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Captain Audition Tips
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Important Message!!

Auditioning for captain can be stressful. Here are some tips to help!

If the band director has a piece of music already chosen for the audition, bring a cassette and ask if you can tape the routine music. Then you can practice at home.
And you should practice at home! Don't "intend" to practice. If you're always saying to yourself, "Oh I'll do it tomorrow," you'll never get it done. See if your friends would like to practice after school. Small groups are always a good idea; if you forget a part of the routine, you'll have someone there to ask. Spend a lot of time practicing! And I mean a LOT! About an hour is what I recommend.

RELAX! If you don't get a piece of choreography right away, your first inclination might be to panic, which will keep you from learning the next few counts, which will put you behind. If you find yourself getting confused, ASK FOR HELP! There will probably be seniors there to help! If not, ask the director. No one will think you are stupid or slow; I guarantee you there are other people in the room who are confused too!

If you have to reaudition for a spot on your guard, don't fall back on the assumption that all returning members will automatically make it. If there is someone auditioning who has real talent and ability, and you've been slacking off, you might find yourself replaced.

Once auditions begin, keep away from anyone who repeats over and over again how nervous she is. She'll just end up making you nervous too. Besides, you need to focus on you during auditions, not anyone else!

Visualize yourself doing the routine in front of the judges. See yourself performing flawlessly from start to finish. See yourself having terrific presence and making all your angles pop!

You'll probably need one year of experience on that particular guard in order to qualify. Not only that, but your grades will have to be above average. If your GPA is less than stellar, find other ways in which you'd make a great candidate. Are you an officer of any other clubs or activities? Have you done any volunteer work or assisted any charitable causes?

You may have to choreograph a short routine on order to be an officer. If you're really good at tosses, throw one in there! To use up some time, try 8 full counts of drop or double-fast spins. Windmills, butterflies and coffeestirrers are all easy, you say? Not if you cut one in half and finish with another, right into a toss from a right slam! Thirty or forty seconds is quite a lot of choreography and you'll have plenty of time to cover all the basic bases!

On to that interview! This is probably the scariest part of the process, where the judges or the Sponsor will ask you a question and you'll have to answer it intelligently and to the best of your ability. A good tip: after the question is asked, take a few seconds to think it over. This is okay, and sometimes wins points in your favor, since it shows you think things through and don't rush into anything.

Common interview questions are, "Why would you make a good captain?" or "What do you have that the other 8 don't?" Before your interview, list all the good qualities you can think of about yourself, like you are honest, and fair. Try to mention one of the good things you did for the guard in previous years, like came up with the idea for last spring's fundraiser, or you were left in charge one week while the officers were away at leadership camp. Anything that is positive and would set you apart from the other candidates is good!

There are also tricky interview questions, ones that don't have immediate solutions but demand you to have excellent answers. "One of the other guard members has been spreading totally false rumors about another guard member. It's causing some members to take sides against one another. What do you do to squelch the gossip and restore guard unity?" Yikes! This is a two-partner: stopping the rumor and then team building. First, does your guard have a constitution that may help you answer this? As captain, it will be your job to know that document front to back. Try a sleepover or a pottery playhouse or a movie to get everyone smiling at one another again.

You may have to write an essay as part of your captain application. You might get a topic, such as "What ideas do you have for next year?" Or you might have to make on up for yourself. But get this one thing clear: spelling and grammar always count. Your should type your essay on computer if possible, neatly handwritten if not. Use black or dark blue ink on white paper. Answer the question as thoroughly as possible, stating your good qualities and your leadership experience.

One thing the Director/Sponsor is looking for in a captain is someone who has followed directions all season long unfailingly. Someone who has complained a lot or had not been an example to follow will probably not get the bid for captain. There's no reason to be a brown-noser, but being generally friendly and fun to be around is always a good idea.

If for some reason, you don't get the bid for captain, try and be a good sport. No matter how hurt or "gypped" you may be feeling, show everyone what class you have by remaining cool and positive until you are alone, where you can yell, scream, cry to your heart's content. Don't feel that it was something you did personally, or that the Sponsor "hates you." That is rarely the case. As in everything in life, there was one applicant who had more experience than you did. That doesn't make you a terrible person, nor does it mean you have no talent. Volunteer to be the guard historian or secretary.

Have a good attitude! Smile! Be confident! Be prepared!