All-State: Band vs. Orchestra

Anand S., Staff Writer

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Photo Courtesy of Paige Barber

Every year the best of the best musicians in Georgia attend two auditions in order to participate in All-State band or orchestra. The top middle school students are then selected to perform in Athens for a prestigious concert.

This year, 12 students made it into All-State. Of those students, eight made All-State orchestra, and four got into All-State band. The orchestra members moving forward are Toby L., Rosa K., Andrew M., Alex L., Ashwin P., Olivia V., Anastasia W, and Anand S., and the band members moving forward are Aaron Y., Erik W, Dean C., and Ben S.

Although the instruments and sounds are different, the audition process for All-State band and orchestra is quite similar. For starters, almost everyone agrees on the extreme prowess it takes to make it in to All-State.

When asked how difficult it was, Mr. Zac Ferguson-Cogdill, a band teacher at Westminster, said, “Getting into All-State is exceptionally difficult; because of the vast amount of students participating, there are a limited number of positions. When you do the math, the odds are against you.”

Ms. Rebecca Colbert-Frederick, an orchestra teacher, replied, “It changes from year to year but more people are practicing, so the competition is rising. The bar is getting higher and higher.”

Ms. Na, another orchestra teacher, said that the number of students auditioning is about 1000.

All of these teachers agree upon the immense competition between students trying out for All-State and the level of proficiency one needs to pass the auditions.

Another interesting similarity between band and orchestra All-State is how for some instruments it is harder to get into All-State than others.

Ms. Colbert-Frederick says that the hardest instrument to get into All-State with for orchestra is the violin. Because of the overwhelming number of participants, it is much more challenging to make it into to All-State as a violin rather than a bass or viola.

Mr. Ferguson-Cogdill thinks that the hardest instrument to make All-State with in band is either the saxophone or the percussion instruments. The reason for this is also because of the great number of people who audition of saxophone, while there is a limited number of spots.

The percussion is a difficult instrument due to the number of instruments, one needs to play for percussion. A percussionist needs to be able to play the tiffany, snare drum, and the keyboard.

One difference between All-State band and orchestra students described was about the most difficult part of the audition.

Anand S., a middle school student who tried out for the All-State orchestra, said that the hardest part for him was the sight reading. He stated that it was harder to practice for the sight reading, and it was difficult to play a piece that was completely new for him.

In contrast, Benjamin S. and Aaron Y., two bands students, both stated that the technical etude was the hardest part of the audition for them.

Although the students disagreed about the most challenging part of the auditions, they all agreed on one aspect: practicing for this audition helped them become a better musician overall.

 

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