A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Audition Information

Includes information on:

  • Ensemble Seating Auditions for Symphonic Winds  (for students in any academic major)
  • Ensemble Fellowship Stipends
  • Scholarship/Performance Grant Auditions for those interested in majoring in Music at Houghton

Ensemble Seating Auditions

(Information for all players, regardless of major)

“I want to play in Symphonic Wind Ensemble (concert band).”

  • Openings. The Symphonic Winds generally has openings in several sections, and membership is open to students of all academic majors. Students may register for 0 credit or 1 credit, whether Integrative Studies credit is specifically desired or not.
  • Seating Auditions. For those interested in performing in Houghton’s large instrumental ensembles, seating auditions are asked of all new students and returning students in designated sections. Hearing each student play allows for making helpful decisions about seating placement and part assignments. Players may be seated on a rotating basis. Harpists and pianists do not need to audition and are placed in ensembles in conference with studio teachers. Non-student community members are not asked to audition and are typically not asked to play principal parts.
  • Sign-Up and Audition Procedure.
    Instrumental Ensemble Placement Auditions 

    All Houghton students are welcome to play in the Symphonic Winds and/or Philharmonia Orchestra after completing a short placement audition. Audition information and sign-up is online at https://houghtonbandorchauditions.youcanbook.mePlease visit that link to sign up for your 15-minute audition slot during an available time for you. New students to Houghton are requested to audition Friday evening or Saturday and returning students are requested to take Saturday or Sunday slots. Monday morning slots are reserved for people who absolutely cannot return before Monday. The auditions are held in Room 210 in the Center for the Arts building on the second floor. Please bring your instrument, a short 3-5 min prepared piece and be ready to play scales and sight read. Please arrive a few minutes early. If you have any questions regarding auditions or participation in these instrumental ensembles please email Professor Justin Davis at justin.davis@houghton.edu. We look forward to hearing your audition, meeting you, and having you participate with us this year! Please pass the word to all Houghton students that you may play in band or orchestra...regardless of your major!
  • Seating Audition Material. For your audition, unless specific passages are specified by the director in advance, please prepare two brief excerpts of your choice:
    • 1. A slow, expressive passage in a sensitive, lyrical vein (approx. 2-3 min.)
    • 2. A faster, more technically challenging passage (approx. 1-2 min.)

It is acceptable to play excerpts from solo literature, etudes in collections, or from ensemble literature, where appropriate. Choose passages that help you feel comfortable as you play.

Sight reading may be asked in these auditions.

  • First-week activities in the Philharmonia and Symphonic Winds include reading rehearsals, an information-sharing session, and officer elections for the role of freshman representative. Except in the case of students participating in off-campus programs (student teaching, studying abroad, etc.), students are assumed to be committing the ensemble for the entire academic year. Please communicate with the director in advance about any possible exceptions.
  • Music majors who play wind and percussion instruments are assumed to be available for both the Philharmonia and Symphonic Winds and will be placed in one or both ensembles, based on audition results—as needed, based on repertoire requirements for the season, and in conference with the Director of the School of Music.

Special Note Regarding Student Teaching

Each fall at Houghton, several instrumentalists are involved in semester-long student teaching activities and are generally unavailable for ensemble participation during this period. According to the musical requirements of the ensemble, when the student teachers return in the spring, they will typically be seated alongside players who have been playing through the fall semester. If feasible, fall student teachers are encouraged to take an audition in the fall semester with other students, and to continue practicing their primary instruments during the student teaching semester, with a view toward the spring.

Ensemble Fellowships

Houghton Ensemble Fellowships are awarded for excellence in musical achievement and for participation in small- and/or large-ensemble music-making while at Houghton College. These Fellowships are open to all talented musicians. Fellowship stipends—available in a limited number and in limited amounts—are recommended annually, based on ensemble needs and the anticipated scope of the student’s musical contribution to the School. Fellowship recipients may also be eligible for other merit-based awards at Houghton College.

Scholarship/Performance Grant Auditions for Music Majors

“I play a woodwind, brass, string, or percussion instrument and am interested in auditioning for entrance into the School of Music as a music major.”

The Greatbatch School of Music welcomes auditions by potential music majors beginning in the fall semester for the upcoming academic year. Students may audition for acceptance into the School of Music either before or after acceptance by Houghton College. Music scholarship decisions are made in February and March; we encourage early auditions. Established audition dates; other dates may also be arranged by telephoning 585.567.9400 or e-mailing music@houghton.edu.

Read about our Presidential Audition competition.

  • Openings. The Greatbatch School of Music has no quotas per se but typically accepts a class of first-year students numbering from 30 to 45 for the Bachelor of Music degree.
  • Auditions. Entrance auditions are required of all potential music majors. Please don’t be anxious about your entrance audition. It is held in a relatively relaxed environment and is hosted by friendly faculty members—including, when feasible, the applied music instructor on the student’s own instrument—who are “on your side,” wanting you to do your best. Try to view the audition as an opportunity to form a musical and personal acquaintance, as well as a basis for future instruction, rather than as a barrier.
  • Scholarships. Each auditioning student is considered for Performance Grant scholarship funding at the time of his/her audition with faculty members. Performance Grants are renewable annually, assuming maintenance of appropriate criteria. The typical holder of a performance grant will be a talented student (any instrument or voice part) who chooses a bachelor of music curriculum and/or who possesses solid skills on an instrument of particular need to our major ensembles or programs. At Houghton, a student who receives a Performance Grant may also be considered for an academic scholarship or a grant from another area of the College.
  • Audition/Application Procedure. To set up an audition, submit your audition request online, download our current auditions brochure (PDF, 96KB), telephone 585.567.9400, or e-mail music@houghton.edu.

Audition Material

For your audition, please prepare two brief excerpts of your choice:

1. An expressive movement, piece, or passage in a sensitive, lyrical vein (approx. 3-5 min.)
2. A faster passage that demonstrates technical capability (approx. 3-5 min.)

This audition material typically will come from solo literature, etudes in recognized collections, or major excerpts from large ensemble literature, where appropriate. Choose passages that demonstrate your abilities well; the order in which they are played is at your discretion. It is not necessary to bring additional copies of the music for the faculty.

In addition,

3. Major scales may be asked.
4. Sight reading may be asked.