Youth Orchestra Auditions - Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need to take a preliminary audition?

This depends on whether or not you are already in the orchestra and what instrument you play. Returning and alternate players do not need to take a preliminary audition and are automatically advanced to the final auditions. Some instruments will not need to take a preliminary audition depending on the number of applicants. You will be notified via email on Monday, March 30 of which instruments are required to take a preliminary audition.

What if I cannot be at the auditions?

If you live out of state at the time of auditions or otherwise have unsolvable scheduling conflicts, we do accept recorded auditions on a case by case basis. To see if you are eligible, please contact Samantha Sachtleben, Youth Orchestra Manager, at

What do I need to prepare for the audition?

It depends on the audition round and varies by instrument. For detailed information about what is expected of you in the audition, please  visit our Audition Requirements & Procedures page and click on your instrument to download a .pdf of your instrument's specific audition requirements. We recommend printing this page and retaining it for your records.

Who is listening to the auditions?

The panel of judges will be comprised of musicians of the SLSO and may also include the Music Director.

Are the auditions blind, and what does that mean?

The final audition is blind, meaning that you will play behind a screen and your identity will be unknown to the judges (and vice versa). This mirrors a professional orchestra audition and ensures that musicians are accepted into the orchestra on their merit alone. The preliminary audition, however, is not blind. 

What should I wear to the auditions?

First and foremost, you should wear clothing in which you are comfortable playing. While there is not a strict dress code for auditions, we encourage musicians to dress in a respectful manner best described as semi-casual.

How early should I arrive, and can I warm up?

We ask that you arrive no earlier than 30 minutes prior to your audition. There is a shared space to unpack and warm up; pending availability, there will be a private space for you to warmup immediately before entering your audition.

Can I play the same solo for both the preliminary audition and the final audition?

Yes, and you may also choose to play a different solo in each round. It is entirely your choice.

Will I receive the judges’ comments?

No, students will not receive judge's comments from either round of the auditions.  

What if I do not get in?

You are in great company. Auditions for this ensemble are competitive, with a ~33% acceptance rate overall. The act of auditioning is an accomplishment and we hope that you enjoyed and learned something from the experience. We want to stay in touch with you throughout the year, so you should expect to receive invitations to attend SLSO concerts, various Youth Orchestra events, and more. 

Do you audition for (instrument)?

We audition for all instruments that you would find in a standard full orchestra. Unfortunately, this does not include instruments such as saxophone or guitar. To see which instruments that can audition, please see our audition requirements and procedures.

Do I need to also play in my school's orchestra/band? Why?

Yes. The Youth Orchestra would not exist were it not for the music programs in our region's schools. Musicians must participate in their applicable school music program, meaning a violinist must play in their school's orchestra, a flutist must play in their school's band, etc. If such an ensemble does not exist in your school, this requirement is waived, i.e. a violinist would not be required to play in their school's band if an orchestra does not exist at their school.

Should you be unable to participate due to your school's class schedule, then the Youth Orchestra Manager will be in contact with your school's orchestra/band director to see what solutions are available.

Can I participate in my marching band and Youth Orchestra?

Yes! Musicians must participate in their school music programs (see above). Our attendance policy is structured in such a way to allow our musicians to involve themselves in other activities. We aim to be extra accommodating when it comes to conflicts with school music commitments.

Am I old/young enough to participate?

Musicians must be no younger than 12 and no older than 22 on September 1 of any given year. Exceptions to this are rarely made and only done on a case by case basis.

How much does it cost to be in the Youth Orchestra?

Annual tuition is $600 for full time-members ($200 per concert cycle). There are a variety of payment options available to families as well as merit-based scholarship and need-based financial aid.