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Auditions

Scheduling an Audition


To schedule an Audition, please submit the form below and then click on the Audition Materials Section below to download the audition materials packet for your instrument. Once you have submitted the form, you will be contacted by staff as soon as possible with an audition appointment. Please note: New musicians requesting a FALL Audition will be notified of their assigned appointment in May. 

New Musicians: It is recommended that before submitting an audition request form, you download your audition materials and seek advice from your private teacher about which level of audition materials to prepare.
 

Audition Materials Packets 

Things to Keep in Mind

  • We want you to have a good experience so that you play well. Staff and the audition panel want to see you succeed and continue growing.
  • The audition panel will assess your current accomplishments, they are not looking for mistakes. We’re excited to see you do well.
  • Your placement in an orchestra or seating in a section is based on many factors, some of which you can’t control. What really matters is that you are dedicated and continue to improve.
  • We know you might come to your audition with some expectations about your placement. You might be hoping for an orchestra, section or even have a seat in mind. Know that the results of your audition are not just based on your playing that day, but on how everyone played in auditions. You, your teacher and your family know what you did to prepare of the audition, but only the audition panel knows how every audition went. Prepare over weeks rather than days. Remember that we’re hoping for the best for you, and share your talent with the panel.

Ways to Prepare

  • Determine where the problem spots are (down to the measure), and focus on them one at a time, slowly and carefully, until they get consistently better. Then put the difficult spot into context, playing a longer passage. After that, play through the whole piece or excerpt.
  • Deal with one challenge at a time. For example, if rhythm is the problem, practice the passage first without articulations, dynamics, slurs, etc. Once one problem in the passage is fixed, add the other things back in one at a time.
  • Practice all your music with a metronome for accuracy of tempo and rhythm. Start at a tempo that feels too easy, play it perfectly, then slowly speed up the metronome until you are performing the music at the assigned tempo.  Do this process for short passages first, gradually building up to include the whole piece or excerpt.
  • When challenged by the rhythm in a passage, be sure first that you can sing (or tap or clap) the rhythm.  If you can do that successfully consistently, try it slowly on your instrument, gradually speeding up to the assigned tempo. Then put the passage into context in a longer passage. After that, play through the whole piece or excerpt.
  • When you are feeling confident that you can play through the piece pretty well, ask yourself to address the details: dynamics, articulation, phrasing etc.  Is this piece sad or joyous, lively or spooky? If the music has markings you don’t know, be sure to ask your teacher about them. Get your technique in place so you can then be an artist!
  • Practice your audition in front of family or friends. Doing a “dry run” will help you be comfortable with the audition routine and feel less nervous in your actual audition.
  • Arrive early enough to not feel rushed. You’ll need time to find parking, fill out any necessary paperwork, warm up and perhaps use the restroom. Wear comfortable clothes you are accustomed to. As you warm up, be attentive to your sound, and focus on good breathing and releasing any tension. Staff are there to help, so ask if you need anything!

Audition Requirements

Auditions are evaluated for quality of tone, correct position and posture, reading skills, demonstration of dynamic range in varying positions or registers, and bowing shifting or embouchure technique. The following requirements and guidelines are cumulative, such that any requirement for one orchestra is implicitly a requirement for a more advanced orchestra. All auditions follow a basic format. outlined with specifics in the Audition Packet (follow links on sidebar):

1) Scales and Arpeggios - In two keys as indicated in the Audition Packet.

2) Prepared Solo - Any excerpt from the standard repertoire, a solo work or etude, demonstrating the musician's present level of accomplishment. No accompaniment is allowed in the audition. The solo should be approximately 3 minutes in length. The solo does not need to be memorized.

3) Excerpts - These are to be prepared in advance and are included in the Audition Packet. 

4) Sightreading - The musician will be asked in the audition to play a short selection they have not seen before.

Technical Requirements

STRINGS
Preparatory Orchestra: All students should demonstrate simple articulation techniques, including staccato and legato bowing. Violins and violas must demonstrate a solid knowledge of first position. Knowledge of third position is a plus, as is producing a tone with vibrato. Cello and doublebass must demonstrate facility through third and fourth positions.

Repertory Orchestra: All students must demonstrate use of vibrato and be proficient spiccato, detache, martele and staccato bowing techniques. Violins and violas must demonstrate strong facility in first through third positions. Comfort in fifth position is a plus. Cello and doublebass must demonstrate facility through fifth and sixth positions.

Youth Orchestra/Young People's Chamber Orchestra: All students must be proficient in all positions, have advanced bowing technique and be able to produce a solid, clear tone with continuous vibrato. Violas should be able to read the treble clef. Cellos should be able to read the tenor and treble clefs. Basses should be able to read the tenor clef.

WOODWINDS
Preparatory Orchestra: Students must demonstrate simple articulation techniques, including staccato and legato tonguing.

Repertory Orchestra: Students must be proficient in producing a full, clear tone in all registers and demonstrate accurate articulation technique, including staccato and legato tonguing. Clarinets: some knowledge of transposition a plus.

Youth Orchestra: Clarinets must have a basic knowledge of A and C transposition. Bassoons must be able to read the tenor clef. Flutes must also be able to double tongue.

BRASS
Preparatory Orchestra: Students must demonstrate simple articulation techniques, including staccato and legato tonguing.

Repertory Orchestra: Students must be proficient in producing a full, clear tone in all registers and demonstrate accurate articulation technique, including staccato and legato tonguing. Horn and trumpet: some knowledge of transposition a plus.

Youth Orchestra: Students must be able to double tongue and should own or have access to all mutes. Horns should have basic knowledge of the following transpositions: Eb, G, C, D and E; trumpets should know C, F, D and A transpositions; trombone players should be able to read the tenor clef (familiarity with alto clef a plus).

PERCUSSION
Preparatory Orchestra: Students must demonstrate good basic technique on snare drum, bass drum, cymbal, and be able to read dotted rhythms and triplets. Knowledge of drum set, timpani, mallets and other auxiliary instruments a plus.

Repertory Orchestra: Students must be able to read in simple and compound meters. The Audition Packet includes the basic rudiments necessary for audition. Students may be asked to demonstrate proficiency and good technique for playing all the basic instruments: snare drum, cymbals, bass drum, and triangle. Knowledge of drum set, timpani, mallets and other auxiliary instruments a plus.

Youth Orchestra: Students may be a specialist (timpani, mallets etc.) or be versed in all the 26 rudiments and proper technique for all pitched and non-pitched percussion.

Notification of Audition Results

Musicians will be notified of the audition results as soon as possible following the auditions. In many cases, results may not be decided until all auditions have been completed. Results will be distributed by email. Musicians successfully completing an audition are offered membership in one (or more) of the ensembles. Each member's placement in the group will be based upon auditions and input from qualified professional musicians

Mid-Season Auditions

If you are interested in joining our orchestras mid-season, please contact the Education Department staff. Auditions for any mid-season openings will be held at the discretion of the conductor.

Contact Us

Santa Rosa Symphony
Administrative Office:
50 Santa Rosa Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Administration: 707.546.7097

Patron Services Hours: 
M-F - 9am – 5:00pm,
W – 10:30am – 5:00pm
Patron Services: 707.546.8742