By Paul Dembowksi, President, MMEA
Welcome to the Maryland Music Educator Association (MMEA) All State Audition Handbook. We are pleased to offer the digital Handbook as it aids in the distribution of audition music and the policies and procedures that govern All State events. Additionally, it will enhance our effforts to reduce paper, waste, printing, and postage costs.
Shortly after school begins, All State applications will be available online, using a digital submission process. Please be sure to read all instructions carefully, note the committment fee, and take special care towards gender-neutral lanuguage in order to support our goals of equity, access, diversity, and inclusion.
All State is an incredibly rewarding experience that represents more than an audition and a performance. Indeed, the All State Concert is just a microcosm of a larger process. Students must independently develop the critical thinking, self-reflection, and problem-solving skills to hone their performance and literacy skills to prepare for the audition, which takes discipline and no small amount of courage. Students who are accepted must prepare the performance music, to a very high standard, and often in a very short period of time. Then, the entire ensemble meets, and all of those independently prepared parts must come together under the direction of an unfamiliar conductor - in just a few days’ time.
As music teachers, our role is to provide access to the audition materials and meet all deadlines. More importantly, though, we have the opportunity to help students develop audition skills, for excellent performance skills or talent alone are not necessarily strong indicators of audition success. Rather, it is the intentional, strategic practice of the audition process that provides the security that allows both excellence and talent to shine through. Our greatest gift is to scaffold that learning in such a way that the rewards associated with audition preparation extend well beyond the outcome of the audition.
As the new school year begins, look for those students who have All State qualities: excellence in musicianship, performance, practice, and self-discipline. Look for those students who will benefit from the audition preparation process, even if the journey seems unfruitful at first. The benefits to the student and to your ensembles will be enormous!
Best of luck to all,
Paul Dembowski, President
Maryland Music Educators Association