“Just go for it”

As All-State takes place today, Oct. 21, auditioning band members share the common belief that securing a position in the prestigious honor band is not the main reason to audition.


Alyson Kuennen

Along with band members, orchestra and choir students will audition for spots into All-State on Oct. 21. Above, Meleah Chang ’18 practices for a mock audition at the All-State Strings Workshop on Oct. 14 at the Voxman Music Building.

Today students auditioning for All-State will board a bus taking them to the event all their hard work has been leading up to. The excitement and nerves in the band hallways are tangible as 30 West band members work on etudes and scales for the All-State auditions.

For many like Chad Johnson ’18, Drew Duncan ’18, Emily Moore ’21 and Anna Carmen ‘20, music is a way to relieve stress in life, spend time with friends and meet new people. The All-State auditions have allowed them to do just that and become better musicians in the process.

“I really like being a part of band because I feel like it helps you make a lot of friends and meet new people.”

— Anna Carmen

“I really like being a part of band because I feel like it helps you make a lot of friends and meet new people,” said Carmen.

Moore shares a similar opinion. “I just love all the friends you make in band and in marching band,” she said. All-State is not only for becoming a better musician, but also a great way to meet new people who share a similar passion.

Another way in which the All-State process has been beneficial is the experience musicians get from preparing and auditioning. Despite the nerves that come into play when auditioning, the process is a great experience for the future.

“Even if you don’t get in, just by preparing and practicing you are definitely getting better,” said Johnson.

Last year, Carmen got through the first round of auditions but did not get accepted into the band. Despite this, she is optimistic about how much she got out of the audition process and what she is yet to take from this year’s All-State auditions.

Duncan and Johnson both had already auditioned for All-State and made it in. They each believe that the process is important. Duncan’s sister had previously auditioned for All-State and encouraged him to try it out as an underclassman. He enjoyed it and is eager to be a part of it once again.

“I had a really good experience sophomore year and I want to relive it.”

— Drew Duncan

“I had a really good experience sophomore year and I want to relive it,” said Duncan.

Different musicians have different practice strategies for auditions. Each individual learns music in a way that is helpful to them. Although each person has different strategies to improve, most participating in All-State can agree on the fact that practice is a necessity for doing well.

Moore believes that the saying “practice makes perfect” is not true. Instead she said, “Good, developed practice makes perfect.” Johnson also shares the belief that practice is necessary for improvement. “You need to practice everyday if you want to make it into All-State.”

A strategy that has worked for Moore is to first run through a piece entirely to see what she’s doing well and what she needs to improve on, then go through the piece and work on specific sections. Lastly, she puts the piece together and runs through it as a whole.

These strategies have been developed through the process of preparing for auditions and chair tests. Because of the All-State experience, many musicians have been able to make habit of practicing regularly and learn the strategies that work best for them. All-State is beneficial for both learning how to practice and experiencing an audition.

All-State is not only for becoming a better musician and achieving new practice skills, but also for meeting new people who have things in common.

¨Usually in my life I focus on school first and then music. [The] weekend [of] All-State, I just get to primarily focus on music and enjoy music with friends who also enjoy music,¨ said Johnson.

During All-State auditions, musicians all over Iowa get to participate in an event that brings them closer to music and to each other. They get to meet new people with similar interests and gain a new understanding of the audition process and how to practice. Overall, the experience is much more than the result. As Johnson said, “You have nothing to lose, just go for it.” Securing a position in the band is just as important as the work done leading up to the audition.