Symphony Audition Process for the 2015-2016 School Year

Please click here for an audition for the 2015-16 Symphony Orchestra:

Symphony Orchestra members perform at a rare and extremely high level of achievement. This class consists of students from grades 9-12 who have met all of the audition requirements as determined in the spring of the previous school year. Advanced musicianship is a pre-requisite to membership in this orchestra. This ensemble plays a wide variety of orchestral repertoire including masterpieces by well-known composer as we as modern works. The Symphony Orchestra has rehearsals, concerts and festivals throughout the year, which occur outside of the standard school day (about twice a month). Members of the Symphony Orchestra are expected to maintain their eligibility by being held accountable for passing all playing and written exams during the year and maintaining good academic standing in the IA. Failure to do so will result in a re-audition or placement in an appropriate ensemble level.

For questions regarding the audition process, please contact Mr. Wolf ( directly. If you are a wind, brass or percussion player (piano) please email Mr. LaNoue ( for your audition. All wind, brass and percussion players for symphony orchestra are recommended by Mr. LaNoue.

Students interested in becoming a NEW member of the IA Symphony Orchestra will prepare ALL of the following:

Scales (Memorized)

Major Scales
Prepare ALL 3-octave Major scales ascending and descending as quarter-notes at 100 bpm, slurred in groups of 4 notes to a bow. Mr. Wolf will choose one of these scales for you to perform when you enter the audition room. Galamian bowing preferred, but not required (the turn being root-third-second-root, then the scale. This happens at both the beginning and the end. ** Bass players will play full 3 octaves for the scales if they can. If not, 2 octaves are acceptable.

Minor Scale
All, 3-octave minor scale- in the relative major key in all 3 forms (natural, harmonic & melodic) ascending and descending as quarter-notes at 100 bpm, slurred in groups of 4 notes to a bow.

Chromatic Scale
Starting on your lowest open string, ascend and descend 3-octaves as quarter notes at 100 bpm, slurred in groups of 4 notes to a bow.

Suggested Chromatic fingerings on each string: Violin/Viola: 0112234 or 0121234

Cello: 0123123 Bass: 01124


You will have 30 seconds to study a piece of music and then perform it to the best of your ability. (You may NOT play your instrument during the preparation minute.)

Selected Piece

Perform a SOLO work that best represents your present ability- prepare about 2 minutes in length, though you may be cut off part way through. You may NOT choose orchestra parts from your school orchestra. If you have a question about an appropriate piece of music, please contact Mr. Wolf directly.


Each student will prepare a small excerpt from traditional orchestra repertoire that can be download on our Moodle website exactly one month prior to the first audition date. We post the excerpt at this time for fairness amongst all auditioners. This year’s audition materials are the MSBOA All State Orchestra Materials for 2014-14. (Please click the link below) It is the performers responsibility to decide stylistic elements based on the composer and time period, though the tempo will be provided for you. See Demonstrating Musicianship below.

Demonstrating Musicianship (in partnership with the Etude/Excerpt from above)

IA Symphony Members are expected to be able to both demonstrate and verbally explain how one would play string strokes and stylistic elements found in traditional orchestral repertoire. We always strive to intelligently be able to talk about what we are doing. Students should study the etude/excerpt provided to them for all terminology and expect a conversation about how they would approach teaching the excerpt to another student.

Hint 1: discuss necessary weight of bow, starting from on or off the string, etc.

Hint 2: Think of yourself as the teacher. What are the common problems found when playing in the style of music of the etude? Discuss why this may be.

There you have it! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me an email. 

Please click below for excerpts for the 2015-16 school year:

All-State Orchestral Excerpts 2014-2015