Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Do I have to audition to be in one of the bands?

A: Not usually. Formal auditions aren’t required to participate in the band program, but you may be asked to play individually for purposes of seating and part assignment.

It is possible that an audition would be required to enroll in the jazz ensemble due to high interest and the limited instrumentation of the group. It’s suggested that students interested in jazz contact the director before officially registering for Music 084.

Q: I wasn’t a first chair player in high school, what if I’m not good enough to be in the band?

A: If you enjoy playing your instrument, there’s likely to be a place for you in any college band program. It’s better to give it a try than to assume you’re underqualified.

Q: I’m not a music major, can I still be in band?

A: Yes. Behrend doesn’t offer music as a major, so you’ll be among friends.

Q: Who is the band director?

A: Behrend’s concert bands and pep band are directed by Dr. Gary Viebranz, Senior Lecturer in Instrumental Music. Dr. Viebranz has been at Behrend since initiating the program in 1999. The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Dr. Joel Hunt, Lecturer in Music.

Q: I haven’t been in a band before, can I join now and then learn to play an instrument?

A: This might be a challenge. Previous band experience and a solid instrumental foundation are prerequisite. Behrend can not offer private instruction for new instrumentalists. Students with limited experience but strong desire are encouraged to contact the Director of Instrumental Ensembles to discuss their individual situation.

Q: I borrowed a school instrument in high school. Does Behrend provide any instruments?

A: Some. Basic band instruments are not provided (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone) but the college owns a substantial collection of “color” instruments, including piccolos, oboes, bassoons, bass clarinets, tenor and baritone saxophones, French horns, euphoniums, tubas, and percussion. These instruments are available for use by registered students with no additional fees.

Q: Does Behrend have a marching band?

A: No, but students might find a suitable option in the pep band. The group performs at all home basketball games and performs many popular arrangements written for marching bands.

Q: I have a class conflict. Can I still be in the band?

A: Yes. Many conflicts can be resolved with faculty assistance. Some standing conflicts are acceptable, especially if they involve only a few minutes at the beginning or end of a rehearsal. If you have a conflict, you’re encouraged to contact the director to discuss your situation.

Q: Can I receive academic credit for playing in band?

A: Yes. All instrumental ensembles receive 1 academic credit. They can be taken each semester to a maximum of eight credits per ensemble. Concert band and jazz ensemble fulfill general arts (GA) credit. Pep band qualifies for elective credit, though it may be permissible as general arts credit via petition to your respective major.

Q: I already have 19 credits. Do I have to register for band to play in it?

A: No. You do not have to register for credit to participate in an ensemble. It is possible to register for audit credit. The class will appear on your transcript, but no credit will be gained, no grade will be issued, and no additional tuition will be charged.

Q: How much time will I be expected to practice?

A: It is up to the individual to determine minimum practice needs. Most of the music can be mastered during scheduled rehearsals, but it is expected that time will be spent outside of class to improve passages that offer substantial technical challenge.

Q: Are there practice rooms on campus?

A: Unfortunately, there are no dedicated practice facilities. Several rooms are available in the Reed Union Building, and students enrolled in ensembles can be given access to the music room for scheduling practice.

Q: What kind of music does the band play?

A: Each of the bands plays a wide selection of music covering a broad range of styles. Sample programs can be found here. Quality repertoire is selected to ensure a valuable musical experience during the rehearsal and performance experience.

Q: Is there a band uniform?

A: The concert band dresses in formal, black attire for performances. The pep band wears uniform shirts, provided by the athletic department, with jeans or khaki pants. The jazz ensemble dresses in semi-casual attire.

Still have questions?     Send an email to Dr. Viebranz