Everett Youth Symphony Orchestras

Audition Preparation Guidelines

Preparing for an audition can produce feelings of anxiety or nervousness. These are normal feelings to have, but they can be significantly lessened with thoughtful and careful preparation. Below are some guidelines about preparing for the Everett Youth Symphony Orchestras annual auditions. Read them carefully and incorporate the tips into your daily practice and audition preparation routine. Remember, auditions don't have to be scary! Think of auditions as the first step toward joining an exciting and musically enriching program!

We're glad you are here and look forward to hearing you play!

General Preparation Advice:

Specific Practice Tips:


When you play your scales in the audition, the conductors will be listening for a few key elements. Knowing these elements in advance will help you better prepare and thus be more successful. The most important aspect of playing scales is intonation. Performing scales demonstrates your ability to play perfectly in tune. Remember, instruments, especially wind instruments, are not manufactured to play perfectly in tune even when you press down with the right fingerings. You must make adjustments with your body so as to get every pitch in tune. Try practicing with a well-tuned piano, an electronic tuner, or, on a string instrument, comparing fingered pitches with open strings. Be sure to practice slowly and evenly. The conductors would rather hear a slow, in tune scale than a hurried, rushed and out of tune scale.


The solo is your opportunity to show the conductors the depth of your musicianship as well as the extent of your technical ability. Work with your private lesson teacher (if you have one) to pick a piece that will best demonstrate your capabilities. Don't choose a piece that is new to you or that you have not spent a lot of time preparing. Pick a piece that you feel at ease with and can perform at a very high level. It is not important to the conductors how difficult your piece is but rather how well you perform. This is your moment to show us your strength as a musician, let yourself shine!

Finally, know that the conductors have a limited amount of time in which to hear you. Don't be surprised if they stop you part way through your solo, this is so auditions can run on time.

Sight Reading

All instrumentalists will be given a short excerpt to sight-read for the conductors in the audition room. The purpose of sight-reading is to give the conductors an idea of how well you can synthesize your musical skills and apply them to a brand new piece of music. When you are handed the excerpt you are allowed to look it over for a minute, but you aren't allowed to play anything. During that time, look for these key elements: key signature, time signature, tempo, accidentals, repeating rhythms, melodic figures, etc. Remember, the conductors want you to be successful in reading through the excerpt. Work to maintain a steady tempo, focus carefully on playing correct rhythms and get as many notes in tune as possible. The most important thing is to keep going, don't stop! Any articulations or dynamics you can incorporate are bonus. If sight-reading is not yet a normal part of your practice routine, ask your private lesson teacher for suggestions on reading at sight. Alternately, begin every practice session with sight-reading. This can be a fun way to play new music. You can search the internet for music, look ahead in your method or etude books or visit a music store and buy something new that looks fun. What type of music you sight-read is not important. That you do sight-reading regularly is what will help you improve!

Audition Day Advice