All students wishing to join the NJSYO must audition. Please refer to the audition requirements below for the appropriate orchestra or ensemble. The link for audition registration can be found on the main page of this site (https://www.njsyo.org).

Note that auditions are progressive, and so although all audition elements must be prepared you will not necessarily be asked to present them all. Please also note that if an applicant is not deemed ready for audition to a particular orchestra, the NJSYO will automatically consider the applicant for a group suitable to the student’s age, experience and ability.

**  IMPORTANT: STUDENTS WILL REMAIN IN THE ORCHESTRA THEY AUDITIONED FOR AND WERE ACCEPTED INTO FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON, UNLESS MOVED BY CONDUCTOR REQUEST.  **

Preparatory String Orchestra

Basic Skills

  • Students must be in the second grade or higher in September.
  • Completion of a method book such as Essential Elements for Strings 2000, Strictly Strings, All for Strings, etc.
  • Ability to read music without writing in note names or basic fingerings.
  • Must be familiar with rhythms including quarter, eighth, half, whole and dotted notes.
  • Ability to count in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time.
  • Basic ability to sight read music and to identify notes and key signatures.

Scales

Violin: 2 octaves: G, A; 1 octave: Bb, C, D, F
Viola: 1 octave: Bb, C, D, F, G
Cello: 1 octave: Bb, C, D, F, G
Bass: 1 octave: G

Violinists will be expected to play one 2 octave scale and one 1 octave scale listed above. All others will be expected to play two 1 octave scales.

Solo Piece

Solo piece must be an actual solo for your instrument, not an orchestra part. Solo should demonstrate the student’s ability and be a minimum of 32 measures long including repeats. Suggested examples include Bach Minuets, 1, 2, and 3, solos found at the end of Suzuki Book 1 and the solos in the beginning of Suzuki Book 2.

Other similar solos are accepted.

Sight Reading

Sight reading will be provided and will be part of an orchestra piece similar to those that will will be played at this level. Students will be given a stated amount of time to visually review the piece with playing their instruments. Students will then play the part to the best of their ability.

Concert Youth Orchestra

The Concert Youth Orchestra (CYO) is open to string, woodwind, brass, and percussion players in the 5th grade and above. The CYO is designed to expose students to the symphonic repertoire, and to hone skills in orchestral playing. Students should also be taking private lessons as well.

All Strings:

I. Applicants will perform 2 scales, one each from list A and list B. Applicants must perform one major and one minor scale (natural, harmonic, or melodic). All scales should be played 2 octaves; students may play three octaves if they are able. All scales must be performed from memory.

List A: C/G/D/A/E/F majors; A/E/B/F#/C#/D minors

List B: Bb/Eb/Ab majors; G/C/F minors

II. Applicants should prepare 2 contrasting solo pieces or excerpts (one faster and one slower selection) that best demonstrate their skill level. Selections should be no more than 2-3 minutes in length. Specific areas being evaluated will include intonation, rhythmic accuracy, bowing and bow control, tone, and variety of articulation when applicable.

III. All applicants will be asked to sight-read a short selection which will be provided at the audition.

Winds/Brass:

I. Applicants will perform 2 scales, one each from list A and list B. Applicants must perform one major and one minor scale (natural, harmonic, or melodic). All scales should be played as many octaves as possible, and must be performed from memory.

List A: C/G/D/A/E/F majors; A/E/B/F#/C#/D minors

List B: Bb/Eb/Ab majors; G/C/F minors

II. Applicants should prepare 2 contrasting solo pieces or excerpts (one faster and one slower selection) that best demonstrate their skill level. Selections should be no more than 2-3 minutes in length. Specific areas being evaluated will include tone, intonation, accuracy of notes/rhythms, breath support and control, and cleanliness and accuracy of articulations.

III. All applicants will be asked to sight-read a short selection which will be provided at the audition. Students entering the CYO must be able to proficiently sight-read music appropriate to the level of the ensemble.

Percussion:

Applicants should prepare short 1-2 minutes audition excerpts on as many instruments as they are proficient; selections should demonstrate a proficiency with basic rudiments. Audition repertoire may include, but is not limited to band music, etudes, and solo repertoire. Instruments available for use in percussion auditions are bells, timpani, triangle, bass drum, and suspended cymbal; applicants wishing to perform an audition any other instrument will need to bring one to the audition.

All Applicants:

All applicants should bring 2 photocopies of their prepared solo pieces for use by the audition committee.

Symphonic Youth Orchestra

The Symphonic Youth Orchestra (SYO) is open to string, woodwind, brass, and percussion players in the 9th grade and above. The SYO performs the full symphonic repertoire, and provides advanced orchestral experience for young musicians. Students must also be taking private lessons as well.

All students will perform:

  1. Four (4) scales to be performed FROM MEMORY; one major and one minor scale each from both List A and List B. Students should perform scales as many octaves as possible.
    • List A: G/D/A/E/F/B-flat/E-flat/A-flat majors; B/C/C-sharp/D/E/F/F-sharp/G minors
    • List B: B/C-sharp/D-flat/F-sharp/G-flat majors; A-flat/A-sharp/B-flat/D-sharp/E-flat/G-sharp minors
  2. Two short contrasting solo pieces or excerpts that demonstrate the student’s highest level of skill. Selections should be no more than 2-3 minutes long. Students are advised to consult their private teachers for help choosing appropriate repertoire. *If possible please bring 2 photocopies of each piece for the audition committee to read from.*
  3. A short sight-reading selection which will be provided at the audition. Students entering the SYO must be able to proficiently sight-read music.

NB: It is suggested that students begin preparing for their audition AT LEAST 6 weeks in advance; do not wait until the week before to begin practicing!!! Private instruction is very strongly recommended.

NJSYO Chamber Ensemble

The NJSYO Chamber Ensemble gives advanced string instrument students the unique experience of playing in a small group with more individual responsibility. Students learn to play together using cues and focused listening.

Participants must be age 13 and above and must be taking weekly private lessons. Must be able to commit absolutely to weekly rehearsals (Saturdays).

Must demonstrate performing the 1st movement of Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony (1st violin part for all violins, your instrument part for all others).

In addition:
Two pieces. Must be at the same difficulty levels as the pieces listed below or harder.

Violins
Vivaldi Concerto in A minor
Bach Double Concerto
Corelli La Folia
LeClair Sonata No. 3
Kreisler Preludium and Allegro
Lalo Symphonie Espanol
Viola
Seitz Concerto No.2 and 5
J.C. Bach Concerto in C minor
J.S. Bach Suite no.1 Prelude
Bartok Romanian Folk Dances
Eccles Sonata
Teleman Concerto in G major
Cello
Bach Suite no.1 Prelude
Faure Elegy
Breval Sonata
Vivaldi Sonata in E minor
Saint-Seans Allegro Apassionato
Brahms Sonata in E minor
Elgar Concerto in E minor (1st movement)
Bass
any two pieces

*All selections are expected to be performed with appropriate (and steady) tempo, articulations, dynamics, and vibrato, with good intonation and tone, strong rhythm, and musical maturity.

NJSYO Wind Ensemble

The NJSYO Wind Ensemble gives advanced Brass and Woodwinds students the unique experience of playing in small groups with more individual responsibility. Students learn to play together using cues and focused listening.
Participants must be age 13 and above and be taking weekly private lessons. Must be able to commit absolutely to weekly rehearsals (Sundays).
Major Scales- 2 scales of choice from 1-4 sharps/flats. (C, G, D, A, E/ F, Bb, Eb, Ab)
Minor Scales- 1 minor melodic scale of choice from the list (A, G, Bb, E, F)
Solos- Two solo pieces of contrasting styles (1 Lyrical, 1 Technical)
Sight Reading

*All selections are expected to be performed with appropriate (and steady) tempo, articulations, and dynamics, with good intonation and tone, strong rhythm, and musical maturity.