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How old does my child need to be to audition?

Our ensembles are based on auditions, rather than age. Each student is evaluated on their own skills and is placed in an ensemble that best fits their musical, social and emotional needs.

The Training Orchestra typically consists of 10 – 16 year-old members who have learned the basics of their instrument as well as the fundamentals of reading music. Youth Symphony members are invited to play with the training orchestra as mentors.

The Youth Symphony members are usually 14 – 18 years old, although students of any age who are accomplished on their instruments may audition to join.

Please review the Audition Information section of our website for audition requirements and further details.

Does my child need to have previous orchestral experience or training on an instrument?

Our training and advanced ensembles are for students who play at a skill level that will enable them to be successful in the orchestra, but no previous experience playing in an ensemble or orchestra is required.

Please review the Audition Information section of our website for audition requirements and further details.

When are auditions?

Auditions are held in April, May, June, and July.  If space is still available late auditions will also be opened in August.

Can I observe a rehearsal?

Parents certainly can! We hold open rehearsals and families are welcome to observe. Please sit on chairs along the back wall or sides. Please be respectful of the rehearsal in progress. The fuel room or designated family room is open for waiting families, and children may play in the playground when supervised by an adult.

We encourage prospective students and their families to have a first-hand experience of what we do in the Cherry Creek Youth Symphony. If you’re interested in scheduling an observation, please let us know by sending a message through our contact page and selecting the “Observe a Rehearsal/Class” option from the dropdown menu.

Can parents participate in an ensemble?

CCYS is unique in that parents are also welcome to participate. We like the mentorship model of learning, with older students sitting next to younger ones to coach them and set a good example of technique and etiquette.

In years past, we’ve had a dad play the string bass, another the tuba, a grandfather join the trumpets and a couple of moms on the cello. If you want to dust off your clarinet in the closet and join with your child, we’ll be glad to have you!

Below is a brief description of options for parents interested in participating musically in the orchestra:

  • Parent Student: In the past, we’ve had parents with beginner-level experience sit alongside their child in Training Orchestra and learn as a student. They are considered a Parent Student, and the annual tuition will apply during registration.
  • Parent Mentor (Option 1): Those with more experience often also play alongside the students, sometimes filling in gaps of needed instruments, as a Parent Mentor. Parent Mentors are also required to register, but the tuition is waived.
  • Parent Mentor (Option 2): Other Parent Mentors choose to participate as a coach to the students during sectionals and sometimes fill in as a rehearsal substitute when needed. Parent Mentors are also required to register, but the tuition is waived.

We like to evaluate the skill-level of our parents to help us determine the capacity in which a parent can participate. If this is of interest to you, please let us know and we will schedule a time to play your instrument and discuss the best fit for you, based on the orchestra’s needs.

Are additional materials required?

In addition to their instrument, students will be required to supply their own black 3-ringed binder and pencil (no pens) to bring to each rehearsal and concert.

The Beginning Orchestra will also need to purchase the necessary books (approximately $40).

Students may be asked to print music from the website, when necessary.

Additional items are needed for the following instruments listed below:

  • Cellos: Slip-stop and mute
  • Percussion: Sticks and drum pad
  • Trumpet: Mute
  • Violin & Viola: Shoulder rest and mute

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