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Mustang Band in Spanos Stadium
Photo by Ian Billings

Bass Drum Audition Instructions

Please perform the audition with a marching bass drum (any size). If you do not own one, please contact your current band director to see if you might be able to utilize one for the audition. Otherwise, please email the drumline instructor in order to schedule a live audition (at which point you can use one of our instruments.)

To audition on bass drum, please submit a video recording of the following:

  1. Record Eights TWICE: once at 130 bpm and then again at 160 bpm.
    • Be sure to observe all dynamics; all cresceno/diminuendo figures should move between piano and fortissimo. Please use the stick height definitions with which you are most comfortable.
    • Each section will have the same sticking as the first eight bars until rehearsal mark F.
  2. Record the 16th Note Timing Exercise TWICE: once at 110 bpm and then again at 135 bpm.
    • The entire exercise should be played at forte.
    • Sticking should be natural throughout.
  3. Record Partial Timing Exercise TWICE: once at 130 bpm and then again at 155 bpm.
  4. Record the snare part to Good Beat TWICE: once at 145 bpm and then again at 160 bpm.
  5. Record the snare part to Triplet Diddle TWICE: once at 150 bpm and then again at 168 bpm, marking time to the dotted half note.
  6. Record the bass drum part for Musty Mambo at 120 bpm.
    • Please indicate which bass drum part you will be performing.
    • Please feel free to use this play-along recording of Musty Mambo.
  7. Record an excerpt of your choice to showcase your skill level. It may be a cadence, an excerpt of a high school show, a drum corps piece, etc., and need not specifically be a bass drum piece.
    • Please indicate what your excerpt is.
    • Please use a metronome/recording if appropriate.
    • The excerpt should include a variety of vocabulary.
    • The excerpt should be about 15-30 seconds and no longer than 1 minute.


  • At the beginning of your video, state the following information for the camera:
    • Your first and last name
    • The current Date and Time
  • Stand and Mark Time during and throughout each audition excerpt.
  • Play each requirement, as written, at the specified tempo with a metronome which can be heard on the recording.
  • Please use the technique and stick height definitions most familiar and comfortable to you.
  • Any notes with a tenuto marking should be played at a height that is halfway between the tap and accent heights.
  • Ensure that your face, hands, feet and instrument are all clearly visible on the recording.
  • Only edit video BETWEEN excerpts, but not WITHIN excerpts.
  • Use a bass drum with hard felt mallets, if at all possible.
  • If a bass drum is not available, use a pad with an articulate surface (idealy laminated) with marching snare/tenor sticks -- DO NOT use a soft gum rubber pad.

Final Thoughts

If you have not done so already, please be sure to fill out our Online Interest Form. Also, please review our Band Camp Information, Marching Shoes Ordering Information, and our list of Frequently Asked Questions.

You will be asked to provide your Uniform and Apparel Fitting Information during the audition sumission process. Please be prepared to provide the following measurements:

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Would you like to know more?

All prospective and current Cal Poly students interested in joining the Mustang Band should fill out our Online Interest Form.

We enjoy meeting new students and encourage you to send an email if you have any questions or plan to visit campus. Contact information for directors and all band faculty and staff can be found on our contacts page.