Orchestra Audition FAQ

When reviewing your video audition, the judges WILL consider:

  • Rhythmic accuracy
  • Rhythmic stability (steady tempo)
  • Intonation (playing in-tune with yourself)
  • Tone quality
  • Dynamic contrast
  • Instrument-specific technique
  • Musicality, expression, and phrasing
  • Appropriateness of repertoire for your technical level
  • Ability to recover if you make a mistake
  • Careful preparation of all audition music

When reviewing your video audition, the judges WILL NOT consider:

  • The audio quality of the device you used to record
  • The video quality of the device used to record
  • Where you recorded your video and what it looked like (bedroom, living room, bathroom, etc. However, acoustics can be an issue if, for example you record in your bathroom and the sound is unclear due to the echo. Wherever you record, make sure you can be clearly heard.)
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Gender/Gender presentation
  • If you have a private teacher or who your teacher is
  • Other auditions you’ve taken or groups you’ve played with
  • How fancy/expensive your instrument is


When is the due date for my video audition?

Video audition submissions are due on Thursday, April 1 at 11:59PM. Students may submit their audition video any time before the deadline. Students may register for an audition through our website.


Where can I find instructions for submitting the video?

After you have submitted your online audition registration form, a CYSO staff member will email you your video instructions!


Can I edit my video?

Absolutely no editing or sound enhancements of any kind are permitted. Your Audition video should be one continuous take. Audition videos that are suspected to have been edited or otherwise enhanced will be immediately disqualified.


What if I do not have access to an instrument at home?

If you do not have access to your instrument or have other challenges preventing you from submitting a video, please email Karen Mari at kmari@cyso.org. CYSO understands that percussionists in particular may not have access to timpani or a mallet instrument, and we have created separate pre-screening instructions for these students will receive after registering for their audition.


Should I memorize the music?

Memorization is not required. If you would like to memorize your solos, you are welcome to do so.


How long should my audition video be?

Your audition video should be no longer than 8 minutes, and should include 2-3 minutes of each of your two contrasting solo in addition to your audition excerpts if you chose to be considered for a Sunday orchestra.


What should I wear?

Wear nice dress clothes that are comfortable for you to perform in. Remember that this is the first impression you will make on those who will evaluate you. It is also a good idea to practice in the clothes you are planning to wear at least once before your audition.


When will I find out if I have been accepted?

All audition results will be announced by mid-June via email. All auditioning students will be contacted regardless of the outcome. Be sure to enter your email address correctly on your Audition Registration Form. Email is CYSO’s primary mode of communication with students and parents.


When and where are rehearsals held?

Though we are currently not meeting due to COVID-19, all orchestra rehearsals are held in CYSO rehearsal spaces 833, 825 & Curtiss Hall at 410 S. Michigan Avenue, the Fine Arts Building (FAB). Enrichment Programs are held in various CYSO rooms at FAB and in various Roosevelt University (RU) rooms at 430 S. Michigan Avenue.

2020-2021 Saturdays

Orchestra Rehearsals – FAB Curtiss Hall
Overture Strings (OS) 9:00 – 10:15 AM
Preparatory Strings (PS) 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Accelerando Strings (AS) 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Orchestra Rehearsals – FAB Room 833
Debut Orchestra (DO) 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Concert Orchestra (CO) 12:30 – 3:00 PM

Steel Orchestra Rehearsals – FAB Room 825
The Jumbies 9:00 – 10:00 AM
Groove Steel Ensemble 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Junior Steel Orchestra 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Kaiso Steel Orchestra 3:15 – 5:15 PM

2020-2021 Sundays

Orchestra Rehearsals – FAB Room 833
Philharmonic Orchestra (PO) 12:00 – 2:30 PM
Symphony Orchestra (SO) 3:00 – 6:00 PM or 3:00 – 8:00 PM

Enrichment Programs – Various Rooms
Composition Seminar (SO & PO) 10:45 – 11:45 AM
Chamber Music (SO)* 12:30 – 2:30 PM
Chamber Music (PO)* 3:00 – 5:00 PM

*Both Chamber Music sessions include Percussion Ensemble which is required of all Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra percussionists.


What are the requirements for membership?

Requirements vary for each orchestra, enrichment program, and by instrument. Visit our audition requirements and CYSO membership requirements for details.


If you have other questions not covered here, please email Karen Mari at kmari@cyso.org.