Ensemble Audition Information

For more information on the campus response to COVID-19, visit smartrestart.wisc.edu.
The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our number one priority.

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

FALL 2021 AUDITIONS: Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra

Information about 2021 Fall Semester auditions to become available July 1, 2021.
Questions? Email: performingorgs@music.wisc.edu

Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra auditions are required for:

  • All UW-Madison undergraduate music majors with a classical focus degree in woodwind, brass, percussion, and strings.
  • All UW-Madison music majors who have been awarded a scholarship while pursuing a classical focus degree in woodwind, brass, percussion, and strings.
  • All Summer Music Clinic Tuition Waiver recipients.

Additionally, any UW–Madison student wishing to be considered for placement in the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra can audition.

Note: If a non-major undergraduate or graduate student wishes to play in a non-auditioned ensemble, they are invited to register for either All University Strings (Mus. 60, section 1 or 2), or a University Band (Music 43, section 1, 2, or 3.) These ensembles meet one evening a week and perform regularly throughout the semester.

Students playing string instruments audition once a year.  Auditions are held just prior to the start of fall semester.

Student playing woodwinds, brass, percussion, or harp audition twice: once before the fall semester, and again in December for the spring semester.

  • Audition dates: September 2, 3, 4, & 5, 2021

Students can audition only once per instrument in an audition cycle. The panel, consisting of applied instrument and conducting faculty members, will determine ensemble placement for each auditionee. Results will be definitive and announced via email after the audition cycle is completed.

Information about 2021 Fall Semester auditions to become available in summer 2021.

FALL 2021 AUDITIONS: Marching Band

Registration is required to audition for
the 2021-22 University of Wisconsin Marching Band. 

Register your INTENT TO AUDITION here.

Submission deadline: Friday, June 25, 2021.


Saturday, June 19  *  Saturday, July 24  *  Saturday, August 7

**These dates are pending University approval based on updated COVID-19 protocols.

  • Auditioning for Marching Band? Attend one or more Summer Clinics to prepare for auditions and the upcoming marching season.
  • Attendance is REQUIRED of prospective drumline members and recommended for prospective brass/woodwinds.
  • Register for a Summer Clinic on the Badger Band website in May. (No registration fee.)


On-campus rehearsals required for ALL (returning and auditioning):
starting Wednesday, August 18
A full schedule of August events will be emailed by Friday, July 30.


Early move-in to on-campus housing (if needed):
Wednesday, August 18

Registration is required for early move-in. Opt in using the “Intent to Audition” above. 

*If you select on-campus early move-in, you will be charged a NON-REFUNDABLE fee of $35/person per night. Details will be sent from University Housing after you register.


More information at badgerband.wisc.edu.
Email badgerbandinfo@music.wisc.edu.

FALL 2021 AUDITIONS: Choral Ensembles

Every single singer will be placed in one of the UW-Madison choirs regardless of their major. We welcome students of all levels of ability to study and perform outstanding choral music from all historical periods and from a variety of cultures. We have several ensembles that differ by size, skill level, and repertoire.

All new and returning students must audition for choir regardless of their major and objectives. No student will be allowed to sing in a choir without an audition. Auditions for the UW-Madison choral ensembles are held in a very relaxed environment and allow both faculty and students to discuss goals and expectations for each choir.

Audition information

When:  September 2, 3, & 4, 2021
Where: Mosse Humanities Building, rooms TBA
What: Click here for audition requirements
How: Sign-up forms to be released at a later date. Return to this page to register for your audition.
*All new and returning students need to fill out an audition form and schedule a time for your 10-minute in-person choral audition. Returning students must update their information.

FALL 2021 AUDITIONS: Jazz Ensembles


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

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. (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 permission code for enrollment 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. 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.

  • 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.

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.
  • 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.


Sight-reading: 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).

Ensemble improvisation: Prepare by informally playing jazz standards together with friends, seek out jam session opportunities such as the Madison Jazz Jam, and practice along with recordings, the Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Longs, or the iReal Pro app.


Wisconsin Singers Band Auditions: Visit www.wisconsinsingers.com for updated information

AUDITION NOW for the 2020–2021 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 2020–2021 season will be held in spring 2020 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.