Battery Audition FAQs

Revised: September 2018

Q: How will the auditions work and what will I be expected to know?
A: Snare, tenor, and bass drummers will be evaluated individually and within the ensemble. Your proficiency will be evaluated on a number of skills, including but not limited to:

  • Legato Stokes
  • Accent-Tap control, (single hand patterns and hand-to-hand patterns)
  • 16th note timing, triplet timing
  • Double and Triple Strokes (triplets and 16ths)
  • Rolls (8ths, triplets, and 16ths)
  • Paradiddle/Pugada rudiments
  • Rhythmic modulations
  • Flams, (flam accents, flam taps, inverts, drags, cheese, fives)
  • A solo or music excerpt of your choice

Cymbal players will be evaluated on their timing, endurance, and their ability to learn the Pacific Crest style and sound vocabulary. Nearly all evaluation is done within the ensemble, though you’ll likely be asked to play by yourself during the process.

Additionally, all battery applicants will be evaluated on the following skills and proficiencies:

  • Marching and Playing
  • Quality of Sound and technique
  • Rhythmic Accuracy and various tempos and dynamics
  • Listening Skills
  • Adaptability and Adjustment
  • Exercises and music
  • Vocabulary
  • Physical Strength and Conditioning

At the end of the Audition Weekend, you’ll be either (1) offered a spot, (2) invited to the next camp with a list of skills to improve, or (3) encouraged to return next year.

Q: How will I be evaluated?
A: During the auditions we will evaluate you in the following areas:

  • Attitude and desire toward learning & performance excellence
  • Rhythmic control and consistency (time, tempo, meter).
  • Individual and Ensemble playing abilities
  • Overall technique, touch and quality of sound
  • Learning & mastering warm-up exercises & music

Q: When will I know if I made the line?
A: At the end of each camp we will let you know how you’re doing in the audition process, give you a rating, and let you know what your chances are of making the line. Some decisions will be made in December, but the line won’t be set until January or February.

Q: Can I audition on more than one instrument?
A: You should audition on the instrument that suits you best. If you don’t make a spot in that section, an instructor may recommend another section, provided you’re interested in doing so.

Q: What am I getting myself into if I make it?
A: After the audition weekend, the percussion section attends the January Camp, and then is off until last weekend of April (after WGI Championships). In May we rehearse every weekend except Mother’s Day. The first week of June is All-Days. We move in to Spring Training the second week of June. We depart for tour in mid-to-late June. Basically, you’ll be with Pacific Crest everyday from the first weekend of June through the second weekend of August. This will be the most intense yet most rewarding performing experience of your life!

Q: What if I can’t make a camp because of school performance?
A:During the academic year, your school events take priority over Pacific Crest. You may miss up to four full camp days due to school conflicts. These may be taken as two full camps, four full days, eight partial days, or a combination that sum to four days. If you must miss more than four full days, please contact the corps manager. Communication is key to finding a solution.

Q: What if my school year ends after All-Days start?
A: If you are still in school during All-Days, we urge you to request the chance to take final exams early and/or miss the last days of school. You may request a letter from the Executive Director that confirms participation in Pacific Crest.

Please note that if your school year ends after the All-Days — and you must miss most or all of the early June rehearsals — you will be considered an Understudy. Understudies can earn their way into a performance spot later in the summer, but cannot be guaranteed a spot if missing that much rehearsal the first half of June.

Q: What if I can’t make the December auditions?
A: If you are involved in the Rose Parade or similar activity during the winter, and there simply is no way for you to audition in person, you must send us a video audition in advance of the Audition Weekend. Click the link below to learn more about submitting a video audition:


NOTE: We do not accept applicants based upon their video auditions. Once evaluated we will let you know if we want to see you in person at a future camp to complete your audition.