The Audition Process

Current and prospective members audition each season before a panel of independent judges and ESYO Conductors in order to determine the best placement based on demonstrated technique, skill and aptitude.

  • Auditions take place in June with additional opportunities in August and September to fill any vacancies
  • All musicians, including current members, must audition each season
  • Audition opportunities for youth of all ages through high school
  • Do not let economic hardship be a barrier: financial aid and scholarships are available

Audition Opportunities

Auditions are scheduled by instrument rather than by ensemble. Hover over the icon to find your instrument and the corresponding audition opportunity.

Classical

Classical

Violin
Viola
Cello
Bass
Flute/Piccolo
Clarinet
Saxophone (alto, tenor, bari-)*
Oboe/English horn
Bassoon
French Horn
Trumpet
Trombone
Euphonium*
Tuba
Harp
Piano

* Wind Orchestra Only

  • Classical

    Violin
    Viola
    Cello
    Bass
    Flute/Piccolo
    Clarinet
    Saxophone (alto, tenor, bari-)*
    Oboe/English horn
    Bassoon
    French Horn
    Trumpet
    Trombone
    Euphonium*
    Tuba
    Harp
    Piano

    * Wind Orchestra Only

Jazz

Jazz

Saxophone (alto, tenor, bari-)
Trumpet
Trombone
Drumset
Bass (acoustic preferred; electric accepted)
Guitar
Piano
  • Jazz

    Saxophone (alto, tenor, bari-)
    Trumpet
    Trombone
    Drumset
    Bass (acoustic preferred; electric accepted)
    Guitar
    Piano

Percussion

Percussion

Should be able to play all of the following:
Snare drum
Cymbals
Xylophone
Tambourine
Bells
Triangle
Bass Drum
Timpani (after consultation with conductor)
  • Percussion

    Should be able to play all of the following:
    Snare drum
    Cymbals
    Xylophone
    Tambourine
    Bells
    Triangle
    Bass Drum
    Timpani (after consultation with conductor)

Melodies Chorale

Melodies of Christmas Chorale

The Melodies of Christmas Chorale is formed annually through competitive auditions in the summer to perform with the ESYO Symphony Orchestra at the annual Melodies of Christmas concerts at Proctors in Schenectady. 

  • Melodies of Christmas Chorale

    The Melodies of Christmas Chorale is formed annually through competitive auditions in the summer to perform with the ESYO Symphony Orchestra at the annual Melodies of Christmas concerts at Proctors in Schenectady. 

2019/2020 Audition Applications

  • The deadline for 2019/2020 Audition Applications has passed. 
  • Please check back in the fall for audition opportunities to fill any vacancies. 
  • Results from June auditions will be emailed to applicants no later than the end of June.
  • For additional assistance or inquiries, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Audition Expectations & Requirements 

In preparation for an audition, you should familiarize yourself with the expectations and requirements of each performing group. Although auditions are scheduled by instrument not by ensemble, in order to be considered for an intermediate or advanced group, you must be prepared to meet the audition expectations and requirements described below.

CLASSICAL ORCHESTRAS
Symphony Orchestra
  • All instruments:
    • Solo:
      • Should be from the standard repertoire
      • Should be equivalent to NYSSMA Level VI
      • Should demonstrate both slow, lyrical playing and faster, more technical playing.  You may play one work with contrasting passages/movements or two separate pieces.
      • Does not have to be listed in the NYSSMA Manual
      • Does not have to be memorized
      • Be prepared to play any section of your solo as requested by the judge (e.g., learn the entire solo)
  • Orchestral excerpt– should prepare ALL excerpts even though you may not be asked to play all of them during your audition. 

  • Sight-reading – Applicants will be given a brief musical example to sight-read.  The specifics of the sight-reading will be determined and explained by the adjudicator.
  • Specific Instruments:
    • Violins – be comfortable playing in 1st through 7th positions
    • Violas – be comfortable playing in 1st through 7th positions
    • Cellos & Basses – be comfortable playing in 1st through 7th positions and thumb position; should be able to play in three clefs (working knowledge of treble clef); should be able to sight-read in tenor clef and 1st through 5th positions
    • Clarinets – be able to transpose clarinet in A
    • Horns – be able to transpose; be familiar with bass clef
    • Trumpets – be able to transpose
    • Trombones – be able to play both tenor and alto clef
    • Piano – this position will be for September 2019 through December 2019. Participation in June 2020 Summer Tour will be optional.
    • Harp – this position will be for September 2019 through December 2019.
Repertory Orchestra
  • All instruments:
    • Solo:
      • Should be from the standard repertoire
      • Should be equivalent to NYSSMA Level V or VI
      • Should demonstrate both slow, lyrical playing and faster, more technical playing.  You may play one work with contrasting passages/movements or two separate pieces.
      • Does not have to be listed in the NYSSMA Manual
      • Does not have to be memorized
      • Be prepared to play any section of your solo as requested by the judge (e.g., learn the entire solo)
  • Orchestral excerpts – should prepare ALL excerpts even though you may not be asked to play all of them during your audition. 

  • Sight-reading – Applicants will be given a brief musical example to sight-read.  The specifics of the sight-reading will be determined and explained by the adjudicator.
  • Specific Instruments:
    • Violins – be comfortable playing in 1st through 5th positions
    • Violas – be comfortable playing in 1st through 5th positions
    • Cellos – be comfortable playing in 1st through 7th positions; should understand and be beginning to work in thumb position; should have strong knowledge of tenor clef and beginning knowledge of treble clef
    • Basses – be comfortable playing in 1st through 6th positions; be comfortable playing in tenor clef; should have beginning knowledge of thumb position and treble clef (but not required for solos)
    • Clarinets – be able to transpose clarinet in A
    • Horns – have working knowledge of transpositions; be familiar with bass clef
    • Trumpets – working knowledge of transpositions
    • Trombones – be comfortable reading tenor and have a working knowledge of alto clef
Wind Orchestra
  • All instruments:
    • Solo:
      • Should be equivalent to NYSSMA Level IV
      • Should demonstrate your current level of accomplishment
      • Should demonstrate both slow, lyrical playing and faster, more technical playing.  You may play one work with contrasting passages/movements or two separate pieces.
      • Does not have to be listed in the NYSSMA Manual
      • Does not have to be memorized
      • Be prepared to play any section of your solo as requested by the judge (e.g., learn the entire solo)
  • Orchestral excerpts – should prepare AS MANY as you can. 

  • Sight-reading – Applicants will be given a brief musical example to sight-read.  The specifics of the sight-reading will be determined and explained by the adjudicator.
  • Specific Instruments
    • Flutes/piccolos must play at NYSSMA Level V or above
String Orchestra
  • NO Excerpts are required.

  • Solo
    1. Prepare one or two pieces that best demonstrate your current level of playing. Be prepared to demonstrate some use of vibrato.

      Violins – solo should be equivalent to NYSSMA Level IV or Suzuki Book 4; should be able to demonstrate shifting through 3rd position.
      Violas – solo should be equivalent to Suzuki Book 3; should be able to demonstrate shifting through 3rd position. 
      Cellos & Basses – solo should be equivalent to Suzuki Book 3; should be able to demonstrate shifting through 4th position.

    2. Should be able to demonstrate bow control, accuracy of tune and ability to make tune corrections as necessary.
    3. Be prepared to play any section of your solo(s) as requested by the judges.
    4. Solos do not have to be memorized.
    5. Bring your music to the audition as well as a second copy for the judges. A photocopy is fine.

  • ScalesStudents must play 3 scales. One scale must be two octave (except for bass). Only one scale can start on an open string.

  • Sight ReadingYou may be asked to sight read a short piece.
Concertino Strings
  • NO Excerpts are required. 

  • Solo
    1. Prepare one or two pieces NYSSMA level 2 or 3 or the equivalent that best demonstrate your current level of playing. 
    2.  Should be able to demonstrate bow control, accuracy of tune and ability to make tune corrections as necessary.
    3. Be prepared to play any section of your solo(s) as requested by the judges.
    4. Solos do not have to be memorized.
    5. Bring your music to the audition as well as a second copy for the judges. A photocopy is fine.

  • ScalesStudents must play 3 scales.  One scale must be two octave (except for bass).  Only one scale can start on an open string. 

  • Sight ReadingYou may be asked to sight read a short piece.

JAZZ ORCHESTRAS
Youth Jazz Orchestra | Repertory Jazz Orchestra
  • Repertory Jazz Orchestra: Reserved for developing jazz students with a focus on performance literature equivalent to NYSSMA levels III – V
  • Youth Jazz Orchestra: Reserved for advanced, more experienced students with a focus on performance literature equivalent to NYSSMA levels V and VI

  • All Instruments
    • Recorded accompaniment is optional. 
    • A sound system will be provided for ANY applicant who may wish to use it for a "play-along" solo.
    • Improvisation is optional. Students who choose to improvise should use a recorded accompaniment for their improvising portion of the audition.
      • Click here to access accompaniment options.
      • Students are welcome to use another song of their choice.

  • Specific Instruments
    • Saxophones/Trumpets/Trombones
      • Prepared jazz solo and/or transcription equivalent to NYSSMA Level III or above
        • Possible sources for solos: Charlie Parker Omnibook, Jim Snidero series; Greg Fishman études; Bob Mintzer études.
      • Improvisation not required but the ability to improvise may increase the chance of acceptance
    • Drumset
      • Prepared jazz solo and/or transcription equivalent to NYSMMA Level III or above
        • Possible sources for solos: The Art of Bop Drumming by John Riley or Jazz Drumset Solos by Rich Thompson
      • Demonstrate proficiency in various styles including rock/funk, swing, Latin (salsa/Cuban, samba, bossa nova), waltz, and ballad (with brushes) at various tempos.
      • Trade 4’s – Play four measures of time followed by four measures of a solo in a style and tempo selected by the adjudicator
      • Provided at the audition: Drumset; please bring your own sticks/brushes and cymbals
    • Piano / Guitar/ Bass
      • Prepared jazz solo equivalent to NYSSMA Level III or above that demonstrates ability to comp chord changes and interpret a melodic line (swing, Latin, ballad, fund, etc.)
      • Improvisation not required but the ability to improvise may increase the chance of acceptance
      • Provided at the audition:
        • Guitar Amp (only); please bring your instrument and needed cable(s)
        • Acoustic piano
    • Bass Guitar – Acoustic bass preferred but electric bass may audition
      • Prepared jazz solo equivalent to NYSSMA Level III or above that demonstrates ability to V or above that demonstrates ability to walk a standard swing written bass line or a bass line from chord changes
      • Ability to demonstrate other styles (Latin, ballad, funk, etc.)
      • Improvisation not required but the ability to improvise may increase the chance of acceptance
      • Provided at the audition:
        • Bass amp (only); please bring your instrument and needed cable(s)

While in-person auditions are highly encouraged, if you are unable to attend a live audition for consideration into an ESYO Jazz ensemble, you have the option to audition via video. You must fill out a jazz audition application even if considering a digital audition.

To submit your video, please review the following Digital Audition requirements: 
  • Prepare a Level 3 - 6 jazz solo; improvisation optional.
  • Performer must be visible in the video.
  • Sound and video quality must be very good.
  • Please send submissions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Deadline: Video audition uploads must be accepted no later than June 7, 2019. 

PERCUSSION 
Percussion Ensembles

The audition process for percussionists differs from those for classical and jazz as it includes two rounds of auditions being held on consecutive days. Excerpts will be sent to the applicant for preparation for the preliminary and final rounds of auditions; only applicants who are invited to the final round of auditions will be asked to sight-read. No prepared solo is required.

Applicants are asked to contact Richard Albagli at (518) 272-7828 after they have submitted their online application and paid the audition fee to ESYO. Mr. Albagli will cover the audition process in detail, will make arrangements for a coaching session for percussionists new to ESYO, and will arrange to send you the required excerpts.

Although you are NOT auditioning for a specific ensemble, the following parameters will give you an idea of the skill level expected of musicians on specific instruments:

  • Youth Percussion Ensemble / Symphony Orchestra
    • Expected to be able to play all excerpts for all percussion instruments (except timpani)
  • Repertory Percussion Ensemble and Chamber Percussion Ensemble
    • Should prepare as much of the excerpts as able at your current skill level.
  • For all percussion instruments EXCEPT timpani: snare drum, xylophone, bells, bass drum, cymbals, tambourine and triangle (see below if interested in auditioning on timpani)
    • Prepared percussion music excerpts
      • Excerpts will be sent to you after you have submitted the online application and paid the audition fee, and called Richard Albagli at (518)272-7828.
      • Recommended that you review excerpts with your private teacher; and/or schedule a pre-audition coaching session (for new members) with Mr. Albagli
    • Instruments provided at the audition: All percussion instruments and specialty mallets are provided; applicants should bring their own sticks and may, if they wish, bring smaller instruments e.g., snare drum, triangle, cymbals, tambourine)
  • Timpani
    • Must demonstrate some knowledge of how to play the instrument to Mr. Albagli before being invited to audition. 

CHORALE
Melodies of Christmas Chorale
  • Must be in grades 10, 11 or 12 in September 2019.
  • Prepare all the excerpts. The audition will include a NYSSMA level 5 sight reading selection.
  • Must be able to attend all performances (December 19-22, 2019)
  • Must be able to attend Tuesday evening rehearsals beginning in October. 
  • Teacher evaluation required by May 29, 2019. The link can be found here: http://bit.ly/2WYWxDF  

Audition Preparation

Do the best you can, but don't worry! Here are tips to help you prepare for your ESYO audition. 

Before You Arrive
  • Work with your private instructor to prepare audition materials that match the expectations and requirements of the level you hope to join.
  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Perform “mock” auditions for your family and friends.
  • Be sure you know where and when your audition is scheduled to take place so that you can arrive in plenty of time to check in and warm up.
Audition Day
  • Bring two copies of your music, one for the judges and one for you. Please be sure to have two copies, even if you are able to perform your music from memory; the copy does not need to be an original.
  • Plan to arrive about 30 minutes before your scheduled audition time.
  • Bring a music stand to use in the warm-up room.
  • Remember that your audition begins the moment you enter the audition room, not just when you begin performing your audition repertoire. Dress appropriately to indicate your seriousness of purpose and to show respect for the judge, music, and process, speak confidently and respectfully, smile and make eye contact with the adjudicators.
  • Don’t worry about minor mistakes during the audition. The adjudicators are not expecting a perfect performance; they are mainly interested in your future potential.