Band Program - FAQs

1. Now that I am in college, will I have time to be in band?

This is a very common question, especially for students who have recently graduated. In high school, most band students will spend one or two hours in band per day in school, multiple days after school in rehearsal, and then competitions and/or concerts on the weekends. Being in band at Cal Poly Pomona is not like this at all. You will only have rehearsals as they are marked on your class schedule (e.g., two days a week.) The only exceptions to this would be for dress rehearsals and concerts.

Most students will say that although academic work in college is sometimes more demanding (especially in the latter years,) the time consumption for activities such as band, clubs, and most general education classes is much less than what they experienced in high school.

2. How much time is required to be in the Concert Band/Symphonic Winds or Wind Ensemble?

The Concert Band, Symphonic Winds and Wind Ensemble only rehearse during times as indicated on the class schedule:

Concert Band (MU 3550A) - Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 7:50 p.m.

Symphonic Winds (MU 3520L) - Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.

Wind Ensemble (MU 3530L) - Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.

Otherwise, the only other time requirements are on our concert dates or dress rehearsals. Both bands perform one concert per quarter. The Wind Ensemble may include additional rehearsals and/or local run-out concerts.

3. What kind of academic credit is offered for being in the Concert Band, Symphonic Winds or Wind Ensemble? Are there any privileges in registering for an ensemble?

Students participating in our performing ensembles receive one unit of academic credit by enrolling in either MU 3550A (Concert Band), MU 3520L (Symphonic Winds), MU 3530L (Wind Ensemble). It is not important to enroll in either of these courses at this point. Once the auditions have been finalized, we will help you enroll in the proper course. (Note: You can enroll in courses one week after the beginning of classes) The only important thing, at this point, is that you keep Monday and Wednesday afternoons/evening free from other commitments.

In addition to performing music, one of the major privileges of joining either the Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Winds is receiving "priority registration" for classes. Many programs are impacted, therefore, as a first year student this privilege allows you to register before the general student population, allowing you to get your desired classes before it fills up and graduate earlier. You will need to submit a brief application near the beginning of each quarter to receive "priority registration" through the music department.

4. Can I be in more than one ensemble?

Yes, of course you can! In fact, a large portion of the students involved in the band program are involved in more than one group. You will find that there are a large number of students that participate in both the Bronco pep band and Concert Band or a chamber ensemble and Wind Ensemble. Both groups only meet twice a week and have a great tradition of cross-over in membership. So, having students in both groups simultaneously is very common. Feel free to check out the music department’s ensemble webpage for more information on other performance opportunities:

5. Does it cost anything to be in the Concert Band, Symphonic Winds or Wind Ensemble?

There are no fees associated with being in the Concert Band, Symphonic Winds or Wind Ensemble. Obviously, you will have to purchase things such as reeds, valve oil, etc., as well as keep your instrument in good repair. However, we do not have a membership fee or anything of that nature. We also do not have any sort of required music fee, unless you plan to rent an instrument/locker from the music department. The only other cost that might be incurred would be the purchase of a tuxedo or formal black attire and use of an instrumental locker. We wear the traditional "concert black" attire. (It is perfectly acceptable to wear the same outfit you wore in high school as long as it meets our requirements.)

6. Will I get to travel or do any off-campus performances or tours?

Yes! The Wind Ensemble alternates between major tours and local recruitment tours every year. The Wind Ensemble has traveled to Seattle, San Francisco and San Luis Obispo performing at the Sutherland Wind Band Festival and the prestigious American Bandmasters/Japan Bandmasters Association International Band Festival. Costs such as hotel and transportation are usually covered through ASI funds, leaving only food expenses to each member.

7. What if I’m not sure and need time to see if being in band at Cal Poly Pomona is right for me?

It is my firm belief that being in band, as a new student, is one of the best decisions you could make. It provides you with an instant network of friends and colleagues that can assist and support you as you start this new phase of your life. It sounds a bit cliché, but it’s true!

That being said, it is very common for new students to be apprehensive about making a commitment to participating in a college band program. However, you should put your mind at ease on this subject – there are plenty of opportunities for you to bow out gracefully if you find that it is not for you.

8. I do not own an instrument. Are there instruments for me to use at Cal Poly Pomona? What about using a locker for instrument storage?

The Cal Poly Pomona music department offers instruments for rent each quarter, particularly larger instruments such as low brass and low reeds. The fee for renting an instrument is only $10 and includes a locker for storage. If you are only seeking a locker for storage, the same fee applies per quarter ($10). Please contact Will Wright-Hooks,, our music technician for assistance.

9. I've decided that I want to join this quarter! What do I do next?

First, it is important that you visit and click on the "Audition Information" tab and follow the instructions. After the audition, you will be informed of which band to enroll in for the quarter.

If you have any other questions, or if you need an immediate response, please do not hesitate to send me an email: