The MSYO provides young talented musicians with the unique opportunity and experience of playing in a full symphony orchestra ensemble with strings, winds, brass and percussion. This is a place where music students are surrounded by like-minded individuals from all over the region who enjoy making music together. Young musicians have the opportunity to work with experienced music educators, coaches and talented conductors.
Auditions are open to all traditional orchestra instruments in the sections of Strings, Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion. This includes flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, all percussion, violin, viola, cello, and string bass.
Auditions for instruments that are only occasionally used in symphony orchestra repertoire, such as saxophone, harp, piano and English horn, may be accepted at the discretion of the Music Director.
The MSYO does not currently offer an ensemble for those just starting on a instrument. We recommend students take lessons with a private instructor for a minimum of 1 year or be in their music school program for 2-3 years before considering joining MSYO. Ensemble experience is recommended but not required.
MSYO auditions are held in May prior to the start of the following new concert season. The best time to send your application is in early spring. For more audition information, current audition dates, or to register for an audition visit the MSYO audition page or contact us by email. August audition dates are added only as needed to fill available seats at the discretion of the Music Director.
The MSYO’s two ensembles are arranged by student’s age and experience. The Concert orchestra is a preparatory group that works on building a musical foundation through classical pieces that are arranged for younger musicians. The Symphony Orchestra is a more advanced group that focuses on performing original classical repertoire at a professional level.
Concert Orchestra (grades 5-9) Intermediate Level.
Symphony Orchestra (grades 9-12) Advanced Level.
After the May auditions, additional auditions may be scheduled throughout the MSYO season at the discretion of the Music Director. Mid-season auditions will only be for open seats. Please see the MSYO audition page for an updated list of openings.
Movement from Concert Orchestra to Symphony Orchestra is based on the results of the audition held each spring. Students must demonstrate a high level of technical expertise in this audition and students in 9th and 10th grade may be asked to continue another year in Concert Orchestra. It is not unusual for a student to audition multiple times before acceptance and you are encouraged to ask for feedback from your audition to understand the areas in which you need to work.
MSYO is a season-long commitment. Consistent attendance and preparation at rehearsals is essential to performance quality, educational value, morale of the ensemble, and retention of membership. Please see the member handbook for more detailed information on MSYO requirements.
Rehearsals are held in the CSU Stanislaus music building. Both the Concert Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra rehearse every Wednesday from 4:30-6:30pm. For more detailed information, please see the season calendar.
MSYO requires 2 hours of rehearsal weekly, plus the retreats, concerts, and dress rehearsals throughout the season. In addition, students are expected to practice their music outside of the rehearsal between three to six hours a week depending on what is needed to prepare passages for performance.
Sports and MSYO do not have to be mutually exclusive. If games and practices conflict with MSYO rehearsals, you’ll have to talk to your conductor ahead of time about whether it is possible to contribute adequately to both groups. Most sports only conflict with part of the MSYO season, so it is possible to participate in some, but not all, of the concerts throughout the year.
We understand that MSYO members, who are often leaders in their school music programs, are urged to participate and meet all the responsibilities of rehearsing and performing in those programs. The MSYO makes every effort to avoid conflicts with District and All State Festivals, SAT’s, etc.
MSYO programs are designed to complement members’ personal music development – not be a substitute for other means of instruction. The MSYO strongly suggests that all members contribute their talents to their appropriate school instrumental program, where available. This supports our school music curriculum and helps to provide strong leadership and musical role models in the school environment. We believe in the value of music education in collaboration with our community.
We strongly encourage students to take weekly private lessons to develop their individual technique and musicality to the highest level possible. The value of individualized instruction on one’s instrument is unmeasurable. A list of private instructors is available upon request. It is in the students’ best interest to study with a professional who has credentials and experience with the particular instrument.
MSYO tuition is $440 per season when paid in a lump sum at the beginning of the year or $480 per season if paid via a payment plan. MSYO families with more than one child participating in any given year will receive a 20% sibling discount after the first full tuition. Please note that it is the family’s responsibility to keep all active MSYO members’ tuition accounts in good standing. The MSYO reserves the right to not allow participation in concerts if a member has an outstanding tuition balance and there are no prior arrangements made with the Finance Department.
The Modesto Symphony Orchestra believes that everyone should have access to music education and we strive to make our programs available to all students, regardless of their financial background. Need-based financial assistance is available to help MSYO members cover the cost of tuition.
Most MSYO members are grades 5 through 12. However, auditions are open to any musician through the age of 19. The MSYO will not accept members who are younger than 5th grade.