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Auditions For all YOUTH ENSEMBLES 2023-2024

Join us! We would love to have you in our youth ensembles. We believe auditioning is an important skill for every musician to develop. Our auditions are friendly and non-threatening and are designed to place you in a level that will encourage your musical growth while you have fun learning music with your peers. Please consult with your teacher about the ensemble level that might be best for you. 

Sign up for your 2023-2024 Season Audition Appointment below! 

NOTESTRING ORCHESTRA WORKSHOP does not require auditions. Simply register for enrollment here.



Auditions will be held in-person on August 12, 13, 19, and 20, 2023.

The Fall Season begins in September, 2023.

Questions? Contact Youth Ensembles Manager Elena Sloman.

Audition Requirements

New to our orchestras?
- It is recommended that before submitting an audition request form, you download the audition materials and seek advice from your private teacher about which level of audition materials are appropriate to your current playing level.
- If you would like to find a private teacher, please contact Youth Ensembles Manager Elena Sloman directly.

Returning musicians:
- Discuss with your teacher and prepare the scales and excerpts for the highest-level ensemble in which you would like to play.  It is highly recommended you work with your private teacher on your audition materials.
- If you desire to remain in your current level, you are still required to audition for seating purposes.

Schedule your Audition Appointment

Complete a registration form to request a Fall Audition Appointment.

Audition times will be assigned beginning in May, 2023.  Auditions will be held in-person on August 12, 13, 19, and 20 in Santa Rosa.


Audition Materials

You must prepare all the following:
SCALES/RUDIMENTS: Prepare scales or rudiments for your instrument and level as described.

SOLO: Prepare a two- to three-minute solo highlighting your technical proficiency.  This can be any excerpt, solo work, or etude in a style relevant to the orchestra setting that demonstrates the musician's present level of accomplishment. The solo does not need to be memorized. No accompaniment is allowed in the audition. It is recommended, but not required, to bring copies of the solo music for the audition panel (two copies). We do not provide suggestions for prepared solo selections, but if you are unsure if your solo is stylistically appropriate, feel free to email us a copy of the part for a brief yes or no answer.

EXCERPT(S): Carefully prepare all the excerpt(s) from your audition packet with the tempo indications given.

SIGHT READING: Be prepared to sight read material representative of the level of difficulty of the repertoire of the orchestra you wish to join.

Level 1 Audition Materials Packets

Level 1: appropriate for DEBUT YOUTH ORCHESTRA
For beginning to intermediate players 8 yrs -15 yrs
Rehearsals are on Saturdays 9:15 AM -10:45 AM, September - May 
Read about DYO here

Flute - Level 1
Oboe - Level 1
Clarinet - Level 1
Bassoon - Level 1
Horn - Level 1
Trumpet - Level 1
Trombone - Level 1
Tuba - Level 1
Percussion - Level 1
Violin - Level 1
Viola - Level 1
Cello - Level 1
Double bass - Level 1


Level 2 Audition Materials Packets

Level 2: appropriate for ASPIRANTE YOUTH ORCHESTRA (& Young People’s Chamber Orchestra by invitation)
For intermediate players 9 yrs -18 yrs
Rehearsals are on Saturdays 11 AM -1 PM, September – May
Read about AYO here
Flute - Level 2
Oboe - Level 2
Clarinet - Level 2
Bassoon - Level 2
Horn - Level 2
Trumpet - Level 2
Trombone - Level 2
Tuba - Level 2
Percussion - Level 2
Violin - Level 2
Viola - Level 2
Cello - Level 2
Double bass - Level 2


Level 3 Audition Materials Packets


SRSYO - For advanced players 12 yrs - 23 yrs
Rehearsals are on Thursdays 6 PM - 9 PM starting in Fall 2023, September - May 
Read about SRSYO here 
YPCO – For advanced string players by invitation 10 yrs - 23 yrs
Rehearsals are on Mondays 6 PM - 8:30 PM, September - March 
Read about YPCO here

Flute - Level 3
Oboe - Level 3
Clarinet - Level 3
Bassoon - Level 3
Horn - Level 3
Trumpet - Level 3
Trombone - Level 3
Tuba - Level 3
Percussion - Level 3
Violin - Level 3
Viola - Level 3
Cello - Level 3
Double bass - Level 3



Contact Youth Ensembles Manager Elena Sloman directly to request an SRSYO Concertmaster audition appointment, after submitting your registration form. 
CM AUDITION DATE: Sunday, August 20, 2023.
There are no makeups or other dates available for CM auditions.
RESULTS: The selection for the position of Concertmaster will be announced before the first rehearsal of the 2023-2024 season.
NOTE: All violinists auditioning for the concertmaster position must also present a regular L3 audition using the L3 Violin Packet.
CM Audition Requirements:
SCALES/RUDIMENTS: Prepare scales or rudiments from the L3 Violin packet.
SOLO: Prepare a three-minute solo highlighting your technical proficiency.
EXCERPTS: Prepare the excerpts from the Concertmaster audition packet AND the regular L3 Violin packet.

SRSYO Concertmaster
Violin - Level 3

The CM auditions will be held before a panel of two professional violinists selected by Education staff and faculty based on their impartiality. Auditions are recorded for conductors’ review. Only the musician is allowed to enter the audition room; parents and friends may wait in the waiting area. Expect concertmaster auditions to last up to 30 min.

Jazz Ensemble

Jazz Ensemble applicants are required to prepare a solo piece of their choice no more than three minutes. Fall audition date TBA. 
Participants of the Summer Music Academy Jazz Ensemble in July 2023 are not required to audition.


Late or Mid-Season Auditions

Late or Mid-season auditions will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
Late entry affects seating and is disqualifying for the concertmaster seat and most principal seats. 

For questions about auditions, please contact Youth Ensembles Manager Elena Sloman.


It is our primary goal to be sure all our musicians--students, staff, and faculty-- are safe and confident before, during and after rehearsals. To that end, we require all faculty and staff to be vaccinated, as well as the following protocols:

For young musicians to participate in any SRSYE program, we require one of the following: 

  • Proof of vaccination, or  
  • Negative Rapid Antigen test taken the day of any SRSYE rehearsal/event.


  • Masks may required at all times for string and percussion players, unless otherwise directed.
  • Woodwind and brass players may be unmasked while they are playing their instrument.  They are also welcome to use a mask with a slit to be worn while playing.
  • Everyone may be required to wear masks during breaks or while backstage, unless otherwise directed.


  • Anyone who is ill, for any reason, must not attend any rehearsal or event.  
  • Anyone experiencing any COVID symptoms must not attend any rehearsal or event.  
  • Notify your ensemble manager and we can work to set up a Zoom Video Conference to the rehearsal so you can observe and take notes.

These protocols are subject to change. 

Please email Director of Education, Wendy Cilman, if you have any questions. 



As with the great majority of youth orchestras across the country, the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Ensembles (SRSYE) depend upon grants, community support, and tuition fees. SRSYE tuition rates are lower than the national average and are significantly lower than comparable Northern California Youth Orchestras.

Tuition includes a nonrefundable $50 administrative fee. The following are annual tuition rates:

Ensemble Annual Tuition       
String Orchestra Workshop Session I (12 weeks) $175  
String Orchestra Workshop Session II (16 weeks)      $275  
String Orchestra Workshop Full Year                          
Jazz Ensemble Session I (13 weeks) 
Jazz Ensemble Full Year
Debut Youth Orchestra
Aspirante Youth Orchestra $525  
Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra $650  
Young People's Chamber Orchestra $375  

All tuition is due at or before the first rehearsal. You may pay by phone with a credit card or by mail with a check. You may also pay online; instructions for online payment will be sent with your invoice. You may also pay in person by appointment at our downtown Santa Rosa administrative offices with a credit card, check or cash. Only checks are accepted at rehearsal sites. 

If you choose to discontinue participation and notify the Education Department by the second rehearsal, you may receive a refund of the tuition less the $50 administrative fee. There will be no tuition refunds after the second rehearsal.

A 10% discount is available for families with multiple current SRSYE members.


Financial Aid

A limited number of financial aid awards are available each season to help members cover tuition fees. Student eligibility is based upon family income and expenses, using criteria created by the State of California Department of Education. You may obtain a financial aid application by requesting one from the SRS Education Department or by printing the forms HERE (en Español). Please note that financial aid recipients are not eligible for other tuition discounts.

Deadlines for financial aid vary and are listed on the application. Applications received prior to the deadline are given preference over those received following the deadline.

APPLY NOW English version
APPLY NOW Spanish version

Read more about auditions

Notification of Audition Results
Musicians will be notified of the audition results as soon as possible following the auditions. In many cases, results may not be decided until all auditions have been completed. Results will be distributed by email. Musicians successfully completing an audition are offered membership in one (or more) of the ensembles. Each member's placement in the group will be based upon auditions and input from qualified professional musicians.

Technical Requirements

Debut Youth Orchestra: Students must demonstrate simple articulation techniques, including staccato and legato tonguing.

Aspirante Youth Orchestra: Students must be proficient in producing a full, clear tone in all registers and demonstrate accurate articulation technique, including staccato and legato tonguing. Clarinets: some knowledge of transposition a plus.

Youth Orchestra: Clarinets must have a basic knowledge of A and C transposition. Bassoons must be able to read the tenor clef. Flutes must also be able to double tongue.

Debut Youth Orchestra: Students must demonstrate simple articulation techniques, including staccato and legato tonguing.

Aspirante Youth Orchestra: Students must be proficient in producing a full, clear tone in all registers and demonstrate accurate articulation technique, including staccato and legato tonguing. Horn and trumpet: some knowledge of transposition a plus.

SRS Youth Orchestra: Students must be able to double tongue and should own or have access to all mutes. Horns should have basic knowledge of the following transpositions: Eb, G, C, D and E; trumpets should know C, F, D and A transpositions; trombone players should be able to read the tenor clef (familiarity with alto clef a plus).

Debut Youth Orchestra: Students must demonstrate good basic technique on snare drum, bass drum, cymbal, and be able to read dotted rhythms and triplets. Knowledge of drum set, timpani, mallets, and other auxiliary instruments a plus.

Aspirante Youth Orchestra: Students must be able to read in simple and compound meters. The Audition Packet includes the basic rudiments necessary for audition. Students may be asked to demonstrate proficiency and good technique for playing all the basic instruments: snare drum, cymbals, bass drum, and triangle. Knowledge of drum set, timpani, mallets and other auxiliary instruments a plus.

Youth Orchestra: Students may be a specialist (timpani, mallets etc.) or be versed in all the 26 rudiments and proper technique for all pitched and non-pitched percussion.

Debut Youth Orchestra: All students should demonstrate simple articulation techniques, including staccato and legato bowing. Violins and violas must demonstrate a solid knowledge of first position. Knowledge of third position is a plus, as is producing a tone with vibrato. Cello and double bass must demonstrate facility through third and fourth positions.

Aspirante Youth Orchestra: All students must demonstrate use of vibrato and be proficient spiccato, detache, martele and sautillé bowing techniques. Violins and violas must demonstrate strong facility in first through third positions. Comfort in fifth position is a plus. Cello and doublebass must demonstrate facility through fifth and sixth positions.

SRS Youth Orchestra/Young People's Chamber Orchestra: All students must be proficient in all positions, have advanced bowing technique and be able to produce a solid, clear tone with continuous vibrato. Violas should be able to read the treble clef. Cellos should be able to read the tenor and treble clefs. Basses should be able to read the tenor clef.

Tips on preparing for auditions

Ways to Prepare
Determine where the problem spots are (down to the measure), and focus on them one at a time, slowly and carefully, until they get consistently better. Then put the difficult spot into context, playing a longer passage. After that, play through the whole piece or excerpt.

Deal with one challenge at a time. For example, if rhythm is the problem, practice the passage first without articulations, dynamics, slurs, etc. Once one problem in the passage is fixed, add the other things back in one at a time.

Practice all your music with a metronome for accuracy of tempo and rhythm. Start at a tempo that feels too easy, play it perfectly, then slowly speed up the metronome until you are performing the music at the assigned tempo.  Do this process for short passages first, gradually building up to include the whole piece or excerpt.

When challenged by the rhythm in a passage, be sure first that you can sing (or tap or clap) the rhythm.  If you can do that successfully consistently, try it slowly on your instrument, gradually speeding up to the assigned tempo. Then put the passage into context in a longer passage. After that, play through the whole piece or excerpt.

When you are feeling confident that you can play through the piece pretty well, ask yourself to address the details: dynamics, articulation, phrasing etc.  Is this piece sad or joyous, lively, or spooky? If the music has markings you don’t know, be sure to ask your teacher about them. Get your technique in place so you can then be an artist!

Practice your audition in front of family or friends. Doing a “dry run” will help you be comfortable with the audition routine and feel less nervous in your actual audition.

Arrive early enough to not feel rushed. You’ll need time to find parking, fill out any necessary paperwork, warm up and perhaps use the restroom. Wear comfortable clothes you are accustomed to. As you warm up, be attentive to your sound, and focus on good breathing and releasing any tension. Staff are there to help, so ask if you need anything!

Things to Keep in Mind
We want you to have a good experience so that you play well. Staff and the audition panel want to see you succeed and continue growing.

The audition panel will assess your current accomplishments, they are not looking for mistakes. We’re excited to see you do well.

Your placement in an orchestra or seating in a section is based on many factors, some of which you can’t control. What really matters is that you are dedicated and continue to improve.

We know you might come to your audition with some expectations about your placement. You might be hoping for an orchestra, section or even have a seat in mind. Know that the results of your audition are not just based on your playing that day, but on how everyone played in auditions. You, your teacher, and your family know what you did to prepare for the audition, but only the audition panel knows how every audition went. Prepare over weeks rather than days. Remember that we’re hoping for the best for you and share your talent with the panel.


Banner photo by Jurgita Mazeika

Contact Us

Administrative Office:
50 Santa Rosa Ave
Suite 410
Santa Rosa CA 95404
Phone:  (707) 546-7097

Patron Services | Box Office:
Phone: (707) 546-8742


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