Audition FAQ

When can I apply for an audition? When are video-recorded auditions due?

This year, WYSO will only accept video-recorded auditions. 2021-2022 audition registrations will begin April 1. Video-recorded auditions can be submitted beginning June 1, 2021. The deadline is 11:59 PM on June 7, 2021.

Note: If your internet connection is slow, you can also submit your video by mailing us a DVD or flash drive postmarked June 7 to:

WYSO      |      Attn: Audition Video      |      PO Box 258039      |      Madison, WI 53725

If you have difficulty uploading or mailing a video, please email for assistance.

I am a current WYSO member who wishes to remain in my current orchestra. Can I do this?

YES! For all current members, you may choose to remain in your current orchestra or you may audition. If you audition and are not placed in the next orchestra, you will receive an offer to remain in your current orchestra. If you choose not to audition, you will need to submit a seat reservation form by May 31, 2021.

There is a $50 fee to reserve your current seat, with a 3% transaction fee added for credit cards. This $50 fee will be applied to your next season’s tuition.

Note: If you decide to audition, it is not necessary to also submit a seat reservation.

What is the fee to audition?

There is a $35 fee for each audition, with a 3% transaction fee added for credit cards.

How do I decide which orchestra to audition for?

Visit our Eligibility and Proficiency page for more details regarding the level of playing expected for each orchestra. String proficiencies are listed that can be reviewed with your private lesson teacher or school music teacher. Students should only audition for one orchestra per instrument. WYSO encourages students (and parents) to have realistic expectations and to apply for an audition at the level most appropriate for their musical development. Consulting with a private teacher or school music teacher is recommended.  WYSO is designed to be a sequential orchestral program, however it is quite common for students to spend more than one season in the same orchestra. Members are placed where they are most likely to succeed and best contribute to the ensemble.

Is it possible to skip orchestras?

While WYSO is usually thought of as a sequential orchestra program, yes, it is possible to skip or bypass an orchestra. Audition for the orchestra for which you feel most suited. Conductors will place you where they feel you would both benefit and contribute the most. Unlike previous years, there is no need to schedule auditions for each orchestra or perform a preliminary audition. Please remember that bypassing an orchestra is rare and remaining in the same orchestra for more than one year is a very common occurrence.

Note: Current Sinfonietta members are not eligible for Youth Orchestra and current Opus One members are not eligible for Philharmonia and Youth Orchestras.

Can I audition on two different instruments?

Yes. After submitting and paying for the first application, you may go back to the audition page and complete another form. You may complete as many secondary instrument applications as you wish. There is a $35 fee for each audition, with a 3% transaction fee added for credit cards. You should only apply to one orchestra per instrument.

Where can I find audition instructions?

The PDF at the link below provides important audition dates, instructions for recording a video, instructions for submitting a video, and tips and tricks for recording and uploading your video.

2021-2022 Video-Recorded Audition Instructions

What should I play for my audition?

You will be asked to play, in this order, three scales from the required list, a solo of your choosing (2 min.), and the excerpts for your instrument and orchestra level. Sight-reading will also be required for strings auditioning for Opus One, Sinfonietta, or Concert Orchestra. Audition preparation information may be found at the bottom of this page.

When will excerpts be made available?

Audition excerpts for the 2021-2022 season will be posted here on April 15, 2021 by 3:00pm. Excerpts are password protected. 

Where do I get the sight-reading music?

Sight-reading music will be mailed to you in a special sealed envelope that must be opened IN FRONT of the camera ONLY during the making of your video. Auditions must be recorded without interruption, no ‘takes’ or edits allowed. Only Opus One, Sinfonietta, and Concert strings will have to complete sight-reading.

Sight-reading music will be mailed after Tuesday, May 4 to Opus One, Sinfonietta, and Concert strings only. Do not record the audition video you want to submit until you have your sight-reading material.

What can I use to record the video and who can record it?

You may use any device that creates a digital video. Smart phones and tablets have good sound recording capabilities. The video may be recorded by anyone that is comfortable with a recording device.

Watch this WYSO Recorded Audition Tips Video 

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move and perform. Dressing up is nice and standard practice for auditioning, but don’t feel obligated to purchase new clothing.

On what criteria will the audition be judged?

Each student will be judged on tone quality, rhythm, intonation, technique/fundamentals, interpretation, and overall performance.

How and when will orchestra placements be made?

Most auditions will be heard directly by WYSO artistic staff, and each is familiar with the different orchestra levels and their required skills and demands. As such, it is the WYSO artistic staff who make the orchestra placements.

Decisions regarding orchestra placement will be emailed by July 2, 2021. Please do not contact WYSO inquiring about orchestra placement before then. If you do not hear from WYSO by July 12, email

Will WYSO hold violin sectional auditions after placements are made?

No. WYSO will not hold sectional auditions.

Support WYSO

Click to make a secure online donation.

Shop AmazonSmile

Support WYSO programs when you shop AmazonSmile!

Stay In Touch

Sign up to receive our newsletter and/or emails on concerts and special events.