College of Arts and Communication

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Department of Music
PH: 262-472-1310 
Toll-Free: 800-621-8744 

Ensemble FAQs

Playing or singing in a music ensemble can be a great way to earn general education credits and keep involved in your passion. We know you might have questions, especially if you're new to the Music Department, so see below for some of the answers to the things you might be wondering about. 

  • Can I be in a musical group even if I'm not a music major? Yes! All musical groups are open to all UW-W students, regardless of major. Some groups are more selective than others, based on level of experience and musical skills, but generally there is a group for most students who have prior high school or other band, choir, or orchestra experience.

  • How do I register for a musical group? The same way you register for any class, by enrolling on WINS. All groups are 1 credit. But note that in all cases except Marching Band and Gospel Choir, simply signing up for the class does not mean that you are in the ensemble. You may add the class on WINS, but you need to sign up for an audition, which will occur during the first week of classes. It is your responsibility to contact the director regarding auditions-he/she will not necessarily contact you.

  • Can I be in a musical group without registering? Yes. There are advantages to signing up for credit: for non-majors/minors, this will count in University Requirements towards graduation. But if you would like to be in an ensemble without registering, you should consult with the director.

  • What level of musical experience is necessary? Directors in most groups will expect that you are able to read music. Generally if you were involved with band, orchestra, or choir in high school, you will be in good shape.

  • Do I need to own an instrument? In most cases, yes, particularly if you play high strings, or a band instrument. But the Music Department does own a limited number of instruments that can be used by students. The usual marching band instruments are owned by the University. Please contact the director if this is an issue.

  • Should I be worried about the audition? No. You should contact the director for specifics regarding auditions, but generally, singers will be asked to sing something they have prepared, to match pitches, and to sightread. Instrumental auditions vary according to the nature of the group, but may include excerpts distributed in advance, a prepared piece and sightreading. In most cases, auditions are primarily for placement within sections.

  • What are the instructors' expectations?Grading and expectations will vary from group to group, but generally attendance at rehearsals and concerts and your own musical preparation are the most important factors. Students should plan to work on their parts outside of rehearsal. Practice rooms are available to all students by checking in at the Arts Media Center (CA16)