Frequently Asked Questions

For which ensemble should my child audition?

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

Junior Strings accepts violin, viola, cello, and bass students through grade 7 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. Students at this level have typically been playing their instruments in their school programs for 1-2 years and may have participated in all-city and all-district events. .

String Orchestra accepts string students through grade 9 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. They may have participated in all-city and all-district events. Students at this level often take private lessons.

Concert Band accepts band students through rising 9th grade who have a solid technique, tone production and articulation. Students should be able to read and execute 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. They may have participated in all-city and all-district events. 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 grade 12. 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 repertoire. They may have participated in all-city and all-district events. Most students are studying privately at this level.

Wind Symphony consists of all wind, brass, and percussion instruments and is open to the high school band student in grades 9-12. This is the highest level BYOV band and students should be prepared for professional level wind symphony repertoire. Sight reading ability should be very high and students need to be comfortable with advanced techniques and musicianship on their instrument. They may have participated in all-city, all-district, and all-state events. All students at this level need to be taking regular private lessons.

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.  They may have participated in all-city, all-district, and all-state events. 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 and communicate to the BYOV staff that you are interested in multiple ensembles. Current members who have aged out of their ensemble but to do not pass the audition in the spring are given an opportunity to return in August to try again. 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 2019-2020 season 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 on financial need.

What is the time commitment and attendance policy?

BYOV ensembles rehearse on Monday and Tuesday evenings during the school year. Our current rehearsal locations are Norview High School (Symphony and Concert Orchestras) and Norview Middle School ( String Orchestra and Junior Strings) on Monday evenings. The Concert Band and Wind Symphony rehearse on Tuesday evenings at Great Bridge Middle School.

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

Junior Strings and Concert Band normally perform two to three concerts per season. String Orchestra three times per season; Concert Orchestra four performances per season, Wind Symphony twice per season, and Symphony Orchestra four to five per season. Special collaborations, outreach concerts, trips, 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 Strings

The Junior String Orchestra is for young musicians through grade 7 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 performs twice during the year to develop poise and performance skills, and also performs in outreach concerts in the community.

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.

Concert Band

This ensemble (formerly Bay Youth Wind Ensemble) explores standard band literature for the middle school band student, with emphasis on improving ensemble skills, tone quality, technique, and musicianship needed to prepare for advanced ensemble programs. The Concert Band is for beginning to intermediate middle school students in grades 7-9, performing in up to three public performances throughout the season. This ensemble also takes regular trips every two to three years to participate in band festivals.

 

Concert Orchestra

The Concert Orchestra is composed of students, generally between the eighth and eleventh grades, 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. Coaches from the Virginia Symphony as well as local music educators give sectional rehearsals to provide additional detailed instruction.  They perform in up to four concert programs throughout the season and are eligible to participate in the BYOV Concerto Competition as well as touring internationally.

Wind Symphony

The Wind Symphony is for serious high school band students who have demonstrated a proficiency on their instrument. Students performing at this level are expected to have a seriousness of purpose and demonstrate not only preparedness for rehearsals, but professional rehearsal behavior. This ensemble performs fully scored works for wind symphony on two performances during the season. This group begins rehearsals in late-November/early-December to accommodate the high school marching band season. Students in grades 9-12 may audition for this ensemble.

The Wind Symphony performs in a concert before the Virginia Wind Symphony in February and on the Finale Concert in May. Members of BYWS are eligible to tour internationally with BYOV. 

Symphony Orchestra

The Symphony Orchestra is for serious student musicians who 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 four to five programs throughout the season. Two unique concerts performed each year are the annual Concerto Concert, and the Side-by-Side Virginia Symphony program. Concerto soloists are chosen from an audition held each December. Finalists perform with the orchestra, allowing the orchestra to develop accompanying skills which require a high level of musicianship. The Side-by-Side concert is an opportunity to rehearse and perform alongside the professional musicians from the Virginia Symphony, under the direction of the Virginia Symphony's Associate Conductor. Members of BYSO are eligible to tour internationally with BYOV.