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Frequently Asked Audition Questions

Frequently Asked Audition Questions

1. How do the auditions work?

Once you arrive at the audition site, we'll check you in and show you to a room where you can warm up and get comfortable.  We will call you to the audition room, to perform for the conducting staff.  You will be asked to play your solo, any excerpts that you have prepared, and then possibly some scales or sight reading.   After the audition, you'll be able to return to your warm-up room to pack up your instrument.

2. How much is the audition fee?

$10 for all students, payable when checking in for the audition.

3. How early should I plan to arrive before my audition time?

Most students plan to arrive 30-40 minutes prior to their assigned audition time in order to have adequate time to warm up and feel comfortable before their audition.

4. How  long will the audition be?

Most auditions are between 6-8 minutes in length.

5. Do I need to play my solo from memory?

No. It isn't required to play your solo from memory.

6. Can I have an accompanist play for my audition?

No. We ask that all students play their solos without accompaniment.

7. Why are scales being asked for as part of the audition?

Scales indicate a students ability and level of development on their instrument, and broader knowledge of music.  Scales are supplemental information for the conducting staff, and help us better understand better how to match students current abilities to our ensemble programs.

8. How many scales will I need to play?

For the Youth Repertory Orchestra and Young Artists Orchestra, you should prepare all 15 major and minor scales.   The conductors may or may not ask to hear you play 2-3 different scales

For the Youth String Orchestra auditions, the conductors may ask to hear you play 2-3 major scales (minor scales are not required as part of the audition for the Youth String Orchestra).

9. How many octaves should I play scales in?

For the Youth String Orchestra, we would like to hear you play your major scales in 2 octaves, however we understand that some students may not have learned all of the scales in two octaves. Do your best   Remember that we ask for scales to better understand your ability on the instrument and general musical knowledge.

For the Youth Repertory Orchestra and Young Artists Orchestra, we ask that you play scales in at least 2 octaves, though 3 octaves is preferred for strings instrumentalists auditioning for the Young Artists Orchestra.

10. What if I don't know all of the scales yet?

Remember, we are asking for scales to help better understand the ability of each student who is applying.  We expect that some students will know their scales very well, while others may not know them as well.   Do your best, and practice as much as possible in advance of the auditions. Our goal is to match each student with the ensemble that will be most rewarding, and match his/her skills best.

11. Can I play a solo that doesn't have a NYSSMA level specified?  

Yes. NYSSMA levels are listed in our requirements to give you an idea of the type of repertoire and approximate level of difficulty that is expected for different ensembles.   It is possible to substitute an alternate work, and if you have any questions about whether the work you plan to play is approximately equal to the NYSSMA levels that are specified, you may want to talk to your school music teacher or private music instructor.

12. Do I have to play the excerpts for my instrument?

The excerpts are optional, but it is highly recommended that students applying for the Young Artists Orchestra to prepare the excerpts for their audition.

13. I didn't get a registration confirmation.   How do I know I know that my registration is confirmed?   

Please do check your junk or bulk mail folders and make sure that the message wasn't placed there.  If you don't see it, just drop us an email and we'll be happy to confirm your registration was received.

 14. How soon will I hear about the audition results.

We will send out emails at the beginning of July.  All applicants will be notified no later than July 6th.


Is something else not clear?   If so, please don't hesitate to contact us at


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