Prepare, practise – and enjoy yourself

NYO believes in giving every committed and accomplished teenage musician in the UK the opportunity to experience the challenge and thrill of orchestral playing. That's why everyone who applies and meets our standard requirements (see Who can join?) will be invited to audition for a place. Auditions are free, and take place around the country every autumn.

We aim to make the audition process as friendly and informal as possible, to help you perform at your best. And we work hard to ensure that all applicants have the chance to learn new performance or practice skills, so that your experience is positive and useful, whatever the outcome.

The orchestra is recruited anew each year, and current and former musicians must reapply.

Apart from composers, who are invited for an interview, everyone who auditions is asked to prepare and play a series of orchestral excerpts and accompanied music of their own choice for an NYO Tutor from their instrument family. Musicians also take part in a tutor-led workshop with a small group of other candidates. We're looking for people who combine technical aptitude and flair for orchestral playing, with an adventurous spirit, an open mind and a willingness to be part of a very big team – with all the responsibility for sharing your skills and expertise that brings. 


Tip from our tutors

Top Tips from Our Tutors


We want you to shine...enjoy the experience...and witness your enthusiasm for music


Trumpet Tutorial

Helpful pointers from NYO musician Zoë and tutor John to prepare for your audition.



Trombone Tutorial

Helpful pointers from NYO musician Sam and tutor Peter to prepare for your audition.

What are auditions really like?

An NYO musician's experience


Auditions are never easy. I can remember the train journey to Manchester for my first round audition when I was fifteen, feeling overwhelmed by what I was about to do. Having been unsuccessful the previous year I felt determined to prove that I had what it took to be part of NYO, but now, just hours before the big moment, I was worried that the hard work and preparation might not pay off.
However, I needn't have been so scared. NYO auditions are unique in that every candidate takes part in a twenty minute workshop. An NYO tutor works with four or five auditionees, giving useful advice to help with many aspects of orchestral playing- I remember the tutor showing us a breathing exercise to help us relax, and in the second round developing our awareness and ensemble skills by taking turns to lead the Beethoven 9 excerpt. These workshops ensure that regardless of what happens in your audition, you will have a very positive experience meeting other talented young musicians and the wonderful NYO tutors, and will be given some great advice as well as individual feedback to help you 

improve. This is why I recommend anyone who loves orchestral playing and is considering applying to take the plunge and make the most of a fantastic opportunity.


Eliza Carew
Principal Cello

Everyone should come away from their audition having had a positive and enlightening experience.


Peter Gane

NYO Trombone Tutor



I loved interacting with other young musicians at my audition workshop. It made me feel excited about NYO and determined to get in whatever the outcome of the audition. 

Stephanie Childress


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