Audition Policies, Requirements and Process | Webster University

Audition Policies, Requirements and Process

I.  Audition Policies

The Community Music School of Webster University Orchestras and Ensembles support and enhance students' individual lessons and school music programs.  Applicants must participate in their school orchestra/band program on the same instrument on which they audition for CMS programs.  This policy is waived only when no orchestra or band program exists.

To ensure that a student has a positive audition experience, the CMS recommends that students consult with their individual lesson teacher prior to auditioning.

Acceptance into a CMS performance program requires a full year commitment for all events from September through May.  This includes all rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and performances listed on this website or in the printed booklet for the applicable orchestra/ensemble program.  For orchestras, more than three absences of any reason will result in re-seating and/or dismissal from orchestra/ensemble.  Percussion ensemble students are permitted one absence per semester.  Attendance is required at all performances; missing a performance is grounds for dismissal.  All students sigh a contract upon acceptance confirming their commitment to participate in all required program events.

Students and parents agree to accept faculty and administrative decisions regarding auditions, seating, financial aid, scholarships, evaluations, awards, and applications of policies made under the published policies and procedures of the School.

  1. The CMS Director and Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts are, respectively, the ultimate authority regarding decisions made under the published policies and procedures of the school, unless the provisions of the specific policy of Webster University delegates authority elsewhere.
  2. An appeal for a decision regarding instruction should be directed to the Office of the Director of the Community Music School of Webster University.  The appeal will be reviewed by the Director and the Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts.

Limited Tuition Assistance is available.  Pending available funds, Endangered Instrument Awards are available upon request for students new to the orchestra/ensemble program who wish to audition on viola, double bass, oboe, bassoon, horn, trombone, or tuba.  Submit your Tuition Assistance or Endangered Instrument Award form with your application.  Forms can be downloaded here.  Call (314) 968-5939 for more information.

Sitting in the first few seats is an honor and a responsibility

A principal player is expected to attend all rehearsals and concerts, have their part prepared including all solos in advance of rehearsal, and serve as a model for the section.  Failure to meet these responsibilities may result in re-seating at the discretion of the conductor.

An assistant principal player is expected to lead the section in the rare event the principal player is absent.  Assistant principal player should also prepare all solos in advance of rehearsal.

A third chair player needs to be very well prepared.  He or she moves up to the first stand if the principal or assistant principal are absent.

Please note:  seating may rotate during the year.

**The Community Music School reserves the right to modify or cancel any orchestra, ensemble, or program due to insufficient enrollment or instrumentation or due to extenuating circumstances.**

II.  Orchestra Audition Requirements

Membership in the Community Music School orchestras and ensembles is by audition for both returning and new students.  Auditions are scheduled on a first-come first-served basis.

Please refer to Jazz Ensemble, Prep, and Percussion Ensemble program descriptions for specific audition requirements.

  1. Scales:  For scale requirements, see the descriptions of specific orchestras/ensembles.  Be sure to prepare all scales listed for the respective orchestra/ensemble.  Scales are played from memory.
  2. Solo:  An unaccompanied solo of the student's choice is required.  The solo should be recital-ready and represent the student's technical and musical ability.  The solo does not need to be memorized.
  3. Sight-reading:  may be requested.  Please see the audition requirements for each orchestra or ensemble for specific information.
  4. Excerpts (portions of an orchestra piece) are also part of the audition.  Please see #5 under "Audition Procedure" below.

III.  Audition Procedure

  1. Review the audition requirements & policies.  Consider the commitment carefully: Can you commit to a full year?  Are there conflicts with rehearsal or concert dates or times?  Consult with your private instructor or school director.
  2. Complete the appropriate audition application(s).*
  3. Mailed applications must be postmarked on or before the deadline.  NO MONEY IS DUE WITH THE APPLICATION.
  4. You will receive an emailed confirmation of receipt of application.  In addition, you will receive an email with your audition day, time and location.  Please check your junk or spam folder.
  5. Excerpts and scale requirements will be available online after 3pm on July 29 for YPSO and YPCO and after 3pm on August 26 for SO and SE.  The web address for the online excerpts and scale reequirements will be emailed to you the day they are posted online.
  6. All auditions are held in the CMS Center at 535 Garden Avenue on the campus of Webster University.  On the day of your audition, allow time to park, find the audition room, and warm-up.  You are assigned a warm-up room upon your arrival.
  7. Acceptance into the ensembles is based solely on the audition performance.  Consideration is given to prior attendance record for seating.  Audition comments or ratings are confidential and will not be released.  The decisions of the judges are final.
  8. Results will be emailed to those auditioned the week following the final auditions for the respective orchestra/ensemble.  No results are given by phone.  Fall seating charts for YPCO & YPSO will be posted on the CMS website after Labor Day.  A seating chart for SO and personnel list for SE will posted after September 18.  Ensemble members will receive an email with a link to the seating charts when they are available online.

*Students may audition for more than one ensemble.  If accepted into either the Young People's Concert Orchestra or Young People's Symphonic Orchestra, a student's application for String Ensemble or String Orchestra will be disregarded.