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Tips for Surviving Your Drum Major Tryout Interview
by Rick Wilson

Just about every audition process for becoming a drum major includes a interview with the director. This has caused more drum major candidates to lose sleep than just about anything else.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you prepare for your interview:

1. Don't kid yourself. Your audition has always started.
From the moment that you first mentioned that you might want to become he drum major, people have been evaluating you.

So just what is your reputation in the band? Are you the joker in the back? Are you the go-to person when someone needs something done right? Are you the quiet person who has become almost invisible in your section?

Give yourself an honest answer. You may even want to ask a couple of your trusted friends. Let them know you want the real answer, even if they think you may not want to hear it.

This gives you a realistic starting point. You may have some work to do to improve your reputation so you assure that you are a real contender for the job.

2. Look for opportunities to show you are a leader.
How do you show that you will be a good leader if you become the drum major? The answer is to have already demonstrated you are an effective leader. Take any opportunity to take a leadership role and then be very good at doing that job. It can be as simple as running the band's fundraising car wash. It could be putting together a team that does a recruiting visit at one of the middle schools that feeds your program.

Start being a leader now. It will help if you're already considered someone who helps others get things done before you ever walk into your interview.

3. Dress for the interview.
You want to look your best while still looking appropriate. If the interview is after school, it might be considered strange if you showed-up in a coat and tie. (This would be even stranger if you are a girl.) But when you show-up looking neat and clean, you send the message that you care. You also show respect to your director and your program. These things always help.

4. Practice.
The way to get comfortable doing interviews is to do a number of them. Have someone role play with you. You may ask one of your family or friends. Here are some of the most common questions you'll hear in Drum Major interviews.

- Why do you think you should be the Drum Major?

- What are you going to do to make sure that you are 100% prepared when you step in front of the band?

- There is a lot of pressure to both be a student and to lead other students. Are you ready for the pressure?

- Have you considered the extra time this job will involve and are you ready to make that commitment?

- What do you think makes the difference between an average and an exceptional drum major?

- Give me an example of something that you have achieved and of which you're proud.

- In this job you may have to discipline your friends. Are you ready to do that?

- What is your vision for the program next season and how you do think you can help us achieve it?

5. Be honest and speak from your heart.
Are you really passionate about your band doing well? Do you want this job so badly that you find yourself conducting in your sleep? Are you willing to put in ridiculous extra hours and bust your butt so that your band will succeed?

if the answer is yeas, say it. Most directors want a drum major who is committed and passionate. If you feel that way, tell them.

If you don't feel that way, why are you auditioning? This isn't the job for you.

I hope this helps prepare you for your interview. Here's to your success!



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