Many parents and musicians ask us which division they should audition for, and when they should consider moving up to the next division. RDYO’s conductors have prepared some guidelines to help families make these decisions. At RDYO, we believe in the importance of offering a musical education in a social setting. Therefore, as much as possible, we try to keep our young musicians together with their friend groups. In some cases, friend groups blur the boundaries of age and musical levels. We are fully prepared to support our young musicians who are playing slightly out of their comfort zone. The first discussion that should happen is between our young musicians and their friends in their current division. Knowing that their friends are also auditioning for the next level can help kids feel more comfortable with the whole process. Each orchestra’s minimum musicianship levels are based upon Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) grade levels, as published in their various syllabuses. Current copies of these are available in the music library and may be referred to upon request. We also provide the Suzuki levels, for those who are studying that format. Orchestra members are not required to participate in the RCM examination system. The grade levels specified below are guidelines used by the faculty to place members into an appropriate orchestra. If you do not take RCM examinations, it is a good idea to consult with your teacher to assist in determining your RCM level, and to prepare for orchestra auditions. A final note: the age and grade levels noted below are guidelines only. By design, there is overlap among the various divisions, so that we can try to place our young musicians together with their friends.
- Introductory Strings): Beginning violin class with no experience necessary. A second more advanced class may be offered, by audition. RCM Grade I-III, by audition. In conjunction with the City of Richmond.
- Senior Winds: RCM Grade IV – VI, minimum requirement depending on your instrument.
- Junior Winds (Concert Winds): RCM Grade 1 -2 minimum requirement depending on instrument
- Junior Strings: RCM Grade III – V – knowledge of 3rd position, developing vibrato
- Intermediate Strings: RCM Grade IV – VII – knowledge of 3rd – 5th position, developing vibrato
- Senior Strings: RCM Grades VI – IX : This is our concert string orchestra. The focus on this group is baroque and classical string orchestra literature.
- Symphony Orchestra: Entrance level Grade VIII for strings, Grade VII – VIII for winds and brass, depending on the instrument. Considerable orchestral and ensemble experience is required.
- Chamber Ensembles: Grade VII and above strings and winds;
Musicians who are auditioning for the Orchestra are asked to arrive at least 10 minutes before their scheduled audition time. They will be called into a room to perform for an audition panel of RDYO conductors. The audition panel will make a recommendation, which will be to the sole determinant of where the student is placed. All decisions are final. Auditions for the Junior, Intermediate, Senior, and Symphony Orchestras require two prepared contrasting pieces. Auditions for Senior Strings and Symphony would be best to include at least one movement from a standard concerto, or standard work for solo instrument and piano in accordance with the RCM grade level required. Completion of exams is not required. RCM grade levels for each orchestra are considered to be a minimum level. Being a principle member, or first chair player requires a higher standard. The audition panel may ask students to re-audition at a later date if the panel feels the student is unprepared.