Auditions for the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra take place annually in the spring for the next concert season. However, students may audition by appointment between semesters for admission in the spring semester.

We are in the process of implementing a virtual audition process for the 20/21 Season. Watch this space for more information or contact RSO Education and Community Engagement Director Margo Stedman at to be added to an email list regarding RSYO auditions. Thank you for your patience!

Auditions are accepted on the following instruments:

Oboe/English Horn
Clarinet/Bass Clarinet
French Horn

Percussion (all instruments)


Audition Guidelines

The RSYO is an advanced ensemble intended for young musicians who have been playing for a minimum of three years.  The typical RSYO member has been playing for five years or more, and is taking private lessons on the instrument that they play in the orchestra.

Each audition will last approximately 10 minutes.

Musicians will be asked to play:
1) two contrasting solo pieces (concerto movement, etude, etc.) of 3-5 minutes length.  One piece should be fast and demonstrate virtuosity and technical skill, the other should be slower to show the applicant’s musicality and quality of tone.
2) scales— from memory preferred—  Major and minor 0-4 flats and sharps, plus chromatic scale.  At least two octaves, 3 preferred.
3) sight-reading– will be provided.

Auditions are judged according to six categories:  Musicality, Intonation, Technique, Tone Quality, Scales, and Sight-reading

Additional Audition Criteria


Violin: Demonstrate shifting ability through fifth position.
Viola: Demonstrate shifting ability through third position, comfort reading treble clef.
Cello: Be familiar with tenor, bass and treble clef, have some introduction to thumb position, and shifting through sixth position.
Bass: Be familiar with positions up through fourth, up to the half string harmonic.


Flute: ability to double on piccolo
Oboe: ability to double on English Horn
Clarinet: comfort with transposition (A, C clarinets, etc.); ability to double bass clarinet
Bassoon: comfort reading tenor clef


French Horn and Trumpet: ability to transpose at sight from original-key parts
Trombone: comfort reading tenor clef


Comfort with a variety of instruments, including mallet keyboard instruments, snare drum, crash cymbals, and timpani, including tuning.