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Audition Guidelines – ISO Symphony

Students will be asked for scales, their prepared repertoire and to sight-read.  Adjudicators will place each musician in the appropriate ensemble based on the level of playing at the audition. 

The following information is provided for students and teachers as a general guide to the level of musicianship essential for each ensemble.  The applicant’s prepared piece should be one that is an accurate representation of their technical and artistic ability.  Remember, it is not what you play that matters most, but how well you play it. 

If you have any questions regarding repertoire, the auditions or ensembles, please contact a member of the ISO staff.  We are here to make sure that this is a positive and successful experience for everyone.


  • Ability to sight read music representative of ISO Symphony repertoire
  • Able to play all time signatures
  • Comfort in executing all tuplets
  • Required Keys – Able to play scales and pieces in all major and minor keys throughout the full range of instrument.
    •  Strings:  3 octave scales and arpeggios
    •  Winds:  2 or 3 octave scales and arpeggios


Be able to demonstrate a high level of achievement and a thorough understanding of music and music making.


Strings – Ability to play throughout the full range of the instrument, able to demonstrate vibrato and advanced bow technique

Winds – Ability to play throughout the full range of the instrument; use of multiple articulations; flutes double tongue; clarinets should have access to an A clarinet and be able to transpose; bassoon must have knowledge of tenor clef.

Brass – Play in 2 octave range; trumpet and horn demonstrated knowledge of transposition; trombone  must have knowledge of tenor clef

Percussion  – Prior experience in band/orchestra and comfort with the full range of percussion equipment

As a broad guideline, successful candidates for the ISO Symphony level should be working on repertoire that is equivalent to NYSSMA level 5 through level 6.  Please note that just by preparing a piece in this range does not guarantee entrance into the ensemble.  The piece needs to be well prepared and must demonstrate the technical demands listed above.   Students must be receiving private lessons to participate in the ISO Symphony.