What is the cost of participating in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

Every student who participates in a university band or orchestra course will be assessed a lab fee of $70 each semester. This is billed to you directly by the university, and covers the cost of music, facilities, and equipment. This fee is not optional and is assessed each semester at the time of class registration.

In addition, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Orchestra, and/or Jazz Band members are required to pay an additional activity fee of $50 each semester. The Purdue “All-American” Marching Band activity fee is $100. These activity fees will be billed to you directly by the university at the time of class registration. This fee helps defray the cost of performance activities, dry cleaning, and admission to the fall and spring awards banquets. *These fees are subject to change.

How do you audition for the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band?

Learn more about the 2021 audition process here.

What will you need for Purdue "All-American" Marching Band Camp?

1. Shoes: Comfortable shoes for rehearsal are required: Tennis shoes are the norm. Sandals, flip-flops, etc. are not an acceptable alternative. Students are encouraged to break-in shoes before arriving to camp!

2. Large water bottle-Nalgene type that can be refilled frequently.

3. Reeds: Woodwind players will need to provide reeds. We expect students to use quality reeds at all times.

4. Supplies: All musicians should come to camp with your own supply of cork grease, slide oil, valve oil, etc. to keep your instrument in great working order.

5. Drawstring backpack: You may provide your own, or this may be purchased from us when you arrive at Purdue from the band department. You will carry drill charts, water bottles, etc. to and from the drill field each day in this pack.

Can I participate in a band or orchestra as well as a Learning Community?

Purdue Bands & Orchestras has the greatest learning community on campus. You will make friends and find study partners quickly while in a band or orchestra and will have the opportunity to do so in an environment in which you have a common bond. The best learning community to join (if you are a freshman engineer) is the Bands & Orchestras Learning Community.  Check it out, here.

I am burned out on music. Why should I participate in college?

College band and orchestra offers a completely different experience from high school. At Purdue, you will be involved with a mature, motivated group of musicians, who have changed their focus to a more in depth appreciation of music.

There are no music performance majors. Everyone participates in a particular ensemble because they want to, not because they have to. In that positive atmosphere, creative expression thrives and music is both fun and rewarding. No matter how you felt about band or orchestra in high school, you will find the college ensembles to be a new and different experience. You won’t know what that means unless you give it a try!

My advisor told me not participate in band or orchestra my freshman year, since I’ll be too busy adjusting to college life and keeping up with my academics. Is that true?

We often hear this statement, but this is false. Band and orchestra students learn how to manage their time more effectively than most other students on campus.  As a group, students in our department have one of the highest grade point averages on campus. Participation in band and orchestra actually assists you in making the adjustment to college, as you have an immediate circle of friends, and pleasurable activities that relieve classroom stress. If any advisor refuses to register you for a band or orchestra class, contact our office immediately at 765-494-3952. You should not be denied registration to any band or orchestra class by a university advisor. If you are, we are in a position to help correct the situation without putting you or your parents in the middle. Do not be talked out of something you really want to do!

Can I play in a band or orchestra without signing up for the class?

No. All students wishing to play in a band/orchestra, with the exception of graduate students who have received instructor permission, MUST be registered for the appropriate class. One of the benefits of taking band/orchestra as a class is receiving two hours of academic credit each semester.

Am I limited to playing in only one band or orchestra at Purdue?

No. You may sign up for as many ensembles as you wish. Keep in mind; however, that each band carries with it a particular time commitment, as do the requirements of your academic studies. It would be unwise to try to participate in too many bands. If you need help in making this decision, feel free to talk to one of the faculty or staff members in our department.

If I join band/orchestra, am I making a full year commitment?

No. Since our performing ensembles are academic classes, they are scheduled on a semester basis and you sign up for each course for one semester only. You may register for any number of subsequent semesters, but only one semester at a time. You can march in the fall and play in concert band in the spring, or any other combination you might choose.

Marching Band takes up a lot of time. Won’t that affect my studies adversely?

False. It is a proven fact that busy people tend to be more aware of the need to organize and budget their time, and will plan time to get everything accomplished. Students who have more free time are more apt to waste that time. The two hours you spend on marching band each day often provide a much needed study break . Furthermore, the friends you make in marching band are available to work with you in study groups and homework sessions.

I have several questions I’d really like to ask of a Purdue student who’s “been there, done that” at Purdue Bands & Orchestras. Can I do that?

Certainly. Contact Caitlin Cotten Benner at caitlin@purdue.edu and tell her the kind of student you’d like to correspond with – perhaps one who plays a specific instrument, or is in a specific group or major. She can arrange a time for you and one of our students to meet virtually or connect via Discord.

My advisor says I have a conflict between one of my classes and the band/orchestra class I wish to take. Does this eliminate me from band/orchestra?

Not necessarily. We are able to approve a certain amount of conflict with a class and still allow you to participate. The amount of conflict that can be approved varies from course to course. If you have a conflict, contact the director of the ensemble that interests you and discuss the matter before eliminating it from your schedule.

My advisor has indicated that the band/orchestra class I want to register for requires the permission of the instructor. What should I do?

Your advisor can call the main office directly at 765-494-3952 and receive the necessary permission to register from a band staff member.

Auditions scare me. What if I’m deathly afraid of playing for a university professor?

Auditions for Purdue Bands & Orchestra are pretty low key, and the staff works hard to put you at ease. You have nothing to be afraid of. You’re probably much better than you think. We have no music majors, so everyone who auditions is approaching band or orchestra from the same standpoint. You aren’t competing with students who are required to practice many hours each day for their degree. If you have taken the time to practice and prepare for your audition, you should have no problems at all.

What happens if, after my audition, I’m placed in band/orchestra class that’s different from the one I registered for with my counselor?

In the jazz and concert band areas, Purdue directors often request that all students sign up for one course number until auditions determine actual placement. Switching classes, should it be necessary, is not a problem. You can transfer to the right course through a fee-free process called “Drop and Add” that occurs in the first few weeks of each semester. Band staff members can help you with this process.

If I decide to sign up for band/orchestra after my Day On Campus visit, am I out of luck?

No. Simply call your counselor and ask to have band added to your schedule. If you do not have that number, call the office associated with your major and ask them to connect you. If you run into any problems, give the main office a call at 765-494-3952, and we will run interference for you.

I have a friend who wants to be in band/orchestra, but he/she hasn’t received anything from the department. What should I do?

Have your friend contact Caitlin Cotten Benner at caitlin@purdue.edu or fill out an interest form on our Home Page.

If additional questions arise, we encourage you to contact Caitlin Cotten Benner at caitlin@purdue.edu.

Purdue Bands & Orchestras, 1091 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47906, (765) 494-0770

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