Join Us

Come out to a rehearsal and see what we are about.  Bring your instrument and join in with us on our designated Open Rehearsal days, which happen each spring and fall.

All prospective members of the orchestra must audition. All members are expected to be taking private lessons on their orchestral instrument.

Audition Requirements

The audition may contain any or all of the following elements:

  • Technique: two scales
  • Performance of two contrasting pieces (required)
  • Orchestral excerpts (for the ensemble you are auditioning for)
  • Sight reading

Auditions for 2019 – 2020 Season

Please contact our administrator directly at to inquire about auditioning for RDYO.  Auditions are in June and September.

Openings for all instruments:

Violin, Viola, Cello , Bass, Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Clarinet, Saxes (wind ensemble),  Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, piano, and Percussion

Orchestral Excerpts

Please review and prepare these orchestral excerpts in advance. Orchestral excerpts must be a part of your audition for the orchestra, along with the other technical and repertoire requirements. (update: April 2019)


Please email to set up an audition time.

Guidelines for Auditions

All new prospective members to the orchestra must audition. The audition process serves to access the abilities of new students to choose which division of the orchestra best suits the students needs. Auditions are also held for those members of the orchestra who wish to move from one division up to another. Auditions are formally held in June and September, although entrance auditions may be arranged at any time during the season. New members are always welcome. The audition panel consists of members of the musical staff, including the ensemble director for the group you are auditioning for. When possible, all of the musical staff listens to the audition, although this is not always possible.

Musicianship Levels

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;

Audition format:
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.