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Join ESYO

Auditioned Performing Ensembles

The Audition Process

ESYO auditions are held each year for young musicians, like you, who are looking to unleash their creativity and ignite their passion for music. When auditioning for ESYO, you audition by instrument, not a specific ensemble. 

  • Current and prospective members audition each season.
  • Auditions are open for youth of all ages through high school.
  • Auditions continue in August and September to fill vacancies.

What is an ESYO audition?

An ESYO audition is not a competition, it’s a process that helps ESYO conductors place you in an ensemble that challenges you musically and nourishes your growth.  An independent panel of judges evaluates your performance based on a few specific criteria. Click here to learn more about Embodied Musicianship!

Most ESYO auditions take place online. This allows you the opportunity to prepare and record your audition at home with a smartphone or computer. Auditions for ESYO Concert Chorale and percussion ensembles take place in person.

Audition requirements may vary by instrument and program.  Whether you are a classical or jazz musician, a percussionist, or vocalist, the stage is set for you!


Use embodied musicianship!

Breathe with the music and allow your body movements to reflect your playing freely and expressively. Not all instruments are the same- take a look at our video for some examples!


Audition Video Requirements

Do you have questions about how to audition online?  Relax and don’t stress. Here is a complete guide to successfully completing an online ESYO audition.

ESYO Audition Video Submission Guidelines

  • Record one (1) separate UNEDITED video for each solo piece, record one (1) separate video for each excerpt, and one (1) for your scale.
  • Each solo video should be no longer than 3 minutes. You may pick the best minutes of your solo(s). 
  • Upload your video files using the following common digital formats. Video: WMV, MTS, OGG, MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files- (h264 and mpeg4 video codecs; AAC audio codec) AVI (MJPEG video codec; PCM audio) FLV (Adobe- FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio) WebM files (Vp8 video codec; Vorbis Audio codec) MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec; MP2 audio) 
  • Your camera should record from a fixed position. Face toward the camera. The judges must be able to see your face, whole instrument, fingerings, bow, and embouchure. Do not block the view with your music stand. Strings need to be seen either from the side (violin/viola) or at least 45% angle (cello/bass) from the right side of the instrument so the panel can see playing positions clearly. Winds and brass should be seen straight on and the whole instrument showing embouchure and fingers. French horns might need to be video-taped from the right side so the judges can see if the right hand placement is correct. 
  • Verbally introduce each piece in the video before you begin playing (example: “I’m going to play the Concertino Strings Excerpt”). Remember to speak clearly.
  • Use Embodied Musicianship! (See video above)

Please consider:

  • Record your videos using any tool available to you (phones are fine) in any venue available to you (your home is fine).
  • Other than stopping and starting the camera between segments, no editing of the audio or video is permitted. Applicants whose videos show evidence of any cuts, splicing, manipulation of pitch, or other alteration within a performance segment will be subject to disqualification. Please note the selection of a complete, unedited performance segment from multiple takes is permissible.
  • File sizes up to 5 GB are accepted. A format and resolution that is consistent with high-quality internet video is preferred but not required. No accompanists.

Percussion Auditions

Percussionists are submitting only their audition application due June 3 at this time. No videos are required. Percussion auditions will be in-person on June 10-11. See audition requirements and excerpts. Audition time and location will be sent to you after the June 3 application deadline.

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

Before You Record Your Audition
  • 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 and record “mock” auditions.
  • Familiarize yourself with the audition video submission guidelines.
  • Be sure you know how and where to upload your audition videos.
The Night Before You Record
  • Practice, but not too much. 
  • Schedule smaller practice sessions during the day. Run through your excerpts or scales.
  • Don't stay up late and get a good night's sleep.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast.
When You're Ready to Record
  • Treat an online audition, like you are auditioning in front of a panel.
  • Do not wait until the last minute to record your audition video submissions.
  • Schedule a specific time to record your audition video submissions.
  • Set up your camera and music stand, you do not need to memorize your solo piece.
  • Remember that your audition begins the moment you press record, 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 camera.
  • 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.