Auditioning at MYSO

Find your place at MYSO

Share powerful musical experiences with like-minded peers. Dare to challenge yourself musically, intellectually, and personally. Find sanctuary at MYSO and a safe place for creative self-expression, exploration, and personal discovery. Slip into an environment that takes you away from the ordinary and the everyday to an uplifting, thought-provoking, and entertaining place. Participate in the cultural vibrancy of Milwaukee with our diverse student body.

Interact with instructors dedicated to developing confidence and critical life skills necessary to reach your full potential. They are comprised of the region’s most sought-after musicians, music educators, and teaching artists, including members of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Refer a student to MYSO here.

Placement Auditions

All members are required to audition (some ensemble exceptions exist) in order to participate during the following season. Auditions are held in the spring for the following school year. Details are usually communicated at the end of January to beginning of February.

Seating Auditions

In addition, each musician will audition for his or her conductor in order to determine section/chair placement and to make part assignments. These auditions typically occur in mid-to-late August. Requirements vary and are usually announced in July.


Audition FAQs

STRINGS: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Harp

WINDS: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone (alto, tenor, baritone)

BRASS: Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Euphonium, Baritone, Tuba

PERCUSSION: More experienced players should prepare a solo on the Snare Drum, Xylophone/Marimba and Timpani. Younger players should prepare a solo on one or more of these. Call with questions!

JAZZ: All instruments listed above plus Piano, Guitar, and Electric Bass

STEEL PANS: Students from the City of Milwaukee who have a good sense of rhythm and a great attitude are encouraged to try out for this award-winning program.


  • Formal auditions for our 2019–20 season ended on Sunday, April 7. For further information, please call us at 414-267-2950, or email


  • Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut Street, Milwaukee

Three Part Audition: Scales, Solo, Sightreading

It’s simple! During a 5-10 minute audition, one of MYSO’s professionals will listen to the student’s technical ability, tone, rhythm, intonation, interpretation and musicality.

Placement into a specific ensemble is based primarily on achievement in these areas. Additional factors such as difficulty of the solo performed; prior experience in orchestra or band; age; musical, social and emotional maturity; and instrumental need in the ensembles are also considered.

Our intent is to do what will be in the best interests of both the student and the ensembles.


The audition experience will begin with the student being asked to play at least one scale.

Scales most often asked are G, D, A, C, B-flat and E-flat. Students who play wind, brass, or mallet instruments should also be prepared to play A-flat and E major scales (anything up to four sharps or flats in the key signature). The scales we ask are specific to your instrument and not “concert pitch.” More advanced musicians may be asked additional scales in both major and minor keys.


Everyone must present a prepared solo or etude, no more than 3-4 minutes in length, preferably with contrasting tempos and/or styles (with no piano accompaniment).


The final part of the audition is a short section of music which helps determine how the student reads and understands printed music.

Students will be notified by mail by the middle of June regarding placement decisions.

When available, along with the placement we’ll include constructive comments regarding the audition in this mailing.

Most MYSO ensembles rehearse once a week during the school year. The season begins in September and continues through May. MYSO musicians are expected to enroll in their school music programs on the same instrument they play in MYSO.

Additional opportunities for members of MYSO include the Davidson Chamber Ensemble Program, concerto competitions, music theory classes, John Downey Creation Project for young composers, our Community Concert Series, ‘side by side’ rehearsal and coaching opportunities with professional musicians and much more. Learn more about our supplemental programs.