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.

GSYO is now accepting applications for 2022-23, our 60th Anniversary Season!

Requirements at a Glance:

Explore the tabs above for detailed requirements of each Program

 Senior SymphonyCamilla Kolchinsky OrchestraEl Camino Wind OrchestraGalbraith Honor StringsCamerata OrchestraChamber Players Orchestra
Type of OrchestraFullFullWind, Brass, and Percussion Instruments OnlyString Instruments OnlyFullFull
     Strings
     Winds/Brass
     PercussionTimpani
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+
Audition ExpectationsPrevious ensemble experience. See the requirements for each instrument group outlined below. Musician should wear a mask and instrument should have.a bell cover, as appropriate. All musicians must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
Strings
  • Three-octave scale in 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* in key of your scale (major, minor, dominant 7th, and diminished 7th), 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: recommended solo length: 5 minutes.
  • Sight-reading

*Recommended books for reference: 
Flesch: Violin Scale System: Scale Exercises in All Major and Minor Keys for Daily Study
Cossman: Studies for Developing Agility for Cello
Feuillard: Daily Exercises for Violoncello
Mogill: Scales Studies for Viola

Woodwinds
Brass
  • 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. Recommended solo length: 5 minutes
  • Sight-reading
 Percussion
  • Snare drum single stroke. (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly)
  • Snare drum 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.)
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice on two or more of the following instruments to represent your skill level: Timpani, Snare Drum, Mallets (Bells or Xylophone).
  • Sight-reading
Harp
  • Prepared solo and étude of your choice with contrasting styles/tempos.
  • Three-octave scale.
  • The cadenza from Tchaikovsky Swan Lake.
  • A harp is not provided for auditions. Please plan to bring your own instrument.
Type of Orchestra
Full
# of Concerts a Year
4+
Commitment Level
Very High
Practice Schedule
Sunday | 3:30-6:30pm | 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. Musician should wear a mask and instrument should have a bell cover, as appropriate. All musicians must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
Strings
  • Three-octave scale in 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* in key of your scale (major, minor, dominant 7th, and diminished 7th), 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;
  • Sight-reading.

*Recommended books for reference: 
Flesch: Violin Scale System: Scale Exercises in All Major and Minor Keys for Daily Study
Cossman: Studies for Developing Agility for Cello
Feuillard: Daily Exercises for Violoncello
Mogill: Scales Studies for Viola

Woodwinds
Brass
  • 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);
  • Sight-reading
 Timpani
  • Snare drum single stroke. (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly)
  • Snare drum 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.)
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level on Snare Drum and Timpani;
  • Sight-reading
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. Musician should wear a mask and instrument should have a bell cover, as appropriate. All musicians must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
       StringsN/A
Woodwinds
  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending.
  • Two major scales; at least two octaves, ascending and descending, memorized (coach will choose scales at audition).
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice
  • Optional (recommended) excerpt of Wind Orchestra-Level Piece: Second Suite in F, Mvt. 1 “March” (skip rests longer than two measures)
  • Sight-reading
Brass
  • 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).
  • Sight-reading
  Percussion
  • Snare drum single stroke. (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly)
  • Snare drum 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.)
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level on two of the following instruments: Snare Drum, Timpani, Mallets (Bells or Xylophone)
  • Sight-reading
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. Musician should wear a mask. All musicians must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
Strings
  • 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* in the key of your chosen scale (major, minor, dominant 7th, and diminished 7th), 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;
  • Sight-reading

*Recommended books for reference: 
Flesch: Violin Scale System: Scale Exercises in All Major and Minor Keys for Daily Study
Cossman: Studies for Developing Agility for Cello
Feuillard: Daily Exercises for Violoncello
Mogill: Scales Studies for Viola

 Winds/BrassN/A
PercussionN/A
Type of Orchestra
String Instruments Only
# of Concerts a Year
3
Commitment Level
Moderate-High
Practice Schedule
Monday | 6:00-8:00pm | Cubberley Community Center, 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. Musician should wear a mask and instrument should have a bell cover, as appropriate. All musicians must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
Strings
  • 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 E major and E minor arpeggios.
    • VIOLA/CELLO/DOUBLE BASS:  2-octave A major scale with A major and A minor arpeggios.
  • Prepared solo or étude (no more than 2 minutes);
  • Required excerpt of Camerata-level piece: Ancient Airs and Dances, Respighi, arr. Brubaker. Measure 1-downbeat of m. 24.
  • Possible sight-reading

Recommended books for reference: 
Flesch: Violin Scale System: Scale Exercises in All Major and Minor Keys for Daily Study
Cossman: Studies for Developing Agility for Cello
Feuillard: Daily Exercises for Violoncello
Mogill: Scales Studies for Viola

Woodwinds
  • Chromatic scale from your lowest to highest note, ascending and descending;
  • All major scales through four sharps and four flats, at least two octaves, ascending and descending, memorized.
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice;
  • Optional (recommended) excerpt of Camerata-Level Piece: Spanish Dance No. 3 (skip rests longer than two measures)
  • Sight-reading
Brass
  • 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); recommended length 3 minutes.
  • Sight-reading
Percussion
  • Snare drum single stroke (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly).
  • Snare drumroll 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.)
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level on one or more of the following instruments: Snare Drum, Timpani, Mallets (Bells or Xylophone).
  • Sight-reading
Type of Orchestra
Full
# of Concerts a Year
3
Commitment Level
Moderate-High
Practice Schedule
Monday | 6:30-8:30pm | Union Presbyterian Church, Los Altos
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. Musician should wear a mask and instrument should have.a bell cover, as appropriate. All musicians must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
Strings
  • One major scale and a related arpeggio, 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 (see scale requirement for your instrument):
    • VIOLIN: one or two-octave A major scale and one arpeggio (musician's choice).
    • VIOLA/CELLO: one or two-octave D major scale and one arpeggio (musician's choice).
    • DOUBLE BASS: one or two-octave scale of your choice and one arpeggio (musician's choice).
  • Prepared solo or étude (no more than 2 minutes);
  • Required excerpt of Chamber Players-Level Piece: Ode to Joy, arr. Meyer. Measure 30 (no repeat, take second ending) to the downbeat of measure 47.
  • Possible sight-reading

Recommended books for reference: 
Flesch: Violin Scale System: Scale Exercises in All Major and Minor Keys for Daily Study
Cossman: Studies for Developing Agility for Cello
Feuillard: Daily Exercises for Violoncello
Mogill: Scales Studies for Viola

Woodwinds
  • One major scale of your choice, played twice, ascending and descending, once slurred and once tongued
  • Prepared solo or étude;
  • Optional (recommended) excerpt of Chamber Players-Level Piece: Ode to Joy (skip rests longer than two measures)
  • Sight-reading
Brass
  • 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.
  • Sight-reading
Percussion
  • Snare drum single stroke (slow to fast to slow, gradual accelerando and ritardando, seamlessly).
  • Snare drumroll 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.)
  • Prepared solo or étude of your choice to represent your skill level on one or more of the following instruments: Snare Drum, Timpani, Mallets (Bells or Xylophone).
  • Sight-reading
Type of Orchestra
Full
# of Concerts a Year
3
Commitment Level
Moderate
Practice Schedule
Monday | 4:30-6:15pm | Union Presbyterian Church, Los Altos
Skill Level
Beginning
Years of Private Lessons
1+

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