Instrumental Auditions Information

"Audition" Goals

We want to:

  • Get to know the students

  • Have the students get to know us

  • See where the students are at in their preparation

  • See what the students are capable of doing when presented with new music to read

  • Suggest other musical outlets that are available at PHS that they may be interested in

  • Keep them excited up about building on their strong musical foundation!

  • Alleviate some stress that can be associated with transitioning from Middle School to High School

Contemporary/Popular Music Courses

Guitar 1

There is no audition required or prior knowledge of music required to take this course

If you still want to audition, the skill we will be looking for in the audition is:

  • a desire to learn about music and guitar!


Guitar 2:

The audition for this course would be to perform a simple song like “I Want To Hold Your Hand” or “Smells Like Teen Spirit” along with the original track as well as a demonstration of their ability to read rhythms, chord symbols, and perform basic major and minor scales.

The skills we will be looking for in the audition are:

  • Open chords

  • Pick/finger-style technique

  • Single-string (linear playing) ability

  • Basic scales (major, minor, M and m pentatonic)

  • Some rhythm (quarter and eighth), tab, chord diagram, and chart reading abilities


Studio Music:

The audition will consist of a series of short songs provided by Mr. Traska where the student is asked to perform stylistic strumming patterns and chord choices based on the genre of the track. Along with performing along with the track students wishing to audition for this ensemble must be able to perform short improvisations using pentatonic scales.

The skills we will be looking for in the audition are:

  • Ensemble awareness

  • Understanding of ensemble terms

  • Ability to play a variety (major, minor, open, power, barred, 7th, etc.) chords

  • Ability to generate strumming patterns that fit into a variety of styles (pop, punk, reggae, blues, jazz, etc.)


Pop Performance Ensemble:

The audition process will consist of a one-on-one rehearsal with the director during which the student will be given a style, series of chord progressions, and tempo and will be expected to play idiomatically along with the director. Students will also be expected to have a composition portfolio of a minimum of 3 original pieces of music.

The skills we will be looking for in the audition are:

  • The ability to generate parts without having a backing track

  • The ability to compose original pieces of music that fit into the Pop Music genre

Orchestra Courses

String Orchestra:

This ensemble does not require an audition, however, should students choose to audition it will include the playing of an excerpt from a level 1 piece that allows students to demonstrate their current level on their instrument. Along with that the student will be asked to read a level 1 sight reading excerpt to get a feel for their music literacy. Finally, students will be asked to play a D, A, or G major scale for one octave.


If you still want to audition, the skill we will be looking for in the audition is:

  • a desire to learn about music!

  • a positive attitude and optimistic attitude!

  • an open mind!

  • Anything that looks like a developing skill that could possibly allow the student to move up a level


Concert Orchestra:

The audition process for this ensemble will include playing an excerpt from a level 3 piece that showcases students' development on the areas/skill sets we are looking for. Along with that, students will be asked to sight read a short excerpt at the 1.5 level. Finally, students will be asked to perform 4 major scales (D, A, G, and C) for 2 octaves on their instrument.


The skills we will be looking for in the audition are:

  • A developing dynamic range (ability to play contrasting dynamics)

  • Ability to play in a different position on their instrument and to comfortably shift

  • A developing range of articulations (ability to play notes that have a variety of beginning shapes and ending shapes)

  • A solid grasp of tempo maintenance and control


Symphonic Orchestra:

The audition process for this ensemble will include playing an excerpt from a level 4 piece that showcases the student’s development on the area/skill set we are looking for. Along with the prepared excerpt students will be asked to sight read a 16-24 bar excerpt at the 2-2.5 level. Finally, students will be asked to perform 4 major scales (D, A, G, and C) and 4 minor scales (A, D, E, and G) using a variety of provided bowing patterns.


The skills we will be looking for in the audition are:

  • A well developed and polished ability to demonstrate contrasting dynamic ranges as well as the ability to musically shape extended musical phrases

  • Ability to move effortlessly between positions throughout scales and excerpts

  • Ability to demonstrate a grasp over a variety of articulations

  • Ability to maintain a steady tempo throughout the excerpt, scales, and sight reading as well as the ability to follow a conductor throughout a ritardando and accelerando

Band Courses

Concert Band:

This ensemble does not require an audition, however, should students choose to audition it will include the playing of an excerpt from a level 1 piece that allows students to demonstrate their current level on their instrument. Along with that the student will be asked to read a level 1 sight reading excerpt to get a feel for their music literacy. Finally, students will be asked to play a Bb, F, or Eb major scale for one octave.


If you still want to audition, the skill we will be looking for in the audition is:

  • a desire to learn about music!

  • a positive attitude and optimistic attitude!

  • an open mind!


Symphonic Band:

The audition process for this ensemble will include playing an excerpt from a level 2.5-3 piece that showcases students development on the areas/skill sets we are looking for. Along with that students will be asked to sight read a short excerpt at the 1.5 level. Finally, brass and woodwind instruments students will be asked to perform 4 major scales (Bb, F, Eb, and C) for 1 octave.


Percussionists will also be asked to demonstrate:

  • a buzz roll on the snare drum that crescendos from piano to forte, then back down to piano

  • a C and F major scale on a keyboard instrument


The skills we will be looking for in the audition are:

  • A developing dynamic range (ability to play contrasting dynamics)

  • Ability to maintain a developing tone on their instrument through a variety of ranges in pitch and dynamic

  • A developing range of articulations (ability to play notes that have a variety of beginning shapes and ending shapes)

  • A solid grasp of tempo maintenance and control


Wind Ensemble:

The audition process for this ensemble will include playing an excerpt from a level 3.5-4 piece that showcases the student’s development on the area/skill set we are looking for. Along with the prepared excerpt students will be asked to sight read a 16-24 bar excerpt at the 2-2.5 level. Finally, for brass and woodwind students will be asked to perform 4 major scales (Bb, F, Eb, and C) and 4 minor scales (A, D, C, and G) using a variety of provided patterns.


Percussionists will also be asked to demonstrate:

  • a buzz roll on the snare drum that crescendos from piano to forte, then back down to piano

  • an open stroke roll on a timpano that crescendos from piano to forte, then back down to piano

  • a C, F, and Bb major scale on a keyboard instrument


The skills we will be looking for in the audition are:

  • A well developed and polished ability to demonstrate contrasting dynamic ranges as well as the ability to musically shape extended musical phrases

  • Ability to maintain a clear and consistent tone through a variety of ranges in pitch and dynamic

  • Ability to demonstrate a grasp over a variety of articulations

  • Ability to maintain a steady tempo throughout the excerpt, scales, and sight reading as well as the ability to follow a conductor throughout a ritardando and accelerando