Audition for SOA

Orchestra Program Summary

In the School of the Arts Orchestras, string majors learn the technical and musical skills they will need to be successful in advanced level middle and high school orchestras and to be successful in Regional, State and National Competitions. The individual and orchestral education that students receive at SOA will prepare them for college level orchestras. This includes the study of classical technique; how to hold and manipulate the instrument to produce desired tones, as well as developing an understanding of rhythm, pitch, articulation, style, dynamics, phrasing, and more. Students also have the opportunity to create their own music, listen and discuss music performed by others and learn the theory that applies to their musical education.

 The success of the SOA orchestras depends in part upon a balanced numbers of violins, violas, cellos and basses. Students and parents must be aware that instrumentation needs are considered when accepting students. In middle school, there is often more need for viola, cello and string bass. In high school there is more opportunity to be able to accept all instruments, but also with consideration to instrumentation needs. For this reason, students/parents should let adjudicators know if they are interested or would be willing to change to an instrument that may be needed.

Audition Process

Students must be residents of Charleston County to audition for SOA. The CCSD Magnet School Registration process usually begins in late December/early January of the year prior to the school year for enrollment. Parents must register their child for an audition through the CCSD website; if you have difficulty, please call SOA and our admissions staff can help. Once the child is registered for an audition, they will be given an audition date and time, usually in late February/early March. Students are to show up at least 30 minutes prior to their audition time to check in at the front office, find the audition room, unpack and warm up. The audition usually takes between 5 and 8 minutes per student. Parents must remain in the parent waiting area; parents are not allowed in the audition room or warm up room. Results are mailed out after the audition process is complete in mid March.

Orchestra Audition Expectations

In the audition, students will demonstrate their musical and technical ability on their instrument by performing a prepared solo, required scales and a sight reading sample. The scoring of their performance is based on correct bow hold and instrument position, the accuracy of pitch and rhythm, and the production of an even, solid tone. The minimum requirements are listed below, however students who are able to play more challenging scales and solos are encouraged to do so, but only if they can play the harder repertoire successfully.

Scales should be played in tune with excellent position and tone, demonstrating full bows at a consistent tempo (quarter = 40).  Solos should be performed in tune, with excellent position and tone at the correct musical tempo. To demonstrate their sight reading ability, students will be shown a sample of music for 30 seconds and then asked to play it back on their instrument demonstrating correct pitch, rhythms and bowings.

Orchestra Audition Requirements: Students may play solos or scales that are more difficult than these minimum requirements.

  • 6th Grade: A. Two one-octave major scales. B. Any solo from, or equivalent to Suzuki Book 1. C. Sight Reading 
  • 7th Grade: A. Two two-octave major scales. B. Any solo from, or equivalent to Suzuki Book 2. C. Sight Reading 
  • 8th Grade: A. Two-octave C, G and D Major scales. B. Any solo from Suzuki Book 3/equivalent C. Sight Reading 
  • 9th Grade: A. Two-octave F and B-flat major scales. B. Any solo from Suzuki Book 4/equivalent.C. Sight Reading 
  • 10th Grade: A. Three-octave D and G major scales. B. Any solo from Suzuki Book 5/equivalent. C. Sight Reading 
  • 11th Grade: A. Three-octave D & G melodic minor scales. B. Any solo from Suzuki Book 6/equivalent. C. Sight Reading
Christopher Selby,
Sep 20, 2018, 11:41 AM