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How to Audition

Join the CYO Experience

CYO offers a unique experience that combines both participation in a full orchestra and in a chamber ensemble. All students selected for CYO will be seated in the full orchestra and will be assigned to one of the following chamber ensembles: string quintet or quartet, string ensemble, wind ensemble or percussion ensemble. By integrating membership in the full orchestra and a chamber ensemble, CYO provides unique opportunities for students to gain a deeper, more involved understanding of music and their instruments.

Are you ready to Rock Your Potential? Follow the How to Audition steps to submit your audition video and begin your experience with CYO.

How to Audition

STEP 1 / Register
  • Fill out the registration form and select either pre-recorded or an in-person audition. Once you complete the form you will receive an email response with available audition times and days for in-person auditions. We strongly suggest an in-person audition.
  • Read the Audition FAQs
STEP 2 / Practice
  • Review & download your instrument’s audition packet (found at the bottom of this page)
STEP 3 / Audition

Audition Packets

Please carefully read all information on this page and in your specific instrument’s packet.

You may choose from two levels: Advanced and Intermediate. Advanced Packets contain more required materials and are designed for students who have experience with auditions. The Intermediate Packet is designed for students who have little or no experience with the audition process. Your choice of Advanced or Intermediate Packet will not influence the panelists’ judgment of your audition. All students who audition will be considered for all CYO ensembles.

We encourage you to consult with your Private Instructor and School Orchestra or Band Director to decide which level Audition Packet you should select.

Flute/Piccolo Download Download
Oboe Download Download
English Horn Download Download
Clarinet Download Download
Bassoon Download Download
Horn Download Download
Trumpet Download Download
Trombone Download Download
Bass Trombone Download Download
Tuba Download Download
Percussion Download Download
Harp Download Download
Piano Download Download
Violin Download Download
Viola Download Download
Cello Download Download
Bass Download Download

Audition FAQ’s

What performing ensembles make up Contemporary Youth Orchestra?

CYO includes ensembles that focus on the study and performance of orchestral works by living composers. All CYO musicians participate in both the full orchestra and chamber music ensembles.

Tell me about the performing ensembles

All students accepted into CYO participate in both the full orchestra and a chamber ensemble. Students receive insightful, expert coaching from CYO’s faculty, enabling them to reach for a truly professional level of performance.

Our full orchestra consists of 110 students ages 13-18 and is dedicated to performing professional-level works by contemporary composers. Recent performances have included the works of Joan Tower, Christopher Rouse, Michael Daugherty and Mason Bates, as well as several groundbreaking commissioned works.

CYO’s signature Rock the Orchestra concert pairs a legendary rock artist with the orchestra to perform well-known popular music on the symphony stage. Previous collaborations include Chris Thile, Jason Mraz, Melissa Etheridge, Ben Folds, Kenny Loggins and Tommy Shaw.

Chamber groups include 2 string quartets (composed of principals from the orchestra), a string ensemble, a wind ensemble and a percussion ensemble. Chamber ensembles meet weekly as part of the Saturday session before full orchestra rehearsal. The chamber music experience provides all students with a deeper, more involved understanding of music and their instruments.

How am I assigned to a chamber ensemble?

Fall seating auditions are used to assign students to a chamber ensemble and particular part assignments.

When do CYO students rehearse?

CYO meets weekly on Saturday from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm at the Main Auditorium of the Cuyahoga Community College Metro Campus.

Where do auditions take place?

There are several ways that you can audition for CYO, including from the comfort of your home! CYO offers in-person and pre-recorded audition options.  Email Ben Kipp, CYO Director of Educational Programming, to learn more about which audition option is best for you!

If I Choose to submit a pre-recorded audition video, how should I prepare?

Familiarize yourself with the audition requirements and practice each of the elements. We recommend you warm up before you begin your recording. We also recommend that you record a few takes so that you are familiar with the equipment you are using and feel comfortable and relaxed once you do the final video.

What Is The Optional Pre-Audition Assessment?

If you would like feedback from our team members before you submit a final video audition, you can send us a mock audition video. You should approach the mock audition video the same way you approach the final video. Play all of the required elements and give us your best! When you email us the link to your unlisted YouTube video, please let us know that the link is to your “pre-assessment audition video.” We will provide you with feedback within 4-5 business days. After you receive feedback, you can send us the final audition video any time prior to the May 31 deadline.

What Happens After I Audition?

Members of CYO’s team will carefully review and assess your audition. You will receive notification of your audition results via email after June 1.

What Do I Need To Play For My Audition?

You may choose from two levels of Audition Packets: Advanced and Intermediate. Advanced Packets include more challenging excerpts than Intermediate Packets, and we encourage you to consult with your Private Instructor and School Orchestra or Band Director to decide which level you should select.

We recognize that this may be your first audition, and we are giving you two different levels to choose from to make your audition more comfortable. Your choice will not influence the panelists’ judgment of your audition. All students will be considered for all CYO ensembles.

Do I Need To Have My Audition Music Memorized?

No. Memorization is not necessary. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your recording.

Do I Need To Have An Accompanist For My Audition Video?

No. While we understand your solo work most likely includes an accompaniment part, we just want to hear you with no accompaniment.

How much is tuition for CYO?

Tuition is $500. No student will be turned away due to an inability to pay tuition. Scholarships are available. Please email for more information.

CAPP tuition is $300 per semester.

Yes! Your one audition opens up the possibilities for participation in multiple performance and ensemble opportunities!

When you audition for CYO, you are auditioning for recommended placement in one or more of our ensembles. Placement is based on available seats, musicality and technical ability. Our goal through the audition process is for all musicians who have auditioned to be placed in an ensemble where they will continue to grow as individuals and ensemble players.

Is School Music Participation Required For CYO Musicians?

Yes! CYO is a strong supporter of school music programs, and believes these programs are the foundation of our music community. CYO is an extended outlet for music and artistic growth and not a substitute for a school music program.

If you have a REQUIRED class that prohibits you from participating in a music program, a note excusing you from this requirement is necessary from your school guidance counselor and/or orchestra, band, choir (or equivalent) director. If you are homeschooled or you don’t have access to a music program in your school, we encourage you to look for equivalent options that might apply to your situation. It is expected that students will discuss their schedules and opportunities with their orchestra, band, choir (or equivalent) director to be able to make the best decision for their individual situation.

What is CAPP?

The College Audition Preparation Program (CAPP) is a detailed driven program for students who are looking to pursue music in college and is a separate program from our performing ensembles. CAPP is designed to look critically at each step of the audition process and ensure your success for the first step into your career. Limited spots are available each semester, please email for more information about CAPP.

No audition is required to participate, but there is a separate registration process and tuition.

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