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The hornline audition process is similar to a district, region, or all-state, band audition. In addition to a prepared piece, individuals are also asked to perform scales from memory and sight-read. Individuals should prepare all material as a way to showcase your musical ability - think of this as an opportunity to “wow” the adjudicator. Those who have a successful audition in the SMB practice and prepare for their audition regularly, and find opportunities to play for others before audition day!


Register for an audition

All interested individuals should first register for an audition using the link below if they have not already. This will add you to our information mailing list which will provide audition updates, reminders, and allow you to stay connected with the SMB!

Brass and saxophone music majors:

If you have been admitted as a music major (on an instrument in the SMB), your MSU College of Music audition will satisfy for automatic membership in the Spartan Marching Band.


All new music majors will receive an invitation letter from the Band Office in early May. If you would like to participate in the SMB as a music major, simply fill out the form in the early May mailing and return
it to the MSU Band Office. You will then be included in our July mailing for all new SMB members.

Questions about this process should be directed to Dr. Thornton


One prepared solo piece or etude

The instrumental audition should consist of one prepared solo piece or etude involving contrasting styles (3 to 5 minutes in length). A piece that you might perform at a “Solo and Ensemble Festival” would be appropriate. This piece does not need to be memorized.



The following major scales should be prepared:

C, F, B flat, E flat, A flat, G, D, A, E.


(Note these are
not listed in concert pitch. C major scale should be started on “C” for every instrument)


All of these scales should be performed by memory. Candidates are encouraged to play as many octaves as
possible. The pattern can be of your choosing, again, with the goal to demonstrate the best of your
musical ability.


Marching Orientation Session

In the afternoon session, candidates will participate in a marching orientation session. Individuals will be introduced to SMB marching fundamentals with the goal of learning, improving, and doing your best throughout the afternoon. We call this session an "orientation" because you are not being evaluated on your performance, but rather your ability to adapt and process feedback. Have a great attitude, give your best effort, and have fun!


Your music audition will be evaluated using the following criteria:
tone, intonation, rhythm, articulation, technique, expression, and overall musicality.


Please make sure that your face and hands are visible in your video while you are performing the required elements.

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