Drum Major Audition FAQs

Revised: September 2018

Q: What is the Drum Major expected to do?
A: The most visible responsibility of the Drum Majors at Pacific Crest is to conduct the group in both competition and other venues, focusing on expressing their role as a prominent performer. Our DMs, however, do much more than just their job on the podium. The DMs also assist in logistical support of the Instructional and Support Staff at virtually all events/rehearsals, and help to communicate the ideals of Pacific Crest to members and the public. We are looking for confident, proactive individuals who will support the objectives of the staff on a rehearsal, performance, and organizational level.

Q: How many drum majors do you select?
A: We will select up to three Drum Majors for this season. We will have at least two spots open for audition.

Q: Who can audition for a drum major spot?
A: Anyone! We accept auditions from both veteran and new prospective members.

Q: How do I audition for a Drum Major position?
A: Attend the December Audition Camp. The camp will include specialized teaching sessions for those who are auditioning for a Drum Major spot. It’s important that you attend to see how the staff works and what’s expected of a Pacific Crest Drum Major. Candidates auditioning for the upcoming season will be given an audition decision at the end of the Audition Camp, which may either be a contracted position, a call back, or a request to return back in the future.

Q: What does the audition consist of?
A: The formal audition process (beyond the sessions mentioned above) will consist of the following.

  • Interviews/discussions with Pacific Crest staff/administration.
  • Individual conducting audition with a recording and score. This will be provided to you on Day 1 of the Audition Camp
  • Prospective DMs may also have an opportunity to conduct the brass and/or percussion sections during the Audition Camp as part of the audition

Q: What will the staff look for in the audition process?
A: During the auditions the staff will evaluate you in these areas:

  • Communication and display of effective leadership qualities/strategies.
  • Attitude and willingness to learn and receive direction from staff.
  • Ability to show a confident demeanor under performance and responsibility pressures.
  • Ability to work within the framework that has made Pacific Crest successful.
  • Mastery of basic conducting skills, including cleanliness of pattern, cues, left/right independence, consistent tempos, and posture.

Q: What kind of conducting patterns should I know before the auditions?
A: There are many styles conductors may use in a marching arts setting. At the Audition Camp we’ll introduce you to our approach to conducting, and you will be evaluated on your application of our technique. In our auditions we will concentrate on 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 patterns, as well other conducting skills. We may introduce multiple conducting styles in an effort to make you feel most comfortable performing the audition piece.

Q: What do I need to bring to the auditions?
A: You’ll be receiving scores and recordings at the Audition Camp. You should also bring a notebook/binder, pencils, metronome if you have one, and clothing for an all-day outdoor rehearsal.

Q: Who will be my instructor?
A: Mark Kveton, Student Leadership Coordinator/Drum Major Instructor, will serve as your main staff/tech during the season for conducting and Drum Major specific duty instruction. The brass and percussion caption heads will also contribute to the successful execution of on-field performance related responsibilities. Drum Majors, however, should expect to receive instruction from other Pacific Crest administration and instructional staff during the course of the season, as well.

Q: If I am not selected for one of the Drum Major spots, can I still try out for another section?
A: Absolutely! You may audition for another section at the January Camp. Simply communicate with the respective caption head after the conclusion of the Audition Camp to coordinate an audition.

Q: What am I getting myself into if I make it?
A: After the audition weekend, we rehearse one weekend per month starting in January. 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 Spring Training, 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.

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.