Video Auditions FAQS

In the interest of social distancing and keeping everyone safe and healthy, SYO will be holding video auditions for our 2021 program. We know that auditioning in general is always stressful and video auditions may feel like completely uncharted territory.

However, auditioning virtually doesn’t have to be scary and we’ve put together some helpful tips to help you prepare. And an added bonus: this advice will also be great to keep in mind if decide to apply for many programs worldwide that require a video audition!











Does everyone have to do a video audition?
All candidates for SYO 2021 except percussionists will record a video audition. Percussion auditions will be held in person to allow access to instruments (marimba, timpani etc.) Percussion audition dates & times will be sent via email on Wednesday September 30

I requested a late audition; will I still be able to have one?
Late auditions are reserved for musicians undertaking their HSC in 2020 or going through exceptional circumstances. If you are doing your HSC in 2020 and have requested a late audition date, you will have a later video submission date, which will be confirmed via email on Wednesday September 30.

Late audition requests for other reasons cannot be guaranteed, but will be assessed on a case by case basis. If you have requested a late audition, you will receive an email on Wednesday September 30 confirming whether or not you have been approved for a late submission date.

Will 2021 Auditions have sight-reading?
SYO Strings Program Stages 1-4 – New applicants will be required to attend a 5-minute sight reading audition. This will be held on Zoom. The time and date will be confirmed via email on Wednesday September 30.
SYO Symphonic Program (SWO, PSO, WSYO, SYOP, The SYO)– – There will be no sight-reading component

What is the deadline to submit?
Main round video auditions must be submitted no later than 5:00pm on Friday the 16th of October. On Monday the 9th of October, you will be sent a personalised link to submit your video. This will include a window where you can upload your video and a short form.

I do not have a device I can record my video audition on. What should I do?
SYO is committed to ensuring everyone can get the assistance they need to record a video audition. If you do not have a device you can record your audition on, please contact SYO Staff on [email protected] so we can assist you with your audition arrangements.


Which excerpts should I play?
SYO Strings Program – Please prepare all 4 excerpts for your chosen Stage
SYO Symphonic Program – Please read each excerpt’s instructions carefully and prepare all excerpts relevant to the ensemble you are auditioning for.

Which scales should I play?
SYO Strings Program (Stages 1 to 4) – Please prepare all scales contained on your audition excerpt document.
Scales Tip! As there are no tempo or bow markings, please select ones that showcase your current level.
SYO Symphonic Program (Strings) – Please prepare all 3 major scales from the list below. Prepare 3 octaves (where possible), with one scale played using spiccato and the others using 2 other bowings of your choice (3 bowing techniques in total).
Violins: G, A, Bb
Violas/Cellos: C, D, Eb
Basses: G, Ab, Bb
SYO Symphonic Program (Woodwind and Brass) – Choose 1 (one) major and 1 (one) harmonic minor scale up to 4 sharps or 4 flats. Please prepare 2 octaves (where possible) and play each scale twice: all slurred and all tongued.
SYO Symphonic Program (Harp and Percussion) – Scales are not required

Will I need to do Sight-Reading?
SYO Strings Program – New members will be required to join a 2-minute sight reading audition. This will be held over a few different days on Zoom and more details will be sent to candidates who need to undertake this portion of the audition.
SYO Symphonic Program – There will be no sight-reading component

How long should my own choice piece be?
Your own choice piece should be 2-3 minutes long. This does not have to be an entire piece and be a section of a piece to accommodate the time limit. Please be mindful that your entire audition cannot exceed 8 minutes.

Do I need an accompanist?

No – you can either record a solo work, or if your piece has a piano/accompaniment part, you can record it without it.



What you’ll need for a great video audition

  • Quiet space
  • Music stand/something to put your music on
  • Music you plan to record
  • Video recording device
  • Your instrument!

You can record yourself using a wide range of devices—video camera, laptop, or a webcam on your desktop computer. The simplest, though, is just use a smartphone. Many phones have excellent video and audio quality that are more than acceptable for your video audition. No need to get fancy—the panel aren’t expecting the highest professional quality video, just a decent recording of your playing.

Should I be sitting or standing?
This is up to you! However, we find that playing standing up better displays your posture and technique.

Where should I record?
An important part of recording a good audition video is preparing your recording space. Some things to keep in mind when picking a space to record:
– Try to pick the largest space available to you, like a living room or dining room.
– Choose a time when the space will be quiet for at least an hour. Since you’ll most likely be recording your video at home, so it’s a good idea to talk with your family ahead of time and pick a time when things will be relatively quiet.
– Consider making a sign to remind your family that you’re recording so that they don’t interrupt. This will help remind them that you’re doing important work!
– Make sure the room you record in is tidy and has minimal distractions. Cleaning up the space will help prepare you to perform well and will also give your audition panel a more professional impression.
– Ensure that the room is well-lit. You need to see your music and the panel need to see you! Turn on lamps (bring in extras from another room, if necessary). Avoid back-lighting (where a bright light source behind you turns you into a silhouette on camera) by placing bright lights/windows behind the camera, not behind you.

How should I set up my recording device?
Once you’ve settled on a time and place to record, you need to set up your recording device.

  • Make sure that your camera/phone is resting on a stable surface—you don’t want to ruin a great take with a falling camera! If you don’t have a phone tripod, don’t worry—most people don’t. Just get creative. You can use books, or pillows, or even another music stand to prop up your device and make sure you’re getting the right shot.
  • Try to place your recording device at least 2-3 metres away for better audio quality. If that’s not possible in your space, place it as far as away as you can.
  • Whether you are sitting or standing, your upper body should be included in the shot. This helps the panel assess your technique and posture. For the purposes of the audition, you want to make sure that the panel can see everything that you’re doing.

I am prepared and ready to record, what should I do next?
When recording, you’ll want to play through your audition music a few times within one take. Instead of starting and stopping the video every time, just keep recording and go through your audition repertoire two or three times.

Getting the right recording takes time, and you won’t get it on the first try.

When you feel like you’ve gotten enough takes, take a break before coming back to watch your videos. It’ll give your mind some time to reset and you’ll be able to listen for different things. When you find the audition run you like best, you can trim the video to include only that particular audition run to submit.

How long should my video audition be?
SYO Video Auditions have no limit on total time or file size but can only contain elements relevant to your audition (excerpts, scales, own choice piece). The only time limit applied is to your own choice piece, which is a maximum of 3 minutes.

How do I trim a video?
Trimming a video can help your audition look neater and more professional.

  • On Android Devices: Read how to here
  • On IOS Devices: Watch tutorial video here
  • On a Windows Computer: Read how to here
  • On a Mac Computer: Read how to here

What video formats are acceptable for the video audition?
Any video format is acceptable. These include: MP4, MPEG-4, MOV and WMV. If we have difficulty playing your file, we may contact you for a resubmission.


How do I submit my video audition?
On Monday the 9th of October you will be sent a personalised link to submit your video. This will include a window where you can upload your video and a short form to include some details we need to know. Do not leave this to the very last minute! Uploading a video can take several hours.

My video is taking too long to upload, what can I do?
Try uploading your video overnight or on times when there is less internet traffic. If you are still unable to upload your video, you can try compressing your file using services like:

Please let SYO know if you are experiencing technical difficulties and we are happy to assist.

How should I name my video file?
SYO deals with hundreds of auditions each year. To help us and to ensure we get your video audition to the correct panel, we request your video file be named according to this rule:


How can I change the name of my video file on my device?
We do not recommend uploading your video from your mobile device. The best way to upload your audition is using a desktop/laptop computer, where you can easily rename a file by right-clicking on it and selecting “rename”.

Useful links:
How to rename a file on Windows 10
How to rename a file on a Mac Computer

On Android: View a how to here
On IOS: Unfortunately, it is not possible to rename files directly on your device. Please download the video to a desktop/laptop computer and rename it there.

What is the deadline to submit?
Main round video auditions must be submitted no later than 5:00pm on Friday the 16th of October.

I missed the submission deadline, what should I do?
Please contact the SYO Team on [email protected] to discuss your individual case!


What happens to my video after it is submitted?
After your video is submitted it will be sent to our panel for assessment. Your video will not be shared with anyone else and will only be kept in our system as long as needed for assessment purposes.

When are offers sent out?
Offers will be sent out via e-mail on December 16. Make sure [email protected] is listed as a trusted contact and check your inbox/spam folder on that day!