Drum Major Audition FAQs

Revised: August 2016

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, 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 four Drum Majors for this season. We will have at least one spot 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: The Experience Camp/Auditions in December will include special 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 Weekend. Prospective DMs may have an opportunity to conduct the brass and/or percussion sections during the Experience Camp/Audition Weekend.

Q: What will the staff look for in the audition process?
A: During the auditions the staff will evaluate you in these areas (please notice the order of this list):

  • 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.
  • The auditions will also include interviews & discussions with Pacific Crest staff.

Q: What kind of conducting patterns should I know before the auditions?
A: There are a lot of styles used to conduct large ensembles; many of those styles complicate the process unnecessarily. In our auditions we will concentrate on 2, 3, 4 and 5 count patterns, as well as the basic conducting skills listed above. At the December Experience Camp/Auditions we’ll introduce you to our approach to conducting, and you will be evaluated on your application of our technique.

Q: What do I need to bring to the auditions?
A: You’ll be receiving scores and recordings at the Experience 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: At Pacific Crest, many staff members across all captions will contribute their expertise to your development during the season. Mark Kveton, past Pacific Crest Drum Major and Student Leadership Coordinator, and Seth Murphy, Program Director, will serve as your main staff/techs during the season. Dakota Chavez, former Pacific Crest Drum Major, will also work with the Drum Majors after the audition. Drum Majors will receive instruction from other 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.

Q: What am I getting myself into if I make it?
A: We hold weekend camps once per month starting in January. In May we start rehearsing every weekend, except Mother’s Day. Beginning the second weekend of June, we begin our All-Days. Our tour begins mid-June and ends the second Sunday of August. Basically, you’ll be with Pacific Crest everyday from early June through mid-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: Activities with your school music program come first. Period. After the last day of school, however, you must commit completely to Pacific Crest. Once offered a spot, you will compare the PC calendar to your academic calendar and let us know about your conflicts.

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.