Frequently Asked Questions


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.

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” or submit an online payment here.

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.

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.

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

Audition times will be distributed via email around May.


For questions please, Mr. Alex Chu, Director of Education and Community Engagement at


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.

No, PYSO auditions are performed un-accompanied.

Auditions take place at Pasadena High School (2925 E Sierra Madre Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107). Plan to arrive approximately 30 minutes before your audition to allow for adequate warm-up time.


When you arrive at Pasadena High 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.

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

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.


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.

Results will be sent via email in June.