Choirs, Orchestra, & Bands

All School of Music ensembles are open to all university students by audition. All ensembles are registered courses for which grades are given and tuition is paid. Auditions occur just prior to the beginning of the semester. Music is provided for instrumental musicians. Vocalists must prepare one piece from memory.

To schedule a non-major ensemble audition or for more information, please contact:

Music Classes

Piano, guitar and voice lessons are open to all majors, as are choirs, orchestra and bands! Classes in black music, history of jazz and world arts in music can be taken to fulfill general education requirements!


A performance audition is required for admission to a music major or minor. Auditions for Spring 2021 or Fall 2021 admission will primarily occur virtually or by prerecorded audition.

How to be an Undergraduate Music Major or Minor

  1. Apply to the University! On the University application you will be asked to choose your audition date. Current students can reserve their audition using My.IllinoisState.

You may choose one of the following scheduled virtual audition dates (conducted via Zoom):

    • September 26, 2020 (for spring 2021 only)
    • December 5, 2020
    • January 16, 2021
    • January 22, 2021
    • January 23, 2021
    • February 5, 2021
    • February 6, 2021
    • March 27, 2021 (not for scholarship consideration)

    Or, you may choose to submit a recorded video audition (audio-only not accepted). Percussion students needing to arrange an in-person audition can contact Recorded auditions and in-person auditions must be received or completed by February 6 for scholarship consideration. 

    For tips on recording or streaming your audition, please review recommendations from our faculty.

  1. Review ‘Suggested Repertoire’ for your specific instrument (listed on the individual studio pages) to prepare for your audition.

Once your audition date has been confirmed by the School of Music, you will be asked to upload additional material which includes:

  • letter of recommendation
  • a music resume
  • your recorded audition, if applicable
  • signed Transfer Acknowledgement Form (for transfer students transferring from a 4-year institution only)

Spring 2021 Woodwind and Brass Unified Ensemble Auditions

Percussion Auditions

Fall 2020 percussion juries will serve as the ensemble audition for Spring 2021 ensembles. Any percussion student who did not participate in a Fall 2020 jury should email Professor David Collier for percussion audition information. This does not apply to those who wish to perform in University Band.

Unified Auditions (Woodwind and Brass)

Students auditioning in Woodwind, Brass, Percussion Unified Ensemble Auditions will be considered for all major ensembles: Wind Symphony, Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Band, and Symphony Orchestra. All students regardless of major are welcome to audition for all major ensembles. All students participating in Unified Ensemble Auditions are required to prepare all provided excerpts.

  • Music majors are required to participate in the Unified Ensemble Auditions.
  • If a music major is planning to enroll ONLY in the online ensemble option, they still must submit their ensemble audition.

Major Ensembles Covered in Unified Auditions Wind Symphony: M/W/F; noon-1:50 p.m. (3 concerts); MUS 181A05/281A05/481A05Symphonic Winds: M/W/F; 4-5:50 p.m. (2 concerts); MUS 181A06/281A06/481A06Symphonic Band: M/W/F; 4-5:50 p.m. (2 concerts); MUS 181A07/281A07/481A07*Please note that both Symphonic Winds and Symphonic Band will now occur on M/W/F

Symphonic Band Only (Woodwind and Brass)

Symphonic Band Only Auditions are open to students who are not music majors and wish to be considered only for Symphonic Band. Students participating in Symphonic Band Only Auditions will prepare SELECT excerpts as indicated in the Audition Packet. Music majors and percussionists are not permitted to use this audition option.

University Band (Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion)

Students who wish to perform only in the University Band should register for the course as auditions are not required for participation in that ensemble. Further instructions will be emailed to all those enrolled in the course.

University Band: W; 7-9:50 p.m. (1 concert); MUS 181A03/281A03/481A03

Audition Electronic Submission Instructions

  1. Download and prepare the audition music which will be available NO LATER THAN December 15.  Audition music will be accessible via ILSTU email only. 
  2. Register for the ensemble that you believe is your most likely ensemble placement. Should you be placed in a different ensemble, you can change this later. If you are unsure of what class in which to enroll, you can contact your academic advisor, Professor Marinello, and/or the applied faculty member for your instrument.
  3. Record all required excerpts in a single video and upload to YouTube as an UNLISTED video.
  • The video is a SINGLE TAKE that includes all necessary excerpts. Editing or splicing videos is not permitted.
  • We recommend that students use an external USB microphone. If you are not comfortable with this equipment, then you may use your device or computer to record using the internal microphone.
  • Upload your video to YouTube as an UNLISTED video. If you need help uploading your video, please refer to our YouTube instructions for Spring 2021 auditions.
  • Submit the link to your UNLISTED YouTube video in the Ensemble Audition Submission Survey no later than Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. University Band, BRMM, and Pep Band members should NOT complete the survey.
  • Applied Faculty Flute (Kim Risinger)Oboe (Judith Dicker)Bassoon (Michael Dicker)Clarinet (David Gresham; Anne Dervin)Saxophone (Paul Nolen)Trumpet (Anne McNamara)Horn (Rachel Hockenberry)Trombone (Mark Babbitt)Euphonium (Andy Rummel)Tuba (Andy Rummel)Percussion (David Collier; Ben Stiers)

    Please contact Tony Marinello with any issues or questions.

    Download Audition Materials

    Spring 2021 Jazz Ensemble (Combo) Video Auditions

        1. Spring jazz ensembles will be in the form of jazz combos of up to 7 members per group with a maximum of 3 wind players in each (same as this fall).
        2. If you ARE currently playing in a jazz combo, no new audition is required. Email Tom Marko if you intend to continue next semester
        3. If you are NOT currently playing in a jazz combo and would like to be considered for a spot next semester, please submit video audition materials as follows:
        4. Deadline for all new video auditions: end of day, Tuesday, December 1.
        5. Placement in a combo is not guaranteed, however the attempt will be made to accommodate as many requests as is feasible while maintaining safety measures. The jazz combos will rehearse during the following times, with each group only rehearsing twice a week for 30 minutes each time:

          T/Tr noon-1:50 p.m. (can accommodate at least 2 combos)M/W/F 2-2:50 p.m. (can accommodate 2 combos)

          Additional rehearsal times will be considered as warranted.

        6. Please call Tom Marko with any questions: (309) 438-2541

        Download Audition Materials

        Fall 2020 ISU Symphony String Auditions

        Sunday, August 16
        Kemp Recital Hall

        Basses: 11 a.m.–noon
        Cellos: noon-1 p.m.
        Violas: 1 p.m.-2 p.m.
        Violins: 2 p.m.-4 p.m. 

        Download Audition Materials

        Fall 2020 Choral Ensemble Placement Auditions

        Returning and transferring students with voice as their primary instrument are expected to submit an ensemble placement audition, comprised of two brief audio-only recordings. Students new to college begin auditions spring semester, and do not need to submit audition recordings at this time. The audition recording components:

        1. Sing the standard version of Happy Birthday, unaccompanied, in your preferred key.
        2. Sing an 8 – measure * excerpt (in your preferred clef), unaccompanied.  If possible, use solfege syllables; otherwise  la, la ,la  or any neutral syllable will suffice. 

        Audition Excerpts:

        Other Audition Information

        Two audio-only files are best submitted as .mp3

        Please label files like this: 
        (your) LastName Song.mp3 
        (your) LastName Excerpt.mp3

        Carlson Song.mp3 
        Carlson Excerpt.mp3

        Drop your audio files in the appropriate section beginning August 13:

        2020 Altos
        2020 Sopranos
        2020 Baritone/Bass
        2020 Tenors

        The Illinois State University choral faculty remain committed to your health, well-being, and continued learning. We will continue to explore choral repertoire of all styles. We know that all members of the choral family will continue to be empathetic, flexible, and understanding to our evolving circumstances.

        Direct all inquiries to Karyl Carlson, director of Choral Activities.


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