The University of California
Marching Band

For Students

How do I audition?
There is a two-step audition process: first in music, then in marching. The music audition should be scheduled with our director, Mr. Robert Calonico, by contacting him at or (510) 643-9644. Students who can’t make an in person audition can send an mp3 of the exercises listed on the audition instructions page to

For wind instruments the audition comprises of a short sight-reading piece, two to three scales, a chromatic run starting from the lowest note you can play to the highest note you can play, and an optional prepared piece no more than three minutes in length. Percussionists will need to sight read some exercises. The marching audition is held during FTP, and no prior marching experience is needed.

What is the time commitment?
The minimum time commitment with the Band is about five hours of rehearsal per week, with two-hour rehearsals every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On game weeks there is an extra rehearsal on Friday and on Saturday morning. Additionally, on most Mondays there will be a music rehearsal and sectional. All home football games are mandatory. Missing rehearsals is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Other performances, such as with the Straw Hat Band and everything in the spring semester, are entirely optional.

How should I schedule my classes?
Rehearsals during the year will take place in the late afternoon, from 4:30pm until 6:00pm. If at all possible, please avoid scheduling classes that would conflict with rehearsal. However, if missing rehearsal is unavoidable, it is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

What if I’m a Spring Admit?
If you are a spring admit, you can enroll with the University’s Fall Freshman Extension Program and be a part of the Band. Many of our members join the Band in this way.

Will I get units or compensation?
Bandsmen do not receive any academic units or monetary compensation since the Band itself is a voluntary student group. We do get into athletic events (such as football, basketball, volleyball, and swimming) for free, and receive other additional perks at times. However, being in the Band is an extremely rewarding experience worth more than any form of payment. Scholarships and awards are available to select members.

How much does it cost?
There is no cost to be part of the Cal Band. There is no uniform rental fee. However, Band members are expected to provide for their own Straw Hat Band uniform parts not provided by the Band (e.g. white dress shirt, black socks, black shoes).

Do I need marching experience?
The Cal Band is proud to be one of the few bands in the nation that still practices the rigorous and unique high step marching style. Since our style is very distinctive, students who have never marched before may be at an advantage because they do not need to “un-learn” any habits formed with corps-style marching. All the fundamentals are taught during the Fall Training Program.

What is the instrumentation?
The Band currently has the following instrumentation: piccolos, clarinets, alto saxophones, tenor saxophones, trumpets, mellophones, trombones, baritones, sousaphones, snare drums, bass drums, tenor drums, cymbals, and glockenspiels. The Band does not march any auxiliary units (color guard or frontline ensemble) because it is a show style band. If you play an instrument that is related to one mentioned above (flute players, for example, may want to consider playing piccolo), you should still consider joining the Band. Any other students with musical experience are strongly encouraged to learn an instrument before joining us.

For Parents

Does the band offer scholarships?
There are scholarship opportunities in the Band, ranging from $300 stipends for First-Year Bandsmen Awards to a renewable $3500 George Miller Scholarship with the Band, depending on excellence through performance and commitment to the organization.

Does the band offer housing?
Housing during the retreat portion of FTP is provided. In addition, the Band has a dormitory-like private house called Tellefsen Hall which houses 44 bandsmen throughout the year. The cost of living at Tellefsen Hall is significantly cheaper than living at the University Residence Halls, and includes food (with an open kitchen), utilities (electricity, water, and garbage), and a high-speed internet connection.

Does the band provide academic support?
The Band has an extensive Academic Advising Program. The Band’s average GPA is actually higher than the University’s average GPA. The academic resources available to Band members include a common class list available to all bandsmen, a textbook exchange, and a test bank that the Academic Advising Program maintains.

Does the band haze?
No; the Band is in full compliance with the University’s Anti-Hazing Policy. There is no tolerance of any violation of this.

Are there any fees?
There are no fees for any prospective band members.

How can parents get involved?
There are plenty of ways to help out with the Band during Saturday gamedays; please refer to our Parents section for more information.