Audition Requirements

Musicians ages 6 to 18 are invited to make an audition appointment with GSYO. Individual audition appointments are made year-round, based upon openings in the program. Candidates must study with a private teacher, and have had at least one year of lessons to be considered for placement.

Video Submissions Due March 30, 2021, 12pm PST

Explore our current openings and requirements for your specific interests

FOR THE CURRENT 20-21 SEASON: GSYO is still accepting video submissions for new member and promotion auditions for open positions for the current season. Fill out the application form and select "Current Season" to receive audition requirements from Deepika Kaiwar: deepika@gsyomusic.org

For the 2021-22 Season:

Audition requirements for the Spring New Member and Promotion Auditions are outlined below. During the Spring audition period, there are openings at ALL LEVELS for ALL INSTRUMENTS. Due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic, Spring auditions will again be held via video submission. Review the filming instructions and audition requirements carefully prior to preparing your video.

First round video auditions are due by 12pm (noon) PST on MARCH 30, 2021. Placement priority will be given to musicians who submit in the first round. Late submissions (received after noon on March 30th) will be held on a waiting list for the second round of evaluations. Please submit your video on time (or early!). Video submissions will be accepted starting March 15. You will receive an email with additional information about how to submit your video at that time. An audition application must be received prior to the video submission.

Requirements At A Glance

Explore the tabs above for detailed requirements of each Program

 Senior SymphonySinfonietta OrchestraWind OrchestraGalbraith Honor StringsCamerata OrchestraChamber Players Orchestra
Type of OrchestraFullFullWind, Brass, and Percussion Instruments OnlyString Instruments OnlyFullFull
     Strings
     Winds/Brass
     Percussion
Skill LevelMost AdvancedAdvancedIntermediateIntermediateBeginning-IntermediateBeginning
# of Concerts per Year4+43322
Commitment LevelVery HighHighModerate-HighModerate-HighModerate-HighModerate
Practice DaysSundayTuesdayTuesdayMondayMondayMonday
Years of Private Lessons4+4+3-4+3-4+2-31+

Auditions should be recorded as if they were being performed live, in-person, in front of GSYO faculty. That means that all requirements should be played straight through, live, with no stops. There should be no editing of the video, no accompaniment, and only one video link will be accepted. If it appears that the video has been edited, it will affect your placement.

This recorded performance does not need to be "perfect." The first or second take is usually the best. We strongly encourage doing NO MORE than three takes! We understand that young musicians are still learning, and our goal is to get enough information to place them in an ensemble that is at their best learning level.

Notes for Filming Set Up & Recording

  • Video should be taken in a well-lit room
  • Musician should be visible from the waist up (their instrument, bow arm, fingerboard, and face should be visible and not blocked by the music stand). Violin, viola, and double bass players should stand. Cellists will be seated. Winds and brass can choose whether to sit or stand.
  • No accompaniment is allowed and no editing is allowed. This should be performed as you would a live, in-person audition.
  • Please start the video by saying your full name, grade level for Fall 2021, your current GSYO ensemble (if applicable) or current school/community orchestra (if applicable) and how long you've been playing your instrument.
  • Before playing your prepared piece/solo, please say the name of the piece, the composer, the movement (if applicable), and/or the name of the book for the etude.
  • When completed, the video should be uploaded to a streaming service (YouTube, Vimeo, etc). The video does not have to be "public," but it should be accessible without any sign-in or password required. This is to allow our faculty to access the video remotely and to view without downloading.
  • Submit your video through our online form (link available starting March 15). Video should remain live until at least May 25, 2021.
Audition ExpectationsPrevious ensemble experience. See the requirements for each instrument group outlined below.
Strings

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Three-octave scale (in one key) of your choice, ascending and descending, played twice: first time is slower, second time is faster with more notes per bow; for example: first time: 4 or 6 notes per bow; second time faster with 8 or 9 notes per bow.
  • Arpeggios (related to your scale - major, minor, augmented, and diminished), played twice: first time is slower, second time is faster with more notes per bow; for example: First time - 3 or 4 notes per bow; second time - 6 or 8 notes per bow.
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces: max total solo length 5 minutes.
  • Required excerpt; (see info and link for each instrument below):
Woodwinds

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending; two major scales; should be 2 or more octaves if possible, ascending and descending, memorized (see below requirements per instrument):
    • FLUTE: D major scale slurred and B major scale tongued
    • OBOE: D major scale slurred and D flat major scale tongued
    • CLARINET: E major scale slurred and G flat major tongued
    • BASSOON: E flat major slurred and B major scale tongued
  • Two pieces of contrasting styles and tempos (no more than 5 minutes total). One must be a solo, the other can be an étude or another solo;
  • The following required excerpt - Beginning to Rehearsal #105. Skip rests that are longer than two measures:
Brass

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Chromatic scale from your lowest comfortable note to highest note, ascending and descending;
  • Play 6 major scales as quickly as you can with a steady and even rhythm, ascending and descending. Slur 3 scales and tongue 3 scales. Play with your best tone. If you can, play a couple of the scales 2 octaves. Make sure you choose scales that demonstrate your entire range.
  • Choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces (any preferred major sections of the solos are okay; it's not necessary to start at the beginning) - the solo(s) should be of the High School Honor Band audition level: max total solo time 5 minutes;
 Percussion

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Snare drum/practice pad single stroke. (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly)
  • Snare drum/pad roll approximately for 20 seconds, (ppp for 3 sec, then gradual crescendo, keep fff for 5 sec, then gradual diminuendo to ppp, keep the ppp for 3 sec.)
  • One Snare drum/pad solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level.
  • Optional: One Mallet instrument solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level.
Harp

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Prepared solo and étude of your choice with contrasting styles/tempos.
  • Three-octave scale.
  • The following required excerpt: Letter H to Letter K: LINK >>
Current Instrument Openings*All instruments
Type of Orchestra
Full
# of Concerts a Year
4+
Commitment Level
Very High
Practice Schedule
Sunday | 3:15-6:15pm | Union Presbyterian Church, Los Altos
Skill Level
Most Advanced
Years of Private Lessons
4+
Audition ExpectationsPrevious ensemble experience. See the requirements for each instrument group outlined below.
Strings

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Three-octave scale (in one key) of your choice, ascending and descending, played twice: first time is slower, second time is faster with more notes per bow; for example: first time 4 or 6 notes per bow; second time faster with 8 or 9 notes per bow.
  • Arpeggios (related to your scale - major, minor, augmented, and diminished), played twice: first time is slower, second time is faster with more notes per bow; for example: first time - 3 or 4 notes per bow; second time - 6 or 8 notes per bow.
  • Prepared solo or étude: choose contrasting sections from a movement of the standard repertoire or two sections from contrasting pieces: max total solo length 5 minutes
  • Required excerpt (see info and link for each instrument below):
    • VIOLIN: "Allegro" to Letter B: LINK >>
    • VIOLA: Beginning to Measure 45: LINK >>
    • CELLO: Letter V to the End: LINK >>
    • DOUBLE BASS: Letter V to the End: LINK >>
Woodwinds

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself);
  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note;
  • Two major scales; at least two octaves, ascending and descending, memorized (see below requirements per instrument):
    • FLUTE: D major scale slurred and B major scale tongued
    • OBOE: D major slurred and D flat Major tongued
    • CLARINET: E major scale slurred and G flat major tongued
    • BASSOON: E flat major slurred and B major scale tongued
  • Two pieces of contrasting styles and tempos (no more than 5 minutes total). One must be a solo, the other can be an étude or another solo;
  • Required excerpt: Measure 84 to Letter C (skip rests that are longer than 2 measures):
Brass

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself);
  • Chromatic scale from your lowest comfortable note to highest note, ascending and descending;
  • Play at least 4 major scales and up to 6 major scales as quickly as you can with a steady tempo and even rhythm, ascending and descending. Slur half of the scales and tongue the others. Play with your best tone. Make sure the scales you choose demonstrate your entire range.
  • Two short contrasting solos or two contrasting sections of one longer solo (any preferred major sections of the solos are okay; it's not necessary to start at the beginning); max total solo length 3 minutes;
 PercussionN/A
Current Instrument Openings*All Instruments
Type of Orchestra
Full
# of Concerts a Year
4
Commitment Level
High
Practice Schedule
Tuesday | 6:00-8:45pm | Union Presbyterian Church, Los Altos
Skill Level
Advanced
Years of Private Lessons
4+
Audition ExpectationsPrevious ensemble experience. See the requirements for each instrument group outlined below.
       StringsN/A
Woodwinds

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending.
  • Two major scales; at least two octaves, ascending and descending (see scale requirements for each instrument):
    • FLUTE: D major scale slurred & B major scale tongued
    • OBOE: D major scale slurred & D flat major tongued
    • CLARINET: E major scale slurred and B major tongued
    • BASSOON: E flat major scale slurred and A major scale tongued
    • SAXOPHONE: E major scale slurred & A flat major scale tongued
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice (no more than 3 minutes)
  • Required excerpt: Beginning to downbeat of measure 80 (skip rests that are longer than 2 measures):
Brass

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending;
  • Play at least 4 major scales and up to 6 major scales as quickly as you can with a steady tempo and even rhythm, ascending and descending. Slur half of the scales and tongue the others. Make sure the scales you choose demonstrate your entire range;
  • Two short contrasting solos or two contrasting sections of one longer solo (any preferred major sections of the solos are okay; it's not necessary to start at the beginning): max total solo length 3 minutes
  Percussion

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Snare drum/practice pad single stroke. (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly)
  • Snare drum/pad roll approximately for 20 seconds, (ppp for 3 sec, then gradual crescendo, keep fff for 5 sec, then gradual diminuendo to ppp, keep the ppp for 3 sec.)
  • One Snare drum/pad solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level.
  • Optional: One Mallet instrument solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level.
Current Instrument Openings*All Instruments
Type of Orchestra
Wind and Percussion Instruments Only
# of Concerts a Year
3
Commitment Level
Moderate-High
Practice Schedule
Tuesday | 6:15-8:15pm | Union Presbyterian Church, Los Altos
Skill Level
Intermediate
Years of Private Lessons
3-4+
Audition ExpectationsPrevious ensemble experience. See the requirements outlined below.
Strings

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, current grade in school, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Three-octave scale in key of your choice, ascending and descending, slurred. Played twice, slow to fast, for example: first time is slower 3 or 4 notes per bow; second time is faster with 6 or 8 notes per bow, etc.
  • Arpeggios, related to your scale, slurred. Played twice, slow to fast, for example: first time 3-4 notes per bow, second time 9 notes per bow.
  • Prepared solo or étude of contrasting styles and tempos. You may play the entire piece if it is under 5 minutes long; choose a 5 minute excerpt if the piece is longer;
  • Required excerpt:
    • VIOLIN: Measures bracketed in red: LINK >>
    • VIOLA: Measures bracketed in red: LINK >>
    • CELLO/DOUBLE BASS: Start and end at the yellow markings: LINK >>
 Winds/BrassN/A
PercussionN/A
Current Instrument Openings*All Instruments
Type of Orchestra
String Instruments Only
# of Concerts a Year
3
Commitment Level
Moderate-High
Practice Schedule
Monday | 6:00-8:00pm Fletcher Middle School, Palo Alto
Skill Level
Intermediate
Years of Private Lessons
3-4+
Audition ExpectationsPrevious ensemble experience preferred. See the requirements for each instrument group outlined below.
Strings

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, current grade in school, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • One major scale and the major and minor related arpeggios; played twice, ascending and descending: the first time is slower with 3 or 4 notes per bow, second time is faster with 6 or 8 notes per bow (see scale requirements for each instrument):
    • VIOLIN: 2-octave E major scale with related major and minor arpeggios.
    • VIOLA/CELLO/DOUBLE BASS:  2-octave A major scale with related major and minor arpeggios.
  • Prepared solo or étude (no more than 2 minutes);
  • Required excerpt of a Camerata-Level Piece: Measures 21-45:
Woodwinds

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending;
  • Two major scales, at least two octaves, ascending and descending (see scale requirements for each instrument):
    • FLUTE: D major scale slurred & A flat major scale tongued
    • OBOE: D major scale slurred & E major scale tongued
    • CLARINET: E major scale slurred & A flat major scale tongued
    • BASSOON: E flat major scale slurred & A major scale tongued
    • SAXOPHONE: E major scale slurred & A flat major scale tongued
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice (no more than 2 minutes);
  • Required excerpt: Beginning through measure 33; do not play the repeat (skip rests that are longer than 2 measures):
Brass

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • All major scales the musician knows, but a minimum of three. Play one scale slurred and the rest articulated, ascending and descending
  • Two short contrasting pieces or études OR contrasting sections of one longer solo (any preferred major sections of the solos are okay; it's not necessary to start at the beginning); max solo length 2 minutes
Percussion

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Snare drum/practice pad single stroke (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly). 
  • Snare drum/pad roll approximately for 20 seconds, (ppp for 3 sec, then gradual crescendo, keep fff for 5 sec, then gradual diminuendo to ppp, keep the ppp for 3 sec.)
  • One Snare drum/pad solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level.
  • Optional: One Mallet instrument solo or etude of your choice to represent your skill level.
Current Instrument Openings*All Instruments
Type of Orchestra
Full
# of Concerts a Year
3
Commitment Level
Moderate-High
Practice Schedule
Monday | 6:30-8:30pm Fletcher Middle School, Palo Alto
Skill Level
Beginning-Intermediate
Years of Private Lessons
2-3
Audition ExpectationsSee the requirements for each instrument group outlined below. Musicians must be reading music notes.
Strings

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • One major scale and a related arpeggio (see requirement for your instrument), ascending and descending, slurred; Played twice, for example: first time is slower 3 or 4 notes per bow, second time is faster with more notes per bow.
    • VIOLIN: one or two-octave A major scale with related arpeggio.
    • VIOLA/CELLO: one or two-octave D major scale with related arpeggio.
    • DOUBLE BASS: one or two-octave scale of your choice with related arpeggio.
  • Prepared solo or étude (no more than 2 minutes);
  • Required excerpt of Chamber Players-Level Piece: Measures 29-53; second time (do not repeat, play second ending) (skip rests that are longer than 2 measures):
Woodwinds

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • One major scale of your choice, played twice, ascending and descending, once slurred and once tongued
  • Prepared solo or étude (no more than 2 minutes);
  • Required excerpt: Measures 29-53; do not play the repeat - take the second ending and ignore the D.S al coda; (skip rests that are longer than 2 measures):
Brass

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade Fall 2021, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • All major scales the musicians knows, but a minimum of three. Play one scale slurred and the rest articulated, ascending and descending; choose scales that demonstrate the musician's full range.
  • Two short contrasting pieces or études OR contrasting sections of one longer piece (any preferred major sections of the solos are okay; it's not necessary to start at the beginning); solo length 2 minutes in total.
Percussion

All recordings should be UNEDITED to simulate a live audition. Please play the listed items in order.

  • Introduction (Name, Grade Fall 2021, and one fun fact about yourself)
  • Snare drum/practice pad single stroke (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly). 
  • Snare drum/pad roll approximately for 20 seconds, (ppp for 3 sec, then gradual crescendo, keep fff for 5 sec, then gradual diminuendo to ppp, keep the ppp for 3 sec.)
  • One Snare drum/pad solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level.
  • Optional: One Mallet instrument solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level.
Current Instrument Openings*All Instruments
Type of Orchestra
Full
# of Concerts a Year
3
Commitment Level
Moderate
Practice Schedule
Monday | 4:30-6:15pm Fletcher Middle School, Palo Alto
Skill Level
Beginning
Years of Private Lessons
1+

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