Audition FAQs – Symphony Program

What is a “full orchestra”?

“Full orchestra” refers to an ensemble that includes string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. HYS has three full orchestras of varying levels: Youth Symphony I, Youth Symphony II, and Concert Orchestra.

What instruments are accepted?

HYS holds auditions for violin, viola, cello, bass, flute (piccolo), oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, baritone (euphonium), tuba, percussion, and harp. Auditions for piano and saxophone are not held, but HYS offers a summer program (Pacific Music Institute) and a jazz program (the Combo) that accepts these instruments.

Am I eligible to audition?

This table outlines age eligibility for the 2018-2019 season. HYS accepts students through grade 12 only. To ensure fairness, we DO NOT make exceptions to age eligibility.

GroupAgeWhich means…You must be born in or before
Youth Symphony I13 years by 12/31/17 AND grade 9 in the 2018-2019 school year2004
Youth Symphony II12 years by 12/31/17 AND grade 8 in the 2018-2019 school year2005
Concert Orchestra10 years by 12/31/17 AND grade 6 in the 2018-2019 school year2007
How do I apply to audition?

Download the audition application and return it to the HYS office with your fee by the deadline.

How much does the audition cost?

The audition fee is $30. If your application is received after the first scheduled due date the audition fee increases to $50. NO FEE WAIVERS ARE ALLOWED.

Can I audition for two instruments?

No. HYS will only allow auditions on one instrument per student.

How do I know which group to try out for?

Refer to our age eligibility criteria and consult with your private teacher. The following short descriptions may help.

  • YSI students tend to have 4 to 6 years of experience. This group performs major symphonic works; recent selections have included works by Hindemith, Elgar, Rachmaninoff, Hanson.
  • YSII students tend to have 3 to 5 years of experience. This group performs less difficult symphonic works and popular repertoire.
  • CO students tend to have 2 to 4 years of experience. This group performs abridged versions of symphonic works
What music do I play?

You are responsible for making sure that you have the correct audition excerpts, which will be made available on our web site. You can determine your requirements by referring to the following table:

Choose one from each row, then columnTrying out for CO. I must play audition excerpts for:Trying out for YSII. I must play audition excerpts for:Trying out for YSI. I must play audition excerpts for:
I’m a new studentCOCO & YSIICO, YSII & YSI
I’m currently in COCOCO & YSIICO, YSII & YSI
I’m currently in YSIIn/aYSIIYSII & YSI
I’m currently in YSIn/an/aYSI

Example 1: I am a new student and would like to audition for YSII. I must play both CO & YSII music on my audition date.

Example 2: I am currently in CO and would like to audition for YSI. I must play CO, YSII and YSI music on my audition date. You may download the audition music here.

When are the auditions?

Winds & Brass: May 19-20, 2018. Strings: May 26-27, 2018. Percussion: June 2.

How will I know when my audition is?

The audition application will outline the days each group and instrument will be auditioning. After your application is received you will be sent a specific time to show up on your scheduled audition day.

If I am trying out for more than one group, do I have to audition more than once?

No. Use the HIGHEST group you are trying out for to determine your audition day. You will play all the required audition music at one audition appointment. For example, if you are trying out for YSI and YSII, you will be assigned an audition time during the YSI group.

Where are the auditions held?

All auditions are held at Niu Valley Middle School, located at 310 Halemaumau Street in Honolulu.

Can I audition late?

No. Late auditions are not allowed.

What if I am taking the SAT on my audition date?

If your audition time is scheduled for the same day you are taking the SAT, please include this information on your application. You will be scheduled later in the afternoon.

What if I can’t audition on the scheduled day?

Please refer to the audition application for further instructions.

If I am accepted, how much does it cost?

In order to provide quality programs, HYS spends over $2,000 per student. The tuition were $535—$700 this past season. We anticipate that fees will increase, and will publish the 2018-2019 fees at a later date.

Is financial aid available?

Need-based financial aid is available for registration fees, private lessons or instrument rental. You may request a financial aid application upon registration or download the application from our Financial Aid page. All financial aid is on a reimbursement basis.

If I am accepted, what is expected of me?

Joining HYS means that you are making a year-long commitment. You must: 1) attend all rehearsals and concerts, 2) practice and prepare your music, and 3) abide by all rules of conduct and HYS policies.

When are rehearsals?

Rehearsals are held every Sunday afternoon from August through May. Students are expected to attend all rehearsals and concerts. The 2017-2018 rehearsal schedule is outlined below:

OrchestraConcert OrchestraYouth Symphony IIYouth Symphony I
Rehearsal LocationNiu Valley Middle School
310 Halemaumau Street
Honolulu, HI 96821
Kaimuki Middle School
631 18th Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
UH Music Department
2411 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
Rehearsal ScheduleWinds/Percussion Sectional
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Full Orchestra Rehearsal
12:30 – 2:00 pm
Strings Sectional
2:00 – 3:00 pm
Winds/Percussion Sectional &
Strings Sectional

11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Full Orchestra Rehearsal
12:30 – 2:00 pm
Winds/Percussion Sectional
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Full Orchestra Rehearsal
12:00 – 2:00 pm
Strings Sectional
2:00 – 3:00 pm
Do I have to take private lessons?

We highly recommend you take private lessons to enhance your HYS experience.

What if I played in YSI, YSII or CO last year?

You must re-audition for your seat in the orchestra. Acceptance into YSI/YSII/CO will be based on your current level of playing, not prior membership in the orchestra.