Frequently Asked Questions: PYSO Auditions

Am I eligible to audition?

All public, parochial, private and home school students in grades 6-12 are eligible to audition for PYSO. PYSO is an enhancement to existing school programs, not a substitute. PYSO strongly encourages all musicians to participate in their school music program. Private lessons are also encouraged.

Is there an audition fee?

Yes, there is a non-refundable $30 fee to audition for PYSO. Please bring a check with you on the audition day made out to “PYSO”

This is my first audition! What should I expect?

When you arrive at Oak Avenue Intermediate School, please visit the check- in table and we will direct you to the warm up space. When it is time for your audition, a volunteer will escort you to the audition room.

The audition panel will consist of 1-2 judges. These judges may be a PYSO conductor, coach, or other member of the PYSO community. Your audition will last for approximately 15 minutes.

During your audition, you may be asked to stop playing and move on to another solo, scale, or sight reading piece. This is a common occurrence and does not reflect upon your performance. You may also be asked about your other playing experiences, including participation in your school program and your private lessons.

I’m not sure which ensemble I should audition for. Which one should I choose?

On the audition application we ask which PYSO ensemble you are auditioning for. This assists PYSO staff when scheduling specific audition times with members of the audition panel. During your audition, you will be considered for all PYSO ensembles. For example, even if you select the “String Orchestra” as your preferred ensemble, you will also be considered for the Symphony and the Philharmonic.

Does my solo need to be memorized?

No, your solo piece for the PYSO audition does not need to be memorized. Please bring a second copy of the solo part for the audition panel.

Do I need to bring an accompanist to my audition?

No, PYSO auditions are performed un-accompanied.

What if I have prior commitment on one of the audition days? Can I request a certain time?

On the application, please note if you have certain restrictions and need to be placed at a specific time range (morning, afternoon, not on Saturday, etc). While we try and accommodate all requests, please be flexible and provide multiple availabilities.

My sibling/cousin/friend is auditioning for PYSO and we plan to carpool to the audition. Can we have similar audition times?

On the application, please note if you are carpooling with another applicant to the audition. We do our best to accommodate requests.

I filled out my application! When will I receive my audition time?

Audition times will be distributed via email on or before Wednesday, May 11th. If you apply after May 11th, you will be notified of your audition time approximately two-three days after you complete your application. Watch for an email from Mr. Alex Chu, Manager, at [email protected].

Where are the auditions held?

Auditions take place at Oak Avenue Intermediate School (6623 Oak Ave, Temple City, CA 91780). Plan to arrive approximately 30 minutes before your audition to allow for adequate warm-up time.

Where will I be able to warm up before my audition?

There is a communal warm-up room at the audition location. There is also a seating area for family members.

What should I wear for my audition?

While there is no uniform to audition, neat dress is appreciated! We recommend students wear nice clothes that are comfortable to perform in. This is the first impression you are making on the audition panel, which will include PYSO conductors and coaches.

How are musicians placed?

The primary criterion for placement is the student’s playing. The audition panel evaluates students’ tone, intonation, rhythm, musicality, and technique on the solo piece, scale, and the sight reading. Instrumentation needs for the ensembles may also be considered. PYSO does not place students based upon their grade level. All placements are final.

When will I receive my results?

Results will be sent via US Mail in June.

Frequently Asked Questions: PYSO

Where does PYSO rehearse?

Philharmonic: Sunday evenings from 6:00-8:30 PM at Pasadena City College
Symphony: Tuesday evenings from 5:15-7:30 PM at Pasadena High School
String Orchestra & Wind Ensemble: Tuesday evenings from 5:15-7:15 at Pasadena High School.
Prelude Strings: Prelude Strings rehearses at Pasadena High School from 5:15pm-6:15pm

PYSO rehearsals begin in September and rehearse weekly until the Fall/Holiday concerts. PYSO does not rehearse in the month of December and the season resumes in January and continues until May.

Is financial aid available to PYSO students?

Financial aid is available and based upon need. Any financial aid is applied toward the annual tuition fee ($565), not the retreat fee. Upon acceptance, students will receive a PYSO enrollment packet which will include a financial aid application. Financial aid announcements are made in September.

Does PYSO require parent volunteering?

Parental involvement is vital to the success of PYSO! There are many opportunities for parents to volunteer their time and efforts. These opportunities primarily take place during concert season.

Parents of students in the Wind Ensemble, String Orchestra, and Symphony will be assigned a rehearsal date in a scheduled rotation to provide a small snack or water to the students in their ensemble. Parents may opt out of this snack list by paying a fee of $40 at the start of the PYSO season.

Are PYSO retreats mandatory?

Every year, each PYSO ensemble travels for a day, weekend, or extended retreat or tour. Attendance on these trips is expected and encouraged, but is not mandatory. Dates and costs for these trips are announced prior to the start of the season, at which time we ask students to confirm their plans. This allows for appropriate scheduling and planning.

How many students participate in each ensemble?

Ensemble numbers vary from season to season based upon repertoire and instrumentation needs. Generally, each ensemble contains the following number of students:
Wind Ensemble: 25
String Orchestra: 50
Symphony: 70
Philharmonic: 80