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Audition – Strings (2023-2024 Season)

LYO ensemble placement and seating are by audition. Student auditions are assessed based on:

  • the difficulty of the selections you choose

  • your rhythm

  • your tone quality

  • your musicality

Be sure to adhere to bowings and the listed tempo. For more info, see the FAQ at the bottom of this page.

Please prepare the following for your audition:

1. Excerpts

  • Please prepare TWO consecutively numbered excerpts as listed in the packet below (such as 1–2 or 3–4, etc.). Prepare a third excerpt if you are auditioning for a Principal position. 

  • Choose the hardest excerpts you feel you can play well. What are the minimum required excerpts for each orchestra?

    • Serenade Orchestra (entry level)  –  Excerpt #1 and #2

    • Concert Orchestra: Excerpt #3 and #4; ALSO prepare #5 to be considered for a principal position.

    • Repertory Orchestra: Excerpt #5 and #6; ALSO prepare #7 to be considered for a principal position.

    • Symphony Orchestra (most advanced): Excerpts #7 and #8; ALSO prepare #9 to be considered for a principal position.

  • String students preparing excerpts #4-5 may be heard by a panel of up to 4 judges to ensure correct placement among intermediate ensembles.

2. Scale

  • Serenade Orchestra (entry-level) – 1 or 2 octave scale of your choice

  • Concert Orchestra – 1 or 2 octave scale of your choice

  • Repertory Orchestra – 2 or 3 octave scale of your choice

  • Symphony Orchestra (most advanced) – 3 octave scale of your choice. Double bass may play 2 octave scale if desired.

Scales should be performed in the following rhythm, or in an equivalent style and tempo:

3. Basic sight reading

At the audition, students are given a musical passage to sight read. You will get a short, specified amount of time to look at it. Check the key signature, time signature, markings, and scan the passage for any trouble spots before performing it.

Master Artists Chamber Players   (optional - for advanced/motivated intermediate student musicians)

Students auditioning for Repertory or Symphony Orchestras have the option to also audition for the Master Artists chamber groups. To do so, prepare a 2‐minute excerpt from a piece in the solo repertoire for your instrument. There is no extra cost to audition for Master Artists but there is a small program fee to participate.








Which excerpts should I choose? What should I focus on?

  1. We recommend that you print out all 9 excerpts for your respective instrument. Play through them, take them to your private teacher, and decide which 2 consecutive excerpts you want to prepare for your audition. Selecting excerpts is no guarantee that you will qualify for that orchestra. If you are unable to demonstrate proficiency on your chosen excerpts, you will be considered for another one of our orchestras. For example, if you select excerpts intended for Repertory Orchestra and are unable to play them at a high performance level, you will be considered for Serenade Orchestra or Concert Orchestra.

  2. It is important that you pick 2 consecutive excerpts that you are going to be able to play with great intonation, rhythmic precision, a steady tempo (at the metronome markings indicated), and all dynamics, articulations, style, and bow stroke considerations.

  3. Avoid picking excerpts that are too difficult for you or too easy for you. That will not help the conductors assess you accurately, especially if they are too hard for you. You might have big goals to be in a certain ensemble, but if you pick music that is beyond your abilities, it only shows us that you are not ready to play the level of music which that ensemble plays. We want everyone to have a solid confident audition.

  4. Play all excerpts within the tempo range indicated at the beginning of the excerpt. Playing excerpts too slowly or with hesitations/tempo changes will significantly affect your audition results. If you start an excerpt below or above the tempo range indicated, you might be stopped and asked to start over again within the indicated range.  Be sure to practice with a metronome.

  5. Be sure to adhere to all bowings marked in the excerpt. Fingerings are suggestions and are not mandatory, but the marked bowings are required.

Ready to register and pay? Return to the Audition Page.

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