Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians

Testing Up and Auditions

Why does FAYM require testups to move up to the next level?

In a group class setting (piano, guitar, band, and strings), even when all students start together, from the beginning, with no knowledge of the instrument, it is very typical for some students to learn more quickly or more slowly than others, and to end up being much farther ahead or behind the other students in the class. In some cases, students can be struggling to keep up with the rest of the class without the parent's knowledge or understanding. These students shouldn't sign up for the next level class, but would be better off repeating the same level, or getting some kind of individual help, rather than continue getting farther behind and becoming frustrated.

Requiring some kind of practical knowledge quiz each semester ensures that all students are learning the same material together, and that no student is struggling unnecessarily because the next level class is moving at a pace that is too difficult or too fast for that student.

In a testup for any class, the student will simply demonstrate knowledge of all topics, skills, and concepts that were presented in that semester's class. The student will never be asked to demonstrate something that was not taught in the class that semester.

Students needing or wanting a testup to the next level of guitar, piano, band, or strings should sign up through the online form. Please, always sign up for the earliest available time! Waiting to sign up may result in all of the testup spots being full. If this happens, no other testup opportunities will be available until the following semester (guitar and piano only - band and strings have one opportunity on week 4 to retest). Don't wait to sign up for a testup!

Here is the link for the online testup signup page.

What should I prepare for my testup?

If you have been good throughout the semester with practicing and keeping up with assignments, there is nothing special to prepare. In fact, you really can't practice or "cram" for this playing test. The purpose of the testup is to show us how well you know the material that was taught in the class. We don't want you to practice more than your normal amount, or try to learn anything new. Just be prepared to show us anything and everything that was taught during your semester class.

Students who don't practice much, especially over the Winter and Summer Breaks, may not do as well on the testup. Just because you did well in class during the semester does not mean that you will retain your skills indefinitely! Your skills need constant practice and review. Remember, the more you practice, the easier it is, and therefore, the more fun! Just keep up with your practicing and you should be fine.

So, go back and review everything in your method book, your scales, exercises, handouts, warmups, or anything else that you did in class. Everything counts, even note reading, counting, tone production, and posture/position! Remember what your teacher taught you and you should be fine.

Why does FAYM require an audition to join the band or strings classes?

FAYM only requires an audition into a band or strings class if a student is new to the FAYM program, but learned how to play their instrument somewhere else. Sometimes, a student has never been in band or orchestra before, but took private lessons. In other cases, students attended a public or private school in town or out of the area, where they took a band or orchestra class.

In all of these cases, an audition is required so the student can be placed in the level of band or strings that best fits their current knowledge and playing ability.

Every private teacher and every band or strings program is unique. Every teacher teaches differently, even when using the same curriculum. The only way to make sure a student is in a level that is best suited for him/her is to audition.

Students should bring all previous music and method books to the audition. When signing up for an audition, please sign up for the earliest available time!

Here is the link to the online audition signup page.

Why does FAYM require an audition or private lessons for the most advanced chorus, band, and strings?

FAYM only requires special things for the most advanced level of chorus, band, and strings. No other level of chorus, band, or strings requires any kind of yearly audition (except for testups to the next level) or private lessons.

Concert Choir is the most advanced level of choir, and requires an audition for acceptance. Students can enroll for the class when they register for FAYM, but no student will be officially accepted into the class without successfully completing an audition. Always sign up for the earliest available audition time. The audition will ensure that a student can handle the more demanding repertoire, and has the skills and knowledge necessary to be an independent singer through more demanding music.

Students are accepted into Band 4 and Strings 4, either by testing up from a level 3 class, or, in the case of a new student to the FAYM program, by auditioning in. However, part of the testup or audition is the requirement of a private teacher. As the highest level of instrumental music performance at FAYM, the music played is very demanding and requires a high level of understanding of each instrument's specific techniques, methods of tone production, vibrato, and other qualities that are unique to each instrument. A student who is capable of performing such music must be taking private lessons in order to learn the skills required for this high level of performance.

For some free files to help you with your band/percussion/strings classes and testups, click here.