The Mandarins Experience


What is the Mandarins Academy ?

The Mandarins Academy is a series of educational sessions offering students the opportunity to further their skills in technique, musicianship, performance, and leadership development, all in support of their school music program. Mandarins Academy is comprised of Brass Academy, Color Guard Academy, Percussion Academy, Drum Major Academy, and Woodwind Academy.

If I am new to the instrument or equipment, can I still attend ?

The answer is a qualified yes. The Mandarins Academy requires that you have a basic understanding of the instrument or equipment that you want to study. It is highly encouraged, though, that anyone participating in the Mandarins Academy has daily practice at their school with their instrument.

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

Simple, there are two ways to become a member. The best way is to pre-register online here. By pre-registering you will save $15 on the registration fee. Second, you may attend the Academy session and register online here at the door using your smart phone

Will we be marching ?

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

Where are the rehearsals ?

In partnership with the Sacramento State School of Music, we are pleased and honored to be able to hold our rehearsals at Sac State’s Capistrano Hall.

Will this conflict with my school band ?

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.

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

If you pre-register by credit card, the cost is $60 to join for the full season. If you pre-register by cash or check, or register at the door, the cost will be $75.

What do I need to bring ?

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

What does the registration fee cover ?

The registration fee covers the cost of the educational material and musical compositions, educational staff, and the rehearsal facilities. 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.

Is there any out-of-town travel required ?

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

What is the age limit ?

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

Who are the educators ?

We are pleased to have on staff many of the professional instructors from the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps and other area music educators, all with experience in performance and music education.

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

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.

How long are the rehearsals ?

Our rehearsals will be a fast paced three and ½ hour session, so please make sure you are early to each session. Registration and setup will begin at 12:00 PM with instruction beginning at 12:30 PM. At the end of the last session we invite all parents to a Family and Friends Showcase performance of what we learned.

Do I need to bring my own instruments/equipment ?

We recommend that you bring your own instrument/equipment. We will have a limited supply of brass instruments (trumpets, mellophones, tubas, euphoniums, and baritones), percussion instruments (battery and front ensemble), and color guard equipment to loan out. Make sure you bring your own accessories such as mouthpieces, drum sticks, mallets, drum pads, gloves, valve oil, etc. If you are not able to bring an instrument or equipment, please come anyway and we will try to fit you with a loaner.

What type of music are we going to play ?

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

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

No, there are no auditions.

What will I learn at the Mandarins Academy ?

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

When does the Mandarins Academy meet ?

The Mandarins Academy meets on Sundays, September 8, September 29, October 27, and November 24. Registration and setup begins at 12:00 and instruction takes place from 12:30 to 4:00 PM (expanded by ½ hour from 2016).

How will this benefit my band program ?

The Mandarins Academy is intended to help strengthen local band programs. The Mandarins Academy provides 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.

What if I can't make a rehearsal session ?

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.

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

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.

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

Yes, you can still join. Simply register online here and come out to the next rehearsal.

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

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

Will we have any performances ?

Yes. Stay tuned for announcements of the performance opportunities. In the past, the Mandarins Academy performed at a Kings game, and the last session includes our Family and Friends Showcase.

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

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, 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.
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