Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who can join the Band Program?
A. Membership in any of the ensembles is open to any currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students at Sacred Heart University. 


Q. I heard there is financial assistance available for performing in the Band Program. Is that true, how much is it, and what do I have to do to qualify for it?
A. Students are eligible to receive a performing arts grant for their participation in University Band or Guard for a total maximum of $4000. In order to qualify, members must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate, follow guidelines illustrated in the band handbook, and sign a Performing Arts Grant Contract. 


Q. Do I have to audition?

A. New members of the program must perform a placement audition prior to the Fall semester. The auditions are used to help the band staff to determine your playing ability, and your placement within the section.  It's a very relaxed and casual environment.  


Q. OK, but I get really nervous at auditions. So nervous that I'm thinking of not joining band.

A. We've all been there and you don't need to worry. Don't let a 5 minute audition stop you from enjoying the years of fun, friendship and enjoyment of a collegiate band program. It's a very low pressure environment. We just want to hear what makes you sound the best!


Q. What is the time commitment to the Marching Band?
A. The Band practices for 1 week prior to the start of school. Once the school year starts we practice 2 nights per week, Monday and Thursday. Practice is scheduled at a time when few other classes meet, and little class time is lost due to the band's travel schedule. We play at all home football games, a few exhibitions, and a parade or two. As with any college activity, you will be responsible for keeping track of your time and keeping up with your school work. 


Q. OK, but I'm looking at the tentative schedule of events, and it looks like all we do is go-go-go. Do we ever get a break?
A. The  Band plays for all home football and basketball/hockey games respectively.  We also perform at a few local competitions as an exhibition group. Of course the schedule is subject to change, and some events may be added or be eliminated. Ultimately you'll find that the time commitment is less than it appears to be on paper. We do schedule a few weekends off in the marching season because we understand that everyone needs a break.  Many of the basketball and hockey games fall on Monday or Thursday nights when we would have rehearsal anyway, so it doesn't add an extra night or anything.


Q. I'm concerned about having enough time to concentrate on my studies and have a life outside of school. I feel like participating in band would make that difficult.
A. By the time you factor in the number of hours that you're in class, the number of hours you should be studying for those classes, a gym routine, eating, sleeping, talking with friends, walking to/from class...You're still left with with something like 20 hours with nothing to do in a week. We have many students who are involved in several of our ensembles, sports, other performing arts like choir and theatre, and many other activities on campus. It really comes down to your time management skills. We also find that students who are active in the performing arts tend to perform better academically.  When you're here 24/7 and living on campus, your day will open up because your day isn't segmented into school time, go home, homework, go back to school, practice, go to work, go home...


Q. My high school band was a competitive program that won many awards and had practice almost everyday. Is that what I can expect at SHU? Will this be one step closer to Drum Corps?
A. Unlike many high school marching bands, college marching bands don't typically enter judged competitions. Our goal is to entertain our audience while presenting fun and exciting field shows at the highest possible level of musicianship and execution. We take it seriously, but we also remember to have fun. Music should be about the love of performing for yourself, not a score. Another goal of the band program is to allow students to take an active role in developing and maintaining the traditions of the band. We are an inclusive organization and welcome everyone who wants to make the commitment. It is our hope that you will be able to continue to nourish your love for music through the band program at SHU, and continue to perform even after you have left college. 


Q. Can I pledge a Sorority or Fraternity?
A. If you wish to go through a sorority/fraternity pledge period you may certainly do so. If you are a first-semester freshman, be certain that your academics will not suffer as a result of over-extending yourself. Being in the band program and a sorority or fraternity will place a lot of demands on your time, but it is not impossible. It comes down to your individual time-management skills and clearly communicating your scheduling needs with all parties involved.


Q. What is Kappa Kappa Psi?
A. Kappa Kappa Psi is a co-educational National Honorary Band Service Fraternity dedicated to furthering the College Band program. KKP is not a social fraternity, but rather a service organization that provides a variety of support and logistical-related services for the band. In addition to service, Brothers enjoy a spirit of camaraderie among the local chapter, and chapters across the country. Membership is available to all interested and active band members. Speak to any KKP member for more information. 


Q. Does the band provide instruments?
A. We do provide tubas and percussion equipment. We do have many other instruments that may be available. Please contact the Band Staff to inquire about your specific instrument needs.


Q. I've heard that some players have switched from their original instrument to play everything from tuba, to trumpet, to percussion. Is that true? Can I do that?
A. It is not at all uncommon for players to want to try a new instrument. We regularly have players (often flute and clarinets it seems) who want to switch to other instruments. Depending on the bands' needs and your interest it is absolutely possible for you to do so. Speak with one of the directors before the school year if you would like more information. 


Q. I've seen enough. How do I sign up?
A. If you haven't already, fill out a Prospective Member Form. Next, at Orientation you should register for University Band (MU-136) as well as any of our other ensembles. Later in the summer you will receive an award letter from Financial Aid for your Performing Arts Grant. Sign that letter and return it to Financial Aid.