Youth Orchestra Auditions
Any student who plays an orchestral instrument and is in the third grade or higher may audition for placement in the Sarasota Youth Orchestra Program.
All Youth Orchestra participants are required to play in their school's orchestra or band, in addition to this ensemble. All participants must audition each year.
Those interested in participating in any of the eight youth ensembles, must submit a Youth Orchestra application. If you are interested in financial assistance for either orchestra tuition or with private lessons, please fill out and submit the scholarship application (see Youth Orchestra Application).
Upcoming audition dates can be found below. All try-outs are held in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The Sarasota Orchestra Education Department will notify you of your appointment time at least one week before your audition date. Placement will be mailed to you, please do not call the department for the results.
2023-2024 Audition Dates
Chamber Strings - Saturday, May 20 (9am - 5pm)
Divertimento Strings - Saturday, May 20 (9am - 5pm)
Camerata Strings- Saturday, May 20 (9am - 5pm)
Intermezzo Strings - Saturday, May 13 (9am - 5pm)
Symphonic Strings - Saturday, May 13 (9am - 5pm)
Symphonic Winds - Friday, May 19 (4pm - 9pm)
Woodwinds and Brass - Friday, May 19 (4pm - 9pm)
Percussion - Friday, May 19 (4pm - 9pm)
Strings - Saturday, May 20 (9am - 5pm)
Woodwinds and Brass - Friday, May 12 (4pm - 9pm)
Percussion - Friday, May 12 (4pm - 9pm)
Strings - Saturday, May 13 (9am - 5pm)
Harp - Saturday, May 13 (9am - 5pm)
Please contact the Education Department for more information and to arrange an audition (941)487-2732.
Audition Requirements by Instrument
Helpful Audition Hints
The following tips are meant to help students have a positive Youth Orchestra audition:
If you study privately, ask your teacher for help with your audition materials and orchestra music.
Listen to recordings to help learn excerpts and how they fit into the rest of the piece. More than 18,000 recordings are available at the Sarasota Orchestra music archives in the Selby Library, or you can purchase recordings from online music sources or local music stores.
Perform before various people such as friends and family prior to your audition.
Remember that the audition committee will be listening for the correct notes and rhythms, intonation, tone quality, articulation, expression, musical style and consistency among other things. Pay close attention to detail. Music is a lifelong learning experience, perfection takes a lot of work and time.
Try to relax before your audition. Focusing on your breath is a technique that helps some people calm their nerves. Another technique is to find a quiet place and imagine yourself playing your audition materials with confidence. Nerves are natural, but remember the purpose of an audition is to show what you already know.
The person who is well prepared has the greatest chance of performing well!
The Youth Orchestra program has taught thousands of young people to become better musicians. Many become performers with the Sarasota Orchestra or major symphony orchestras throughout the country.
Seven different orchestras rehearse weekly from September through April. Students progress through the program from string ensembles up to full orchestras. Auditions are held every year.
* Private Lesson Progress / Reimbursement Form
Each participant in the Youth Orchestra program pays $305 tuition. This is in addition to the $25 application fee and is due upon invoice. The $305 tuition is only a fraction of the actual cost to Sarasota Orchestra per student. We are grateful to the Sarasota Orchestra Friends and the generosity of donors and granting organizations that help keep the costs to students reasonable.
Do you know a student that would enjoy being a part of our program? Help us spread the word and receive $25 off your tuition for each new student. Example: Talk with 4 new students that meet the requirements below and receive $100 off your tuition.
The Sarasota Orchestra is fortunate to be able to offer several types of scholarships. Through the generosity of many donors and numerous foundations, we are able to off-set tuition expenses. We also strongly believe in the benefit of private lessons and are able to help subsidize students’ lesson expenses. In addition, we offer scholarships for summer music camps and college music majors.
TUITION SCHOLARSHIPS: Need-based tuition scholarships are awarded to cover a portion of program cost (between 10% and 75%). Please include a letter of explanation. These letters can greatly help the committee with their decisions.
SIBLING SCHOLARSHIPS: The Sarasota Orchestra understands that many families have more than one child in our program. To help off-set these expenses, we offer a reduced tuition rate to families with more than one student participating in the Youth Orchestra Program. Often these are 50% scholarships. For example, $305 for the first child, $152.50 for each additional child. You must request this scholarship on
FELLOWSHIPS: FULL TUITION scholarships (excluding application fee) are awarded based on family need. To be considered for a full tuition scholarship, you must provide full income disclosure (IRS 1040 Form, page one, front and back) and an explanation of scholarship need. Full scholarships cannot be granted without this documentation.
PRIVATE LESSON SCHOLARSHIPS: These are awarded to Youth Orchestra participants to help defray a percentage of the cost of private lessons (38 lesson maximum Sept.-June).