All State Band Auditions

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    Thanks misty.

    yes chad. but the board should respect and allow teachers to make those decisions.

    Not every WMEA member votes for our elected positions. Should we not allow those that do vote count? #notmywmeapastpresident ba ha ha totally kidding!!!!


    Presidents have historically run unopposed. No one lining up for that gig. Wonder why?

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by .

    A group of membership cannot create it’s own quorum separate from the executive board, and use that quorum to adopt it’s own policies. i think that they do do that and then take that proposal to the board. is that not how it works?

    so you are saying that it shouldn’t have mattered how many people were there if we can’t make a quorum and vote? why pass two of the three proposals? the peoples opinions or votes who didn’t attend the meeting only matter for the scale change? what about the changes that we have made with state marching band in the past? we make a decision(vote) as a group and then take that to the board for approval. not the same thing?


    I agree with Chad- back to the topic of All-State scales.

    I am definitely not speaking for everyone, but maybe this resonates with others as well. I feel frustrated with the fact that the band directors who showed up to the meeting in Jan have already discussed this topic, that being the scale portion of the All-State audition. We discussed, and hashed out and went back and forth and came to a decision that we felt was best for our state at this time. If we are going to follow this practice- that we need “all” or even most of the directors in the state to be present at meetings where decisions are made- nothing will ever get done! For example, decisions with regard to jazz are made during the summer WJE meeting and the all state meeting but not every director with a jazz program is present. But we still make changes. Again, those who show up, are those who will have a voice. There is no way to account for everyone.


    I think we are getting off topic. We are starting to hash out something that is already board policy and isn’t really the topic at hand. We need input on the scale change proposal, not process of policy change. Anyone that wants to have their voice heard is weakening the discussion by pushing on this… scales drawn… yes or no.

    The WMEA hears proposals and votes to make policy changes… no other entity (band directors, ACDA, ASTA, WJE) votes to make policy changes, they have discussions and make proposals. Like it or leave it… that is the way it is. Any belief that the band directors had a meeting is misplaced… they took part in a roundtable discussion. Point in fact, we are only allowed to have a set amount of meeting times at the conference in order to qualify for PTSB Recertification Credit, and the band roundtable was not included in that list of meeting times.

    As a board, we do not rubber stamp anything. Doing so can be dangerous. If ACDA were to meet and sweep in and make a proposal to add a 2nd All-State Choir, say a treble choir… we would not simply pass that on because ACDA said so. That is why we have a board with clear policy to oversee operation of the association. Some have called it micro-managing, I call it over-sight… either way it doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks they are entitled to… this is how this goes down.

    At the end of the day, I think someone would like to make a proposal and is trying to take input. I would like to take that proposal to the board. If I understand correctly, the band directors met, discussed, and would like to see this happen. However, as board president I do not want to make decisions in a vacuum and the board felt that we needed more input to make a proposal. More discussion on issues like this can only be viewed as a good thing, not a bad thing. Getting this topic out in the open is important… unless we have something to hide… which we don’t, so lets hear it people… what do you think about the proposal. There is still time to have discussion, make a proposal, get a vote, and make a change before we roll out all state auditions.


    20 ballots cast – 72 high schools in Wyoming. If each school cast only one vote, less than 28% of Wyoming’s effected high schools were represented. I will be bringing forward a proposal to ensure that a larger portion of the effected schools are represented in similar discussions moving forward. This is some good that can come from this conversation.

    There are currently comments on here from teachers at 7 Wyoming High Schools. Call your friends and encourage them to make their opinion known about scales for the All-State Band. Two of the high schools in this discussion have directors who must represent their membership without the impact of their own opinion (Brian at Rock Springs – Band VP, Brent at KW – WMEA President).

    Now would also be a great time to remind people that we will be seeking candidates in January for WMEA President. It is a wonderful opportunity to put your great ideas and leadership philosophy to use! We look forward to your service to our organization.


    of the 72% of band directors that did not vote….
    1% were not at all state cause they had a baby
    2% were in the hall talking
    3% were in the bathroom throwing up…. too much drinking.
    66% teach more than one thing and were at a different strand in the schedule
    these are alternative facts
    moving forward, how do we as a state make these decisions that provide change any what we do for kids?


    I would like to start with the original proposal that was presented to the band directors back in January.

    “Current scale requirement: (What is currently in the WHSAA handbook)

    “Students will play one pair of major scales and the corresponding arpeggio chosen from the following pairs: Gb/F#- C, F- B/Cb, Bb-E, Eb-A, Ab-D and Db-G. The scales and arpeggios must be played in the correct octaves and rhythms provided on the scale sheet and played (tongued) at the indicated metronome marking.”

    Proposed change:

    The band vice president will select two major scales for each instrument from the scale sheet. The two scales will be sent out to the band directors on Friday of week 16, (one week before the first recording day.) The two selected scales must be performed as written on the scale sheet and memorized.

    Reasons for the change:

    This will allow for each instrument audition to be exactly the same. The way we have the audition now, some students may end up playing easier scales, while others may draw more difficult scales. This is an unusual variable to have in an audition.

    2. These scales will be memorized and this will alleviate the need for scale sheets in the audition and the ambiguity of the scale names. The script could simply say play scale 1 and then play scale 2.”

    I would also like to include the following.

    1. The scales that are selected would be by instrument, in other words flutes and saxophone would not necessarily play the same two scales. Also I was not saying that the scales would be just band keys, they could be what the band VP wanted to hear for that instrument. Flutes could be playing Db and A, while saxes could be playing B and Eb.

    2. Out of the three audition areas we have in the state, the band audition is the only one that has any kind of unknown factor. With the choir and orchestra audition the students all play or sing exactly same material for their instrument or part.

    3. I am certainly not suggesting that teachers do not teach all of the major scales. I feel that the scales are a very important part of student musician development. Teaching the major scales is not what this is about, the main purpose of this proposed change is to make each audition the same. I wold assume that teachers would still teach the major scales whether they were part of the audition or not.

    4. This change was voted on by the band directors present at the meeting in January and it passed. At the WMEA board meeting on May 6, 2017, the changed was discussed and then the proposal was not brought forward for a vote. This lack of action is not consistent with the board’s past dealings with changes made to all-state audition material. In the past we have had the Wyoming Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and the American String Teachers Association meet at all-state and make changes to their respective all-state auction material and the board passed the changes without any question. This is the way that we have been adjusting our all-state audition material. If we are going to change this procedure then we should of been informed before our meeting in January and then given the opportunity to present the proposal to the board.

    My main goal in presenting this change was to give our students a fair and consistent audition. In my research of what other states do we are one of the only ones that has this type of unknown factor in the audition.


    Thank you all for the discussion so far – I appreciate your thoughts and feedback on this issue.

    Just to clarify my reasoning for this discussion – when I brought this issue to the board, there was a substantial amount of questioning that I could not answer as I was not at the meeting in January (I was working with the band at that time). Rather than put the matter to a vote when I couldn’t fully answer the questions of the board members, I decided to gather more information from the band directors of the state.

    Please understand that I did not choose to delay out of a desire to micromanage or second-guess the discussion that already happened, but rather to be sure that I had the complete and accurate information from the band directors in the state prior to moving forward so that I can be confident recommending any change to the board. As you can see, this is a complicated issue and I want to be sure that we are moving wisely through this process.

    Thank you again!


    Thank you Dan and Brian for the clarifications. I was not present at the January meeting and I don’t recall if I was in 66%, or the 2% group, I definitely wasn’t in the 1% or 3% group. My apologies for not being there.

    After reading the proposal, I understand the rationale and am in total support of the changes.

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide input.

    John Fabela


    After a fruitful lunch discussion, Worland High School stands in support of the current proposal, with a note of appreciation for the return of memorization.

    Chad Rose for Willie Wright
    Worland High School


    I am also in favor of proposed change. So- Brent mentioned that there is still time to have the discussion, make the proposal, vote and have the changes in before auditions this fall. Comments made earlier stated that there wasn’t enough participation last January, not enough of the directors in Wyoming were present to have their voice. How does it work now? Of the 72 high schools in Wyoming, roughly 9 have made a comment here. What is required to have enough voices to vote?


    Regarding next school year’s auditions, I am fine with what was voted on and passed. If it doesn’t work out, we can change it for the following year.

    If it isn’t settled and more input is needed, here are my thoughts.

    Having someone next to you playing wrong notes combined with the frustration of the guest conductor having to interrupt rehearsal to fix notes can ruin the honor band experience for everyone involved. With such limited rehearsal, the opportunity cost of being forced into survival mode at any point is huge. I feel like it is our responsibility at the point of the audition (not after the music is distributed) to ensure that the All-State clinician NEVER has to fix notes. With this in mind:

    1. Whatever scales are required should be memorized. If they aren’t memorized, the student doesn’t know them, and is very likely unable to apply them in real time when the notes aren’t ordered neatly into a scale pattern.

    2. The idea presented so far that I like best is Richard’s idea of all students playing concert G-Db. This would standardize the scale portion of the audition, and almost surely cover every key signature they would see in their All-State music. At a moderate tempo, this will take maybe 2 minutes of audition time. I would be okay with students knowing which scale to play next, so they don’t freeze up trying to remember the order of scales.

    3. There is plenty of time. I know that there are many students that play very musically, have characteristic tone quality and good range, and you (or I) might be hopeful that the student will make all state. However, I don’t understand the concern of “great players” being excluded because they don’t know (haven’t spent the time working on) major scales. Every student, especially one that thinks they “deserve” a spot in the All-State Band, has ample time to make it happen.

    4. Scales are not difficult. Almost every high school kid has to at least take algebra and pass; many of them, especially advanced music students, take physics and calculus. Are major scales conceptually more difficult that algebra? It is not as if we are asking them to memorize 3rd mode melodic minor in every key. Students have had fingering charts since they started playing their instruments.

    5. At every All-State audition site I have ever been to, I have seen students coming out of audition rooms looking defeated and lamenting the fact that although they “absolutely nailed” the etudes, they choked on the scales. For one thing, I don’t believe that; also, that seems very backwards to me – scales demonstrate basic competency and technical skill, and should be the easiest part of the audition. That suggests me that they have the wrong priorities when it comes to practicing. If a student is a good player but not serious enough to learn scales, they are not entitled to an all-state spot – even if that means accepting less students.

    6. Students eventually adopt the priorities of their director. If it is a major concern that the most serious band students in our programs are going to be “kept out” of All-State because they can’t play major scales, maybe we should rethink the priorities we are conveying to students in our classes every day. But especially to those students who choose to audition for All-State.


    I am in favor of the proposal made at the January meeting, not because I think the two pre-determined scales is the best option, but because I think the current system is not equitable. I’m not sure on how we implement it perfectly or if it is the most perfect thing to do, but I think it makes the audition process more equitable with every instrument playing the same scales.

    At the same time, I like that my kids practice all twelve major scales. Yes, we all have those kids that want to learn all twelve because they are nerds, like the challenge, or truly understand the importance of scales. For others, All-State is the one thing that actually gets them practicing scales, even though I push them in my classes 6-12.

    If what we are looking for is a more streamlined scale portion that is more equitable then I think going Db-G, one octave, memorized, plus chromatic scale at full range of instrument (though this would need to be unified for instruments like marimba and trombone where some kids don’t have access to horns with attachments or a five octave marimba) is our best bet. The memorized scales demonstrate musical ability and I think will get us better players in the long run and the chromatic scale demonstrates range. The whole scale portion would only take about a minute and a half, which I tested playing on my trumpet, which I’m bad at.

    Once again, this may not be perfect. There can be GREAT players that don’t know their scales, and there are many groups that don’t require scales in their auditions.

    Or scratch the major scales entirely and make the etudes harder. Whatever.


    While I agree that it is our job to teach scales, the All-State audition is one of the biggest tools I use to encourage those kids that want to truly be the best players they can be. My students who choose to audition, even if they don’t make it, spend a huge amount of time working and perfecting them for the audition and become much better players for it. Right or wrong, I don’t demand that level of preparation on scales from every kid in my band program, and I am certain if I did, I would have some kids drop my program completely. Balancing “this will make them better” with “this will turn them off” is a precarious edge for me, and I have certainly made errors throughout my career on both sides of that line. I also know that even my own daughter, who is a freshman All-Stater, would not have put in the time and effort to learn all of her scales without the tangible effect of the All-State audition, no matter how much I encourage her as both her teacher and her dad. I am absolutely in favor of scales as part of the audition. As stated earlier, I’m OK with lowering the number, but I would definitely prefer to not enable procrastination and cramming in the last week-I don’t think that’s a way to be able to use the audition to ensure mastery of scales. That is why what I favor is Db-G. Memorized or not doesn’t matter to me, but I also like the 2-octave scales.

    That being said, I agree with making the auditions equitable, particularly in the instruments that have some scales that are 1 octave and some that are 2. Again, the Db-G option would make it so everyone is doing the same thing on the same instrument, and I think that is extremely important.

    From the side of a screener (clarinets), the scales are certainly quite telling, in both the range and preparation aspects. The “That’s definitely an All-State kid” pool is going to be fine no matter what we decide. The “maybe” pool is harder, and will be massively impacted by this decision, and for an instrument like the clarinet, that “maybe” pool is pretty large. While I only gave rankings by a rubric score and didn’t make the final decisions, I saw 2 definite sub-groups of the “maybe.” One group did well (or at least OK) with the preparation of the scales but wasn’t a good sightreader. The other was poor on the scales and good with sightreading. My opinion is I would rather take the preparation over the sightreading because very rarely in the All-State experience do the kids have to sightread. Reducing the scales to 2 the week before will favor the sightreader subgroup.

    To make a long story short, I’m in favor of making the audition more equitable, but I’m not sure that this is the way I would like it to be, and I haven’t decided yet which way I’m going to formally vote-I think there is a strong argument both ways. I am sorry that my family emergency prevented me from giving my input at the conference, but also, even in the emails and stuff, I don’t recall the major topic of discussion to be revealed as changes to the All-State auditions. I think if that was made clear, there would have been much greater attendance.

    Richard Zigweid
    Torrington HS

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