Frequently Asked Questions

For which ensemble should my child audition?

There are two important factors to consider:  age and ability.

Junior Strings accepts string students through 7th grade who have solid basic technique of reading notes and rhythms in first position in the keys of D, G and C Major.  For example, students should have finished all techniques in Essential Elements Book I and most of Book II.  This is roughly equivalent to Suzuki Books 1 and 2. They should be able to identify and read notes on all four strings in first position and be able to count and play basic rhythms introduced in those method books.

String Orchestra accepts string students through 9th grade who have excellent instrument position and have studied advanced techniques of shifting, vibrato and 2 octave major and minor scales.  For example, students would have mastered all techniques in Essential Elements Book I and II and have started Book III, also equivalent to Suzuki Book 3.  Students should know how to read and figure out most rhythms, have studied higher positions and are able to play higher level bowing techniques.  Students at this level often take private lessons.

Wind Ensemble accepts band students through rising 9th grade who have a solid technique, tone production and articulation.  Students should be able to read and figure out most rhythms and can identify all notes in the chromatic scale throughout the basic range of their instrument.  For example, they should have completed Standard of Excellence Book I and II and can play their school band music easily.  Students are encouraged to take private lessons. 

Concert Orchestra is open to string, wind, brass and percussion players typical for a symphonic orchestra up to 12th grade.  Students should have a high level of playing with the ability to perform advanced techniques and can sight read level 3-4 music easily.  Students in this orchestra are playing mostly original works of symphonic level played at the advanced high school or professional orchestras.    Most students are studying privately at this level.

Symphony Orchestra is also open to string, wind, brass and percussion players typical for a symphonic orchestra up to 12th grade.  This is the highest level BYOV orchestra and students should be prepared for professional level symphonic music.  Sight reading ability should be very high and students need to be comfortable with advanced techniques and musicianship on their instrument.  All students at this level need to be taking regular private lessons.

If I don't make it into the ensemble of my choice, can I audition for another?

Yes. You will need to schedule a separate audition, however. Starting in 2014, we are scheduling auditions for Symphony and Concert orchestra first, so that students who do not get into these groups can audition later for Strings, Junior Strings, or Wind Ensemble.  Instruments that are often needed throughout the season include viola, bass, and some woodwind and brass instruments. These instruments may be auditioned during the season as needed, until the positions are filled.

What do I have to play for my audition?

Audition requirements for your instrument and ensemble are listed at right and on the Auditions page.

What is the tuition for BYOV?

Tuition is determined each year as part of our annual budgeting process, and rates are announced in June for the upcoming season. Tuition is graduated according to ensemble. Tuition rates for the 2015-2016 can be found on the members section of our website.

At BYOV, we are committed to serving and educating all eligible orchestral players, regardless of their ability to pay. If your student passes an audition successfully, you may apply for financial aid during our online registration process. We offer full and partial scholarships, and opportunities for work study. These are given out based primarily on financial need.

What is the time commitment and attendance policy?

Most BYOV ensembles rehearse on Monday evenings. Our current rehearsal locations are Norview High School (Symphony and Concert) and Norview Middle School ( Strings, and Junior Strings.) Wind Ensemble rehearses on Tuesday evenings at Greenbrier Middle School.

Rehearsal length varies by group, from one hour (Junior Strings)  to 2.5 hours (Symphony).

Junior Strings and Wind Ensemble normally perform two concerts per season. String Orchestra normally performs three times per season; Concert Orchestra gives approximately four performances per season, and Symphony, four to five. Special collaborations, outreach concerts, tours, and other events vary by season.

Regular attendance at rehearsals is mandatory for membership. For each concert preparation period, two excused absences are allowed for Concert and Symphony, and three excused absences for the other ensembles.  More missed rehearsals may result in probation or dismissal.

Audition Requirements

Please note: Students should take these requirements to their private lesson teacher to ensure they are prepared for an audition with BYOV.

For tips on preparing for your BYOV audition, click HERE.

Junior String Orchestra

The Junior String Orchestra is for young musicians who are beginning note readers but can demonstrate a good foundation in playing technique. The emphasis in rehearsal will be establishing good rehearsal discipline, rhythmic and note reading skills as well as understanding harmony in ensemble music. This group will perform twice during the year to develop poise and performance skills. Junior Strings is comprised of students through Grade 7.

String Orchestra

The String Orchestra is composed of students who have progressed to the intermediate level of performance on their instrument, having mastered the basic skills level (generally after two or three years of instruction). This group studies string arrangements of the chamber and symphonic literature, developing ensemble in a disciplined rehearsal atmosphere. Sight-reading as well as performance skills development are emphasized. Public performances, at least twice a season, give students the opportunity to demonstrate their progress.String Orchestra is comprised of students through Grade 9.

Wind Ensemble

This ensemble will explore standard wind ensemble literature . This group focuses on improving ensemble skills, tone quality, technique and musicianship needed to prepare for advanced full orchestra positions and high school band programs. BYWE will perform on at least two concerts during the year. An audition is not required for the 2016-2017 season. This ensemble is for students through rising 9th grade. Check back on April 4 to apply online!


Concert Orchestra

The Concert Orchestra is composed of students through twelfth grade who have demonstrated an advanced level of playing on their instrument. This group studies and performs master works for symphony and chamber orchestra. The emphasis is on training: acquisition of advanced technical and musical skills, rehearsal discipline and advanced ensemble playing. Public performances are scheduled three or four times a year.

Symphony Orchestra

The Symphony’s members (through grade 12) have demonstrated a proficiency on their instrument that will enable them to meet the challenges of performing some of the world’s greatest and most challenging instrumental music. Students performing at this level are expected to have a seriousness of purpose and demonstrate not only preparedness for rehearsals, but professional rehearsal behavior. The symphony will perform three to four programs per season.