Mission and Mini Mission join an NIU ensemble rehearsal.

All NIU students, regardless of major are welcome to audition for a School of Music Large Ensemble. Some ensembles including World Music Ensembles, All-University Steelband, and University Chorus do not require an audition. 

Information for Spring 2023 Large Ensemble Auditions is available now!


Ensemble Auditions

Audition Information 

  • All undergraduate string, wind, and percussion students must appear for large ensemble auditions. Please prepare all audition materials thoroughly for your audition. 

  • For any band or orchestral excerpts, please listen to representative recordings to learn the appropriate style, tempo and dynamics for the passage. Performing these aspects of the music correctly is a large part of the audition. 
    • Learning the music, by analytical listening to multiple versions of the excerpts, will help you grow as a musician and will reflect positively on your audition placement. 

    • Playing the right notes but in the wrong style or wrong tempo sends a different message to the audition panel. 

    • Listen and analyze before you practice 
  • Please make every effort to audition during the time frame designated for your instrument. Doing so gives you the best opportunity for the conductors to accurately assess your skills as compared to your colleagues. 

  • Professional attire is expected. 

  • Bring a copy of your class schedule to the auditions. The conductors may ask for it if needed. 
  • Arrive early for your scheduled time. Be prepared to play early if requested to do so. 

Ensemble Audition Music

  • Brass and Woodwind Ensemble Music

  • Percussion ensemble audition information and music can also be found in the Percussion Area Handbook. To register for your audition, please follow instructions as listed in the Percussion Area Handbook. If you have questions, please contact Greg Beyer at gbeyer@niu.edu  

Schedule your Ensemble Audition

  • Woodwinds/Brass Ensemble Audition Sign-Up
  • Students who play a string instrument and are interested in joining the NIU Philharmonic Orchestra for spring 2023 should e-mail Dr. Lin at wlin@niu.edu to schedule an independent audition. Auditions for Spring 2023 will not be accepted after Jan. 20, 2023.
  • Percussion ensemble audition information and music can be found in the Percussion Area Handbook. To register for your audition, please follow instructions as listed in the Percussion Area Handbook or please contact Dr. Greg Beyer at gbeyer@niu.edu

Ensemble Times 

  • MUSE 330/630: Wind Symphony - M/W 2:00-3:40 p.m.

  • MUSE 331/631: Wind Ensemble - Tu/Th 2:00-3:50 p.m., M/W 1:00-1:50 p.m. (sectionals)

  • MUSE 360/660: NIU Philharmonic – M/W 2:00-3:50 p.m., Tu/Th 4:00-4:50 (sectionals)

If you are interested in Chamber Music Ensembles, please contact your studio faculty member and Professor Brown at jbrown35@niu.edu for more details regarding registration and ensemble placement. 

  • MUSE 315/615: String Ensemble
    • M/W 1:00-1:50 p.m. OR Tu/Th 1:00-1:50 p.m.
  • MUSE 316/616: Woodwind Ensemble
    • M/W 1:00-1:50 p.m. OR Tu/Th 1:00-1:50 p.m.
    • (sec. 3) Flute Choir (Fri 12-1 p.m.)
  • MUSE 317/617: Brass Ensemble
    • M/W 1:00-1:50 p.m. OR Tu/Th 1:00-1:50 p.m.
    • (sec. 3) Trombone Choir – Fri 12:00-1:50 p.m.
  • MUSE 318/618: Percussion Ensemble
    • M/W 12:00-12:50 p.m. OR Tu/Th 12:00-12:50 p.m.
  • MUSE 320/620: Keyboard Ensemble – TBD
  • MUSE 365/665: Campus String Orchestra – Mon 7:30-10:00 p.m.

Audition Information


Contact: Reggie Thomas (reggiethomas@niu.edu)

Ensemble Times

  • NIU Jazz Orchestra
    • M/W 2:00 - 3:50 p.m.
  • Jazz Ensemble
    • T/Th 4 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.
  • University Jazz Band 
    • M/W 5:40 p.m. – 7:20 p.m.
  • MUSE 324/624: Jazz Combos 
    • M/W 1 – 1:50 p.m. OR Tu/Th 1 - 1:50 p.m.
    • (sec 3) Jazztet - M/W 11 - 11:50 a.m.



Greetings from Dr. Johnson and Dr. Doherty! 

Students who are interested in joining Chamber or Concert Choir for Spring 2023, please email Dr. Johnson at ejohnsn@niu.edu to schedule an independent audition. Auditions for Spring 2023 will not be accepted after Jan. 20, 2023

University Chorus does not require an audition. Students may register until the deadline to enroll in Spring classes. Please email Dr. Doherty at mdoherty@niu.edu with questions.

 If you have any questions, please email us at Dr. Johnson (ejohnsn@niu.edu) or Dr. Doherty (mdoherty@niu.edu).  We are looking forward to making music with you this spring!!!

Drs. Johnson and Doherty  


  • Concert Choir (MUSE 345/645): M/W 2:00-2:50 p.m. AND Tu/Th 2:00-3:15 p.m.
    • This is an auditioned large ensemble. The group has both music majors and non-majors with good music skills. Many of the non-music majors come from strong HS choral programs and they are looking for the challenges and rewards of advanced choral music. Concert Choir often performs for area high schools and short run-out concerts. In the spring, Concert Choir often performs large choral orchestral works with the NIU Philharmonic. This ensemble is conducted by Dr. Johnson.
  • Chamber Choir (MUSE 341/641): M/W/F 1:00-1:50 p.m.
    • This is a select mixed vocal ensemble of 16-20 singers that focuses on advanced ensemble repertoire. Personal performance expectations are high as singers are often assigned one or two voices per part. Chamber Choir often performs off campus events representing the university as various official functions. Enrollment is open to all NIU students through the audition process, but there is a high degree of music reading proficiency and outside class independent work expected. This ensemble is conducted by Dr. Johnson.
  • University Chorus (MUSE 342/642): M/W 4:00-5:15 p.m.
    • This is a non-auditioned SATB choir. University Chorus is often a mix of instrumental music majors and singers from other majors across campus who had great high school choral experiences and they just want to keep singing in college. This ensemble is conducted by Dr. Doherty.

Opera Theatre is a great opportunity for students to learn more about opera and expand their musical and performance experiences. All students are eligible to audition for your annual fully produced opera at NIU in the Spring. In the Fall you may audition for the ACTING THE SONG and OPERA SCENES courses. These classes teach valuable performance skills that will strengthen anyone's ability to perform onstage or learn to be in front of an audience or classroom. Both Musical Theatre and Classical Repertoire are used in the Acting the Song and Opera Scenes courses.

Auditions for the Opera for Spring 2023 have passed. We encourage you to audition in Fall 2023 for future opportunities. Questions? Please contact Professor Wester at jwester@niu.edu

Ensemble Times

  • MUSE 343/643: Opera Theatre
    • Tu/Th 3:30-5:00 p.m. (beginners), 5:00-6:30 p.m. (advanced)

The All-University Steelband is open to any student, regardless of major (music and non-music). The ability to read music is preferred.

Please contact Professor Liam Teague at lteague@niu.edu to enroll in Steelband I or if you have questions about any steelpan ensemble.

Ensemble Times

All University Steelband (MUSE 373/673)

  • Tu/Th: 4:30 – 5:30 pm

Steelband I (MUSE 372/672)

  • M/Tu/W/Th: 1:00 – 1:50 pm

We have numerous additional World Music ensembles for students to participate in addition to our Steelpan ensembles. There is no audition for many of these ensembles and all students are welcome to register and participate. Please contact Dr. Jui-Ching Wang at jcwang@niu.edu if you have questions.

Ensemble Times

MUSE 321/621 Mixed Ensemble 

  • (sec. 2) Thai Ensemble Tu: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • (sec. 4) Korean Drumming M: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

MUSE 370/670 Gamelan

  • M: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

MUSE 375/675 Chinese Music Ensemble

  • W: 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Banda NIU

Banda NIU is a new ensemble at NIU that honors the tradition of the great bandas of the western Mexican state of Sinaloa. Its long and rich history is drawn on collaboration between European immigrants to Mexico in the 1800s and popular Mexican song. The most popular subgenre of regional Mexican music, Banda relies solely on an instrumentation of wind instruments (unlike Mariachi and Noteño) featuring brass, clarinets, percussion and singers.

MUSE 321/621: Mixed Ensemble  

  • (Sec. 1) Banda NIU F: 2:30 – 4:00 pm 

Mariachi NIU

Mariachi NIU is the mariachi ensemble of the NIU School of Music. Students can audition and should be able to read music and have considerable performance experience with their instrument including violin, guitar, vihuela, guitarrón, trumpet, harp and voice. 

MUSE 321/621: Mixed Ensemble  

  • (Sec. 3) Mariachi NIU TBD 

Students interested in participating in Banda and Mariachi should contact Dr. Scanlon (cscanlon1@niu.edu). 

Community School of the Arts

Non-music majors may also participate in the Community School of the Arts, which offers music lessons and ensembles for people in the community. The teachers are community musicians, as well as School of Music graduate and undergraduate students and faculty. These activities do not carry any credit hours. Visit the Office of External Programs to learn more.