Joining an Orchestra

WHO CAN JOIN SYDNEY YOUTH ORCHESTRAS
SYO is open to any amateur musician between the ages of 6-24 years of age who regularly studies with a professional instrumental teacher.


THE SYO ANNUAL TRAINING PROGRAM

Through a weekly training program Sydney Youth Orchestras aims to nurture talented young musicians to reach their full potential. Pairing the most talent young musicians from across Sydney and NSW with leading educators, conductors and musicians is a fundamental component of the SYO Orchestral Training Framework. More information about the SYO Orchestral Training Framework.


COMMITMENT 

With limited and highly sought-after places each year, it is a significant achievement to be offered a position with SYO. Successful applicants must commit to their orchestra for the whole year, with weekly training running to the NSW Public School terms calendar, with the exception of The Sydney Youth Orchestra whose rehearsals are scheduled to complement the tertiary calendar. Musicians are occasionally required to participate in extra rehearsals or workshops outside scheduled rehearsal times. More information about the rehearsal schedule.


REGIONAL NSW STUDENTS 

SYO is pleased to welcome young musicians who would like to be part of our program and are based in Regional NSW. A tailored rehearsal schedule including a flexible attendance plan and adjusted contribution payments is available for successful applicants who live at a distance which hinders ability to attend each week (i.e. over 3 hours away). Please contact SYO to discuss this further and to apply to audition via video.


AUDITIONS

Every year from July to September all musicians are required to audition. Auditions involves playing a short piece of your own choice, a set number of orchestral selected for your instrument and preferred ensemble, as well technical work (scales, arpeggios, etc.) and sight-reading.

Like all state-based youth orchestras in Australia, we audition all players each year on a competitive basis. Competitive auditions are the accepted method of equitably assessing an orchestra’s members and ensuring that players of similar ability are placed together.

There are two main reasons that we audition each year:

  • Individual players progress at different rates. Placements are based on playing ability in the context of all auditionees, not on membership length. Each year there will be some players from an orchestra who are ready to face the challenges of another ensemble and there are those who will benefit more from continuing with their current group.
  • There are new members auditioning for Sydney Youth Orchestras each year. By hearing all players, new and existing, auditioning for an orchestra, we can be sure that our standards are high, and that placement is fair and appropriate for everyone. This provides balance within each ensemble and maximum benefit for its members. More information about auditions and Frequently Asked Questions.

STUDENT FEES

Fees comprise only 35% of the full cost of the SYO Annual Training Program. The balance is funded through the generous support we receive from Government, donors, and our corporate sponsors. For those young musicians who are invited to take a place in one of our orchestras, their cost of participation is less than $10 per hour. All fees are non-refundable.   View more information about fees and payments.


SCHOLARSHIPS 

SYO, with the very generous support of the SYO Foundation and many private donors,  provides a number of full or partial scholarships. There are two categories of Scholarships available:

Opportunity Scholarships – Support financially disadvantaged young people

Principal Chair Scholarship  – When sponsored are offered to the Principal Chairs of the Symphonic Orchestral Program and based on merit.

To apply for an Opportunity Scholarship please tick the box on the audition application form. If you would like to support financially disadvantaged young people through Opportunity Scholarships or sponsor a Principal Chair Scholarship more information can be found here or please contact us.


FIND AN ORCHESTRA:

SYMPHONIC ORCHESTRAL PROGRAM THE SYDNEY YOUTH ORCHESTRA  


Strings, Woodwind, Brass & Percussion: musicians aged up to 25 years, suggested level AMEB Grade 8 minimum or equivalent.

SYO PHILHARMONIC    


Strings, Woodwind, Brass & Percussion, aged 12+, AMEB Grade 7 minimum or equivalent.

TANGO OZ  


Strings, Piano, Bandoneon, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, aged 15+, AMEB Grade 7 minimum or equivalent.

SYMPHONIC WIND ORCHESTRA  


Woodwind, Brass & Percussion, aged 12+, AMEB Grade 5 minimum or equivalent.

PETER SEYMOUR ORCHESTRA  


Strings, Woodwind & French Horn, aged 12+, AMEB Grade 6 minimum or equivalent.

 

WESTERN SYDNEY YOUTH ORCHESTRA

Strings, Woodwind, Brass & Percussion, aged 12+, AMEB Grade 5 minimum or equivalent.

 

 

STAGE 1

Expected base-level knowledge: first position playing in keys of up to 2 sharps and 1 flat. AMEB 1 – 3 or equivalent.

SYO STRINGS

PROGRAM

STAGE 2

Expected base-level knowledge: first to third position playing in keys of up to 3 sharps and 2 flats. AMEB 2 – 4 or equivalent.

STAGE 3

Expected base-level knowledge: first to fifth position in major and minor keys of 3 flats to 4 sharps. AMEB 4 – 6 or equivalent.

STAGE 4

Expected base-level knowledge: a very high standard in first to fifth positions. AMEB 5 – 7 or equivalent.