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11th Grade Guide for Instrumentalists

Attend Outside Performances

Attend ten concerts outside of your school this academic year. For example, four concerts of large performance ensembles (e.g. Wind Ensemble, Philharmonic Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, etc.) on a college or university campus; preferably on the campus of the college/university that you are most interested in attending. Attend two concerts of small or large ensembles presented by the professors/conductors that you are developing a relationship with. Attend two concerts by professional organizations like your city’s symphony, community concert band, or touring ensemble(s). In addition, add two concerts/performances outside the discipline of your primary performance ensemble. Example: Broadway musical, opera, ballet, community chorus, or folksong festival.


Attend four Master Classes on at least two college campuses.

Continue taking private lessons once a week with a professional player. This professional player can be a local college professor, a symphonic player, or a local recognized private instructor. If the private instructor is not a college professor, then you may want to add two lessons from the college professor whose studio you want to be in before your Solo and Ensemble Festival participation or before your All-State audition.

Continue music theory instruction coupled with sight-singing development. In addition, take a music history course to learn the basic style periods, composers, and works related to each of these style periods. All of the above can be achieved through formal course offerings at your school, college-prep classes, or online instruction.


Participate in at least two school performance ensembles. For example: High School Symphonic Band and High School Orchestra, or High School Symphonic Band and High School Chorus. If wind instrumentalist, note that marching band cannot constitute your second performance ensemble; it must be coupled with a concert ensemble. You may also consider district wide ensembles such as countywide or regional Youth Orchestras.

Participate in an extra-curricular musical performance outside of the daily academic structure. Examples are the pit orchestra for a community theater’s Broadway musical presentation, orchestra for community ballet presentation of the “Nutcracker,” or community band or orchestra holiday presentations.

Participate in statewide Solo and Ensemble Festival by performing an accompanied solo that is appropriate to your technical ability, as well as, participate in one same instrument small ensemble and a mixed ensemble or same instrument or mixed instruments choir.

Audition and make the grade-level appropriate All-State ensemble.

Perform solo recital in the spring of this academic year. Perform five accompanied compositions and two unaccompanied compositions or etudes. These selections should be Grade 5 or 6. Additional selections can be at a lower grade level. Violinists and violists should consider performing one selection from memory.

Compete in a regional or national concerto competition. For example: Midwest Young Artists Concerto Competition, Marine Band Concerto Competition, Navy Band Concerto Competition, and the National Philharmonic Concerto Competition, to list only a few. Many local symphonies sponsor concerto competitions. Note that the prizes for winners are often college scholarships.

Compete in your instrument’s guild regional or national competition. For example: International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition, American Viola Society, or American Flute Guild, etc. Prizes for winners are often college scholarships!


Attend extended Summer Camp (Band or Orchestra) that has age appropriate performance repertoire. This should be on a college campus; preferably on the college campus that you want to attend. While attending this camp take at least one private lesson from the professor in whose studio you might spend the majority of your collegiate experience. Or moreover, this can be a nationally recognized summer enrichment program such as “The Governor’s School for the Arts” in your state or one of the nationally noted summer camps that has America’s most famous conductors and performers as instructors. Check out our grade-by-grade summer experience guide for details.

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