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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about auditions in general or how to make your audition video? Explore the FAQs below, and please contact program assistant Katie Heilman at katie@gtcys.org or 651.602.6803 with any additional questions you may have. Thank you!

General FAQs

Any student age 8 to 18 who plays violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussion, or harp.

String players usually have two years’ playing experience before auditioning for GTCYS. Woodwind, brass, and percussion players typically have at least one year of playing experience before auditioning for GTCYS.

All students audition once each season regardless of previous GTCYS participation.

Please note that auditions are open for new auditions only through August 18. If you already auditioned for GTCYS during the regular audition period, you may not audition again. Thank you!

2021-22 Audition Timeline:

  • February 16: Audition registration opens. Register for an audition here.
  • May 3: Audition video submission opens. Once you register, you will receive a link to the submission form on this date.
  • June 6: Audition videos due.
  • Late June/early July: Audition results emailed out.
  • August 18: New audition videos due.

GTCYS’ main auditions take place each year in the spring. A mid-season audition in December is scheduled pending instrumentation needs.

GTCYS has ten school-year orchestras which range from beginning to pre-professional. While there are specific audition requirements for each orchestra, your audition is for entry into the program and judges will place you based on your ability.

As you prepare your audition, pick only ONE set of requirements based on your abilities and experience:

  • Philharmonia (beginning strings – no winds)
  • Sinfonia / Concertino (developing strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion)
  • Camerata / Concert Orchestra (advanced strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion)
  • Philharmonic / Symphony (most advanced strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion)

Audition requirements are grouped by orchestras based on ability and experience level. Please prepare only ONE set of audition requirements from the levels below. If you are between two levels, choose the set of requirements that best demonstrates your musicianship. The orchestra level you choose to audition for does not ensure placement in that orchestra; audition judges and conductors will make decisions based on the overall quality of your performance.

  • Philharmonia (beginning strings – no winds)
  • Sinfonia / Concertino (developing strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion)
  • Camerata / Concert Orchestra (advanced strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion)
  • Philharmonic / Symphony (most advanced strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion)

The regular audition period is currently closed for the 2021-22 season. Auditions for specific instrument openings will be posted soon and due by August 18. Please note that this is for new auditions only. If you already auditioned for GTCYS this spring, you may not audition again. Thank you!

A $40 audition fee (non-refundable and not applicable to tuition) is due with your registration. A reduced fee of $5 is available for low-income families and families who anticipate applying for tuition assistance. A $50 option is available if you are able and would like to support students receiving tuition assistance.

Please refer to your full instrument requirements here. An overview is below:

  • Scales
    • Prepare the required scales listed in your selected requirements – please follow the given tempos.
    • Music for scales is provided for Philharmonia and Sinfonia/Concertino levels.
    • Minor scales can be performed in any form (natural, harmonic, or melodic)
  • Solo
    • Prepare one piece of music that demonstrates your best abilities. Selections can include solos, studies, school music, or other pieces.
    • Your solo selection should not be more than 5 minutes in length. If your solo is longer than 5 minutes, please make appropriate cuts within the music.
  • Excerpts (All auditions include excerpts for 2021-22)
    • Excerpts are short sections of music taken from larger pieces.
    • Prepare all the excerpts included on your requirements page and follow all markings.

You will be placed in an appropriate orchestra based on your audition performance. Other factors such as instrumentation needs may be considered as well.

The orchestra level you choose to audition for does not ensure placement in that orchestra; audition judges and conductors will make decisions based on the overall quality of your performance.

While sound quality of submitted videos may vary due to differences in recording equipment, judges will listen for the overall quality of students’ performance and not the quality of recording.

GTCYS makes every effort to offer all students placement in one of our orchestras. There are limits on specific instruments in each orchestra (most often flute and clarinet) which would result in a waitlist for that instrument.

Previous participation in GTCYS does not guarantee placement and all placements are final.

Placement results for 2021-22 auditions will be emailed out by the end of June/early July.

Please do not inquire for results.

A $40 audition fee (non-refundable and not applicable to tuition) is due when you register for an audition. A reduced fee of $5 is available for low-income families and families who anticipate applying for tuition assistance. A $50 option is available if you are able and would like to support students receiving tuition assistance.

Tuition varies by orchestra and currently ranges from $725 – $1,055 for the full year, plus a $100 retreat fee. Tuition for the 2021-22 season will be announced in the spring.

Different payment plans are available and we also provide need-based tuition assistance to meet families’ needs. Click here for tuition assistance information.

GTCYS is highly committed to making our programs accessible for families, regardless of financial constraints. We provide more than $140,000 in tuition assistance and support for private lessons each year. Click here to learn more or call us at 651.602.6800.

Audition Video FAQs

Recordings can be made with basic equipment, including a smart phone, tablet, or laptop with a built-in microphone and video camera. High quality recording equipment is NOT necessary. If you do not have access to technology or adequate internet access, please contact us so we can support you. 

We recommend recording in a quiet room with the door closed, with minimal visual distractions and background noise. Let your family know when you’re recording!

Neat dress is appreciated! Wear nice clothes which are comfortable to perform in. It is also a good idea to practice in the clothes you plan to wear for your audition at least once.

We strongly encourage you to make a test video to familiarize yourself with your technology, check sound levels, and troubleshoot in advance of filming your audition video.

There are several ways to best set up your recording device. In all instances, position yourself so that your instrument and your full person are visible in the video so judges can assess your technique and posture. This is easiest if someone helps you! 

  • Smartphone/tablet:
    Record your video using the main camera on your smartphone or tablet, NOT the front-facing selfie camera. Set your device to film in landscape (horizontal) not portrait (vertical). Prop your smartphone or tablet on a stable surface to record you video audition. Use books, water bottles, a music stand, or any other objects to make a stable surface for your device. 
  • Laptop/computer:
    • Mac: You can use any video recording app. All Macs come with the Photo Booth app pre-installed. You can find this by pressing command + space and typing “Photo Booth in the pop-up search field. Then, click on the Photo Booth app. Visit Apple’s Photo Booth User Guide for more help on using Photo Booth, including how to record a video and how to save your video.  
    • PC: You can use any video recording app. All PCs running Windows 10 come with the Camera app pre-installed. To open your Camera app, select the Start button, and then select Camera in the list of apps. Visit Microsoft’s Support Page for more help on using the Camera app.

Our judges get to listen to so many great auditions! To help us stay timely, your total video length should be under 10 minutes. If you follow all of the requirements, your video should be less than 10 minutes.

Your solo selection should not be longer than 5 minutes. If your solo is longer than 5 minutes, please make appropriate cuts within the music.

Recordings must be completed in a single take (no editing or piecing together) in this order: scales, solo, excerpts.

You will upload your audition video to YouTube to share with us, and you will need a Google account in order to create a YouTube channelClick here for instructions on how to create a Google account. 

Once you have a Google account, you can create a YouTube channel. Click here for instructions on how to create a YouTube channel. 

1. While signed into your YouTube channel, click the video camera icon in the upper right corner, and select “Upload Video”.

 

2. Select your audition video file to upload.

3. In “Details”, title your video in this format: FirstName LastName, Instrument, GTCYS Audition (example: Alex Smith, Violin, GTCYS Audition)

4. In “Visibility” selected Unlisted for your video.

5. Click “Save” and your video will finish uploading.

6. Once uploaded, copy and paste the link into the the online form, which you will receive after you register for your audition.

You will upload your audition video to YouTube and submit the YouTube link through an online form May 3 – June 6. The form will be sent to you on May 3, after you register for an audition.

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