Audition Guidelines

Orchestra Playing

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.

Reading

  • 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

Musicianship

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

Technique

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.

Concert Orchestra & Wind 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.

Reading

  • Ability to sight read music representative of Concert Orchestra repertoire
  • Able to play in all time signatures
  • Comfort in executing tuples through septuplets
  • Required Keys – Able to play scales and pieces in major and minor keys up to five sharps and flats.
    • Strings: 3 octave scales with arpeggios
    • Winds: 2 octave scales with arpeggios

Musicianship

Demonstrate good tone production, full range of dynamics, full range of articulations, accurate intonation, and understanding of musical terms

Technique

Strings – Ability to play through 5th position, demonstrate vibrato and advanced bow technique

Winds – Play in 2 ½ octave range; use of multiple articulations; flutes double tongue; bassoon should have knowledge of tenor clef.

Brass – Play in 2 ½ octave range; trumpet and horn demonstrated knowledge of transposition; trombone should have knowledge of tenor clef

Percussion – Prior experience in band/orchestra and with cymbals, triangle, and bass drum; advanced snare drum and good timpani technique; ability to tune timpani

As a broad guideline, successful candidates for the Concert Orchestra and Wind Symphony level should be working on repertoire that is equivalent to NYSSMA level 4 through level 5. 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 Concert Orchestra or Band.

Carnegie Hill Orchestra

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.

Reading

  • Ability to sight read music representative of Carnegie Hill repertoire
  • Able to play in 4/4, 2/4 and 3/4; rhythmic patterns up to 16th notes, rests, and dotted rhythms; and knowledge of compound time and cut time
  • Comfort in executing triplets
  • Required Keys – Able to play pieces and scales in major and minor keys up to three sharps and flats.
    • Violin, Viola, Cello – 2 octave scales and arpeggios
    • Bass –1 octave scales with arpeggios up to 3 sharps/flats, and 2 octave E major scale
    • Winds – 1 octave scales with arpeggios and 1 octave chromatic scale

Musicianship

Demonstrate understanding of good tone; articulations including asymmetrical slurs, legato, staccato, and various types of accents (sfz, >, ˈ); dynamics (ff – pp; crescendo & decrescendo); accurate intonation; and basic understanding of musical terms

Technique

Strings – Demonstrated ability of basic bowing technique, comfort with spiccato, and basic understanding of vibrato.

  • Violin & Viola – Able to play through third position with good shifting habits and accurate intonation
  • Cello – Able to play through fourth position with good shifting habits and accurate intonation
  • Bass – Ability to cross strings in fourth position with good shifting habits and accurate intonation

Winds – 2 octave range; able to execute phrases with appropriate breaths; ability to tongue and slur
Brass – 1½ – 2 octave range; able to execute phrases with appropriate breaths; ability to tongue and slur
Percussion – Must be ready to begin work on timpani and mallets.

  • Snare – Seven basic rudiments (perform and sight-read), Right-hand lead sticking
  • Cymbals – Proper hold

As a broad guideline, successful candidates for the Carnegie Hill level should be working on repertoire that is equivalent to NYSSMA level 3 through level 4. 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. At the Carnegie Hill level, students must be receiving private lessons in addition to ISO.

Beginner Orchestras

MORNINGSIDE, TRINITY-FLORENTINE, QUEENS EAST, AND TURTLE BAY ORCHESTRAS

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.

Reading

  • Ability to read rhythms and contour of the line
  • Play in 4/4, 2/4, 3/4
  • Begin to read and understand rhythmic patterns up to 16th notes, rests, and dotted rhythms
  • Able to play pieces and 1 octave scales in:
    • Strings: C, G, D, and F Major (recommended) (violins – 2 octave G scale suggested)
    • Winds/Brass: at least 3 major keys

Musicianship

Demonstrate basic understanding of good tone; articulations including slurs, legato, and staccato; loud and soft dynamics; and good intonation.

Technique

Strings – First position (ready to begin, or starting 3rd position for 1st violins), is playing on all four strings, and demonstrates understanding of détaché, staccato, slurs and accents

Winds – At least 1½ octave range, 1st Clarinet must be able to play over the break

Brass – At least one octave range

Percussion – Basic snare, bass drum and triangle ability. Understanding of matched and/or traditional grip

Student’s ability level should be equivalent to at least one year of playing and is able to read music. Student should also be receiving instruction in addition to ISO, such as a private teacher, school music program, or preferably both.