Mandarins Academy FAQ


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's):

Please see the following list of frequently asked questions for more information. If you have any questions that are not answered below, please email us at:

Q. What is the Mandarins Academy?

A: The Mandarins Academy is a series of instructional sessions focused on raising your performance level in brass, color guard, percussion and drum major leadership. The instruction is intended to be completely complementary to the lessons that you are learning in your school band program.

Q: How do I get started in becoming a Mandarins Academy member?

A: Simple, there are two ways to become a member. The best way is to pre-register online here. By pre-registering you will save $10 on the registration fee. Second, you may attend the first Academy session and register at the door.

Q. Where are the rehearsals?

A: We are pleased and honored to be able to hold our rehearsals at Sac State University’s Capistrano Hall.

Q: How much does it cost to become a Mandarins Academy member?

A: If you pre-register, the cost is $50 to join for the full season. If you register at the door, the cost will be $60.

Q: What does the registration fee cover?

A: The registration fee covers the cost of the musical compositions, printing, instructional staff and the rehearsal location. In addition you will receive a Mandarins Academy T-shirt AND your registration fee entitles you to a $25 discount to a Mandarins audition camp.

Q: What is the age limit?

A: The Mandarins Academy is intended for students age 14 through 21. Anyone under age 14 must be approved by the Academy Director.

Q: Do I have to be a member of a high school or college band?

A: While it is not a requirement to be in a high school or college band, we highly recommend that you be a member of your school band. The Mandarins Academy is intended to be fully complementary and supportive of your school band program. It is only through daily practice in your band program that you will gain proficiency in your playing ability.

Q. Do I need to bring my own equipment?

A: We recommend that you bring your own equipment. We will have a limited supply of brass instruments, drums and color guard equipment to loan out. Make sure you bring your own accessories such as mouthpieces, drum sticks, drum pads, gloves, valve oil, etc. If you are not able to bring an instrument, please come anyway and we will try to fit you with a loaner.

Q: Do I have to audition to become a Mandarins Academy member?

A: No, there are no auditions. You simply need to attend one of the first two Academy sessions, register and pay the dues.

Q: When does the Mandarins Academy meet?

A: The Mandarins Academy meets once a month on Sunday afternoon, on September 13, October 4, November 1, and December 6. Registration and setup begins at 12:00 and instruction takes place from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Q: What if I can't make a rehearsal session?

A: While attending all rehearsals is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. During each session we will cover a different performance topic. If you miss a rehearsal session you will miss that aspect of performance.

Q: If I have missed the September rehearsal, can I still join?

A: Yes, you can still join. Simply come out to the next rehearsal and we will find a way of fitting you into the ensemble.

Q: Will we have any performances?

A: Yes. Stay tuned for announcements of the performance opportunities.

Q: If I am new to the instrument, can I still attend?

A: The answer is a qualified yes. The Mandarins Academy requires that you have a basic understanding of the instrument that you want to study. For example, everyone should know the fingerings or slide positions for their brass instrument of choice. We will then introduce some of the fundamentals of brass playing that will benefit brass musicians of all levels. It is highly encouraged, though, that anyone participating in the Mandarins Academy has daily practice at their school with their instrument.

Q: Will we be marching?

A: No. The Mandarins Academy is a non-marching ensemble.

Q: Will this conflict with my school band?

A: Absolutely not. The rehearsal times were chosen to try to avoid any conflicts with your school band rehearsals or performances. If there is a schedule conflict, we fully expect you to attend your school function.

Q: What do I need to bring?

A: Bring your instrument, notepad, pencil, drinking water, and accessories. Most importantly bring a positive attitude to learn and a lot of energy to play!

Q: Is there any out-of-town travel required?

A: No. All rehearsals and all performances will be within the Sacramento area.

Q: Who are the instructors?

A: We are pleased to have on staff many of the professional instructors from the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. Also, we have invited other area music educators to participate. All combined, our instructional staff has well over hundreds of years of experience in performance and music education.

Q: How long are the rehearsals?

A: Our rehearsals will be a fast paced three-hour session so please make sure you are early to each session. Registration and setup will begins at 12:00 PM with warm-ups beginning at 1:00PM. At the end of each rehearsal session we will invite all parents to a short show-and-tell performance of what we learned during that session.

Q: What type of music are we going to play?

A: We will play a wide variety of music ranging from technical studies to performance pieces that are specifically arranged for brass and percussion ensembles.

Q: What will I learn at the Mandarins Academy?

A: Each academy will have its own curriculum. Each session will be focused on particular performance techniques. Those techniques will cumulatively build throughout the sessions. The techniques will be applied to exercises and ultimately demonstrated through performance pieces.

Q: How will this benefit my band program?

A: The Mandarins Academy is intended to help strengthen local band programs. The Mandarins Academy provide school music directors the opportunity to send their students to the Mandarins Academy where the students will focus on these specific performance techniques. Our hope is that the students will return to their band programs with a deeper understanding and appreciation for what it takes to be a proficient performer.

Q: What if I am still at a middle school, can I join?

A: While the Mandarins Academy is intended for area high school and college level musicians, middle-school students will be accepted on an exception basis by the Director.

Q: Is this the same thing as the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps?

A: No, while the Mandarins Academy is sponsored in part by the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps, it is a separate entity. The Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps is a marching organization consisting of a full brass line, percussion line and color guard. The Corps tours throughout the United States during the summer and is a sanctioned World Class Drum and Bugle Corps through Drum Corps International. For more information see the website

Q: Will this help me audition for the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps?

A: Yes. The performance techniques taught in the Mandarins Academy are consistent with those taught in the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. Demonstrating these proficiencies is part of the Mandarins audition process. In the past, many members of the Mandarins Academy have gone on to become full marching members of the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. Membership in the Mandarins Academy, however, is not a guarantee of acceptance into the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps.

We look forward to seeing you at the first rehearsal
on Sunday, September 13, 2015!!!