Frequently Asked Questions

How do I audition?
There is a two-step audition process!

  1. Our priority music audition deadline is 11:59 PDT on Sunday, June 9th, 2024. And our standard deadline is due by 11:59 pm PDT on Sunday, July 14th, 2024. All info for our music audition (including differences between the deadlines) can be found here on our Audition Instructions page!
  2. An in-person marching audition is held during FTP. Absolutely no prior marching experience is needed – all you need is a can-do attitude! FTP 2024 will tentatively be from August 15th-19th and is free for all recruits. Learn more about FTP here!
The Cal Band marches in the 2018 Golden State Warriors Victory Parade in Oakland.

What is the time commitment?
The minimum time commitment with the Band is about six hours of rehearsal per week, with 1.5-hour rehearsals Monday through Thursday. On game weeks there is an extra rehearsal on Friday and on Saturday morning. All home football games are mandatory. Missing rehearsals and games 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.

The band has students in the College of Engineering, the College of Chemistry, the Haas School of Business, College of Natural Resources, and College of Letters and Sciences, many of whom who have minors or double major! It is definitely doable to maintain your studies while participating in band, and the band even has a special award for highest GPA that is often brought down to a tiebreaker of who has the most A+s on their record.

Can I join after my freshman year?
Definitely! The Band welcomes all second- and third-year students and transfer students who are interested in joining, and can be a great new community to become involved with on campus. If you haven’t played in awhile, you can ask your recruiter if you can come practice on one of our instruments in the band room on campus.

How should I schedule my classes?
Rehearsals during the year take place in the late afternoon(6:45pm – 8:00pm on Mondays, 5:30pm – 7:00pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 5:00pm – 7:00pm on Thursdays, and 6:00pm – 8:00pm on Fridays before Game Days). 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.

FTP Bones

Will I get units or compensation? 
Band members 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 (i.e., dinner, per diem, etc.). 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?
Joining the band is free! The only cost is to provide for the few uniform parts not provided by the Band such as white dress shirt and vest for Straw Hat Band Uniform, which you can go thrift shopping for with your new Big Bear!

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 (i.e. flute players can play piccolo!), you should still consider joining the Band! The band also has a successful history of helping interested students with some background in music learn to play an instrument to join the band, just let us know on your Interest Form.

I don’t have my own instrument, what should I do?
If you need an instrument for your audition, let your personal recruiter know and we can try to get you one from the band’s instrument room! If you’re a current student, we can arrange for you to be able to practice on campus. Piccolo auditions may be played on flute, mellophone on French horn, glockenspiel on piano, and other percussion on drum pads.

If you need an instrument for the band season, you can rent one from the band’s instrument room for a much lower fee than other instrument rental services.

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

Super Smash Tournament
Tellefsen Hall housemates gather in the living room for a Super Smash Brothers tournament.

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

Does the band provide academic support?
The Band’s average GPA is actually higher than the University’s average GPA! The Band has an extensive Academic Advising Program, including weekly booked study rooms, personal class advising from older band members in the same major, a list of band members’ common courses for the semester, a textbook exchange, and a test bank that the Academic Advising Program maintains.

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


Does the band offer internal relations programs?
The Cal Band requires every member to attend a workshop presented by Bears that C.A.R.E. to discuss how to create a comfortable, safe environment for our band members. Above all, we want our members to have a fun and safe college experience, and the Band supports education and discussion on topics that will help with this endeavor.

Are there any fees?
There are no fees or dues associated with being a Cal bandsman!

How can parents get involved?
There are plenty of ways to volunteer with the Band on football game days or during our annual NorCal benefit! Please refer to our Parents section for more information.