Woodwind and Percussion FAQ

Multiple Instruments


Q. What do I need to play for my audition?
A.  Auditions generally consist of two contrasting pieces from the standard repertoire - the kinds of pieces that might choose for solo contest.  The student may also choose two contrasting movements from a single concerto or major sonata.  One of the selections can be an etude, although rarely do auditionees elect this option.  Piano accompaniment is not required and is generally not provided.

Q.  What pieces, books, or composers would suggest for an audition?
A.  Selections from standard repertoire work best – pieces by well-known composers, in Classical style (as opposed to pop or jazz style).  Students without a private teacher for guidance should be encouraged to contact the professor of their instrument at Illinois Wesleyan for advice for their particular case and skill level. You may contact the individual professor at the e-mail addresses listed below.

Q.  How long is the audition?
A.  The auditions are set at about 12 minute intervals, 10 minutes for your solo works and 2 minutes for sight-reading.

Q.  Will I be asked to play scales as part of the audition?
A.  Students are encouraged to be prepared to play major scales if requested but there is no scale requirement.

Q.  Will I be asked to sight-sing as part of the audition?
A.  There is not a sight-singing requirement.

Q.  Who will be hearing my audition?
A.  Members of the brass faculty if a brass player, the woodwind faculty if a woodwind player and the percussion faculty if a percussion player.

Q.  How long does it take to get results from my audition?
A.  While some decisions may be made earlier, a majority of applicants to the School of Music typically will hear after March 1st with decisions being made up to the first week of April.  We are always mindful that students need to make their college decision by May 1.

Q.  If I receive a Talent Award, am I required to re-audition for it each year?
A.  Talent Award winners have the award for four years as long as they continue to have music as their major.

Q.  Does this audition also determine my placement in ensembles?
A.  No, there will be ensemble auditions in the fall once you arrive on campus. Information about the auditions will be sent by the band and orchestra directors in the summer.

Q.  Is it better to come on an Open House Day or to schedule a separate appointment?
A.  The Open House Days have a student recital and other planned activities, but you are welcome to come for a separate appointment, visit classes, and take a short lesson on a weekday. Arrangements can be made through Laura Dolan ldolan@iwu.edu.

Q.  Can I audition on more than one instrument or voice?
A.  Yes, you are encouraged to demonstrate your talents, realizing you will need to choose one instrument as your major when you apply.


Q.  How many large instrumental ensembles are offered at IWU and what are they?
A.  There are a variety of ensembles playing the highest level of literature. They include:

Q.  Do any of IWU’s instrumental ensembles tour?
A.  Yes, the Wind Ensemble and Illinois Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra regularly do concerts in fine halls in major cities. The Jazz Ensemble visits high schools each year, plays development functions in locations like Arizona and California, and takes a major tour every four years. These have included Japan, the United Kingdom and Italy.

Q.  What chamber music opportunities are available?
A.  Standard instrumentation ensembles are generally offered each semester - woodwind quintet, brass quintet and choir, trombone choir, flute choir, saxophone quartet, and the tuba quartet and ensemble. The professor overseeing the ensemble will assist in the selection of ensemble members.

Q.  Can students start their own chamber ensembles?
A.  Students are encouraged to explore other chamber music opportunities, either for credit or simply for the experience.

Q.  How often do these groups rehearse and how often and where do they perform?
A.  If taken for credit, most chamber groups rehearse for at least 1-2 hours per week and also meet each week with a faculty coach.  Performance opportunities include department recitals, general recitals, junior and senior recitals given by members of the group, and appearances at other events both on and off the IWU campus.

Multiple Instruments

Q.  Is it possible to have a secondary instrument or take voice lessons in addition to winds or percussion? 
A.  Students majoring in performance on their instrument are required to take lessons for four semesters on an instrument or voice other than their major.  It is generally recommended (although not required) that the student invest all four semesters in the study of one instrument or voice in order to acquire as much proficiency as possible in the secondary area.  Bachelor of Arts and Music Education students may elect secondary study, but should be aware that there is an additional cost for these lessons.

Q.  Can I major on more than one instrument or voice?
A.  You major on one instrument and take the other(s) as a minor.

Q.  If I am an instrumental major, can I sing in a choir?
A.  Yes, you may participate in as many ensembles as your schedule and time allow. However, instrumental students fulfill graduation requirements through participation in appropriate instrumental ensembles. Your advisor can help you coordinate your ensemble participation.