It's sometimes quite daunting to join a new music ensemble. What level am I? Do I need to read music? How well do I need to sight read? These are some of the common questions that many new members have before they join.
Therefore, we'd like to take a moment to briefly outline what would be expected and not expected of you as a member. If there are further concerns with the issues below, please feel free to email us to clarify.
WHAT WE PROVIDE
Talent comes in many shapes and forms. However, not everyone shares the same musical training and background. At the Vancouver Pops, we provide a graduated program that is designed to accurately meet the level of any musician. Level 1 is designed for absolute beginners, with zero knowledge of music reading and music theory, and less than 1 year of formal experience with their instrument. Level 2 is designed for those with less than 2 years of formal training. These sessions will provide instruction in the areas of music notation, rhythm, pitch tuning, and simple harmonies. For those who have had past experience with music, but are not fully confident in their skill level and knowledge, our level 3 programs are a perfect place to "get back" into music, and to improve playing technique, range flexibility, endurance, and execution of complex rhythms. The level 4 and 5 performance programs provide previously trained musicians (5+ years) a challenging, demanding, and fast-paced program to further their skill, technique, and musicality in a performance-oriented environment.
Music reading is required for only level 2+ programs. While having a good ear and natural musicality is important, being able to read music is a fundamental skill for any progressing musician in an ensemble. If you do not yet know how to read music, we recommend you to take a level 1 class.
Above all else, commitment is the number one priority. Commitment refers to attendance, punctuality, and personal practice. Being in an orchestra or choir is not a solo venture, and hence requires diligent personal practice and thorough rehearsals together as a group. If you miss a rehearsal, you will indeed miss a great deal of practice and information, plus the group misses out on your part of the music. Solution: Try to avoid schedule conflicts (don't think of rehearsals as optional), stay healthy, and if you must miss one, have a friend record the rehearsal or come in for a make up session with the director to catch up. Regardless of how skilled any one individual is, we work together as a group, and succeed as a group.
AUDITIONS - Required only for level 4+ programs
For Orchestra, We require this for two reasons, one, it gives us a chance to meet you face to face and hear you play, and second, it helps us stay organized as an ensemble by placing members in the right seat based on skill level and knowledge. For auditions, we will ask you to play 2 solo excerpts of your choice plus the sight reading excerpts listed below. The solo excerpts should be pieces that display your current skill, technique, and musicality, and are 2-4 minutes per piece. Occasionally, there may be a sight reading component from selections in the current term, but will be at the discretion of the director.
For Choir, all new members will go through a simple audition. You will be asked to sing 2 songs of your choice (2-4 minutes each), which can be sung a cappella or accompanied by a backing track, guitar, or piano. In addition, there are 5 sight reading excerpts to be learned and performed, which are listed below. All auditions are placement auditions, and not for elimination.