplifier, bass amplifier, and piano will be provided for the audition. Drummers may choose to bring their own cymbals and guitarists may choose to bring their own amplifiers. Upon successful audition and enrollment in a jazz ensemble course, instruments (woodwinds and brass instruments, basses) are available for rent from the Mead Witter School of Music. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide instruments in advance for students to prepare for their auditions.

Students concerned about the sight-reading aspect of the audition can prepare for the audition by reading through transcribed jazz solos (available online) or reviewing previously played ensemble parts, and/or by reading through melodies and improvising over the changes of a variety of lead sheets from the various volumes of The Real Book (Hal Leonard), Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Longs, or other fake books. Suggested melodies for sight-reading practice include both melodies that are usually performed as written (many jazz originals whose melodies are notated with very specific rhythms, especially bebop compositions such as pieces by Charlie Parker or Thelonious Monk) and melodies that require interpretive changes for an idiomatic jazz performance (most jazz standards, such as Broadway compositions by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, or Jerome Kern, which are usually notated in simplified forms in fake book lead sheets). Students wishing to brush up on their ensemble improvisation are encouraged to prepare by informally playing jazz standards together with friends, to seek out jam session opportunities such as the Madison Jazz Jam and to practice along with recordings, the Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Longs, or the iReal Pro app.

For further questions regarding auditions, please contact performingorgs@music.wisc.edu or (608) 263-1770.

EXCERPTS: Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra Fall 2019 (updated 6/26/2019)

Excerpts for Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra (Fall 2019)
*All strings players should prepare a 2–3 minute solo to perform in addition to the orchestral excerpts linked here.

Excerpts for Concert Band (MUSIC MAJORS) (Fall 2019)

Excerpts for Concert Band (NON-MUSIC MAJORS) (Fall 2019)

AUDITION FORMS: Choral, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra (updated 7/3/19)

It is recommended to print and fill out the appropriate form ahead of time and bring it to your audition. (Copies will be available at the audition)

Choral Audition Form 2019–2020 (Print this on white paper, double-sided)

Instrumental Audition Form 2019–2020

Wisconsin Singers Band Auditions (2019–2020 Season)

AUDITION NOW for the 2019–2020 Season

Do you have a passion for the stage? Interested in gigging with other great instrumentalists? Looking for a way to gain performing experience in a variety of popular music styles while sharing the stage with some of UW’s top talents? Wisconsin Singers, the UW’s premier Broadway-caliber pop music entertainment troupe, has openings for instrumentalists, singers, dancers, and stage technicians. Auditions for the 2019–2020 season will be held in spring 2018 or by appointment (online audition also available). As a Wisconsin Singer, you will work with professional choreographers and arrangers while learning how to stylize all genres of pop music. Band members work with arrangements written to challenge and showcase your individual strengths. We are also interviewing for theater techs in sound, lighting, and stage management. All performers and techs receive scholarship dollars and UW course credit. Visit wisconsinsingers.com/bandauditions or call (608) 263-9499 or (608) 609-1303 to schedule your audition time.

AUDITIONS: Marching Band (updated 6/7/2019)

Registration is required to audition for the Marching Band. Registration is now closed.

2019 Audition Information

Prospective Members: Early move-in will take place on Monday, August 19, 12–4 p.m. An informational mixer will take place on Monday evening and music auditions will begin on Tuesday, August 20. Registration is required to audition for the Marching Band.

The deadline to sign-up for early move-in (via the link above) is August 1. A $270 charge will be applied to your tuition bill for accessing university housing prior to the official move-in date.

Returning members: Evaluations and rehearsals will be held on August 19–20.

**A detailed schedule with times and activities will be sent to via email by Friday, August 2**

General Audition Information

The audition will consist of two elements: a music audition and a marching audition.

Winds: Music Auditions

  1. Chromatic scale (demonstrate as much of your range as possible)
  2. C major scale (concert pitch, two octaves if possible)
  3. A-flat major scale (concert pitch, two octaves if possible)
  4. Select and prepare two separate musical excerpts, one demonstrating technical abilities and one demonstrating lyrical abilities. We recommend you prepare 3 minutes of music total between the two selections. These etudes can come from solos, honor band auditions, or concert music. We just want to hear you at your best!
  5. Sight Reading

Percussion: Music Auditions: Refer to the information in the Drumline Handbook.

Marching Audition: Marching auditions will consist of UW Marching Band fundamentals and marching while playing. All fundamentals will be taught during the audition process.

(608) 263-1896