FAQ

Frequently asked questions:

Where are auditions held?

Auditions are typically held at Brown School in Schenectady.  Due to the risks associated with the spread of COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, auditions for the 2020-2021 season will be held online.  Auditions will be managed online using Acceptd, an online application and audition platform.

Current and prospective members must apply for a virtual audition online and submit audition videos and materials online through Acceptd, an online application and audition platform.

  • Live percussion auditions will take place at a later date. Percussionists should apply for an audition online before Friday, June 12, 2020.
When are auditions held?

Current members and prospective members can apply for a virtual audition starting Friday, May 1, 2020.  Audition videos can be submitted through Friday, June 12, 2020.  Summer auditions will run from August through September. Summer auditions are held to fill vacancies.

  • Live percussion auditions will be held at a later date. Percussionists should apply for an audition before Friday, June 12, 2020.
  • Melodies of Christmas Chorale auditions have been postponed and will be held in September.
When is the audition application available, and where?

Current and prospective students can apply for an audition online starting Friday, May 1, 2020 through Friday, June 12, 2020.

Is there an application fee?

Yes! A $50 audition fee is assessed through the Audition application process.  Audition fee waivers are available for those who qualify.  Contact Acceptd to apply for a fee waiver or speak with Lisa Stulmaker, Director of Finance.

What are the audition requirements for specific ensembles?

Current and prospective members audition by instrument and not by an ensemble.   After the audition process is complete, an independent team of adjudicators and conductors will place each member in an ensemble that will best nourish and support the member's personal and musical growth.

Experienced and advanced classical musicians are expected to prepare a series of orchestral excerpts.  Click here for more details 

When will I find out if I have been accepted?

Results are emailed to applicants by the end of June/early July.

Can I specify which ensemble or orchestra I would like to join when I sign up to audition?

Because of ESYO’s progressive program, you don’t specify on your application for which group you are auditioning. Instead, you choose an instrument by genre, e.g., trumpet – classical, or alto saxophone – jazz.  

Placement in a particular group within those categories is based upon your audition results.  If you choose to audition on two instruments, you must submit two applications.

Can I request a specific audition day/time?

Typically, applicants choose an audition slot online during the audition application process.   However, with a virtual audition, you can submit your audition video materials online starting Friday, May 1, 2020.  All audition video submissions are due Friday, June 12, 2020. 

Where can I find information about tuition rates and financial aid?

2020-2021 Tuition Rates can be found here and information on financial aid can be found here.

Do I need to memorize the solo or excerpts?

No.  You should bring two copies of the music with you (one for you and a clean copy for the judge); you may use the music during your audition.

IMPORTANT 2020-2021 UPDATE | You do not need to submit additional music when auditioning online.

How do I find the online orchestral excerpts?

Excerpts can be found here. Your audition confirmation email will also include information about how to find the online orchestral excerpts.

Which orchestral excerpts do I prepare?

To be considered for the more advanced groups, you need to prepare all the excerpts which can be found here.

What should I wear for my audition?

First impressions are important.  You do not have to wear a suit or fancy dress – we want you to be comfortable, but looking neat, clean, and put together is important.

How long is the audition?

Usually about 10 minutes.  You may be asked to only play certain portions of your prepared solo ( be sure to learn the whole solo!)  and/or the excerpts and/or the sight-reading, and the judges may stop at any time during the audition and ask you to play a different section or nothing more. This is quite common and is not an indication of how you are doing.

What time should I get to the audition?

Plan to arrive about 30 minutes before your scheduled audition time.  Give yourself extra time if you are not familiar with the area.

When submitting audition materials online, do not wait until the last minute. Be prepared and submit your audition video's 48 hours before the deadline. 

What should I bring to the audition?

Instrument and related supplies (strings, reeds, valve oil, etc.); music – 2 copies; music stand.  NOTE for Jazz:  we will provide amps; keyboard/piano; drumset (but not sticks).  NOTE for Percussion:  we provide most instruments.

Online audition: Instrument and related supplies, a webcam or smartphone with a camera and built-in microphone, and music stand.  You do NOT need to submit an additional copy of your music.

Do I have to bring an original of the music for the judges?

No, copies are fine – one for you and one clean copy for the judges.

What will the judges be listening for?

Judges will be listening for tonality, intonation, rhythm and expression.

Do I have to have a private teacher?

If accepted into an ESYO ensemble, you are strongly encouraged to take private lessons so that you can keep up with the music.

Do I have to belong to a school orchestra or band while a member of ESYO?

If accepted into an ESYO ensemble, you are strongly encouraged to participate in your school music groups to the extent your schedule permits.  Mandatory school music activities do take precedence over ESYO rehearsals and concerts, so you will not be penalized if you have to miss an ESYO event because of a mandatory required activity.

This is something that you would discuss at the beginning of the season with your ESYO ensemble manager.


If you have other questions, please email Sue Lascoe, Director of Operations at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.