Gustavus Orchestra Strings Audition Information2023-2024

Do I have to audition to participate in the orchestras?

Yes. All students, new and returning, must audition for placement in ensembles. We (the music faculty) strongly encourage all of you to “make a case” for your desired placement by preparing your audition in a serious and thorough manner.

When and where are the auditions and how do I sign up for auditions?

First year students: Auditions for first year students will be held on Sunday, Sep. 3, 2023 in the afternoon in FAM 308. If you were unable to mark a preference for audition on the form submitted for fall registration, please please email Justin Knoepfel - . You will then receive an email in early August with your exact time and location for auditions.

Returning students: Returning student auditions are held in the spring following the final concert of the year. 

What should I prepare for the auditions?

  • 3-5 minutes of a solo, sonata, or concerto piece or excerprt of your choice. The solo repertoire does not need to be memorized, but please bring one extra copy of music for the panel. You do not need to bring a pianist or worry about the accompaniment.
  • Prepare all bracketed excerpts (#1-4, see link below)
  • Sight-reading (provided at the audition)
  • Scales (2-3 octave, major scales)

String Audition Excerpts

What are the faculty listening for during auditions?
  • Good tone quality
  • Steady sense of pulse and rhythm
  • Good intonation
  • Expressiveness

Advice regarding auditions:

  • Be on time. This means being early and warming up before your audition, getting yourselves physically and mentally prepared for the audition.
  • Recordings can be helpful in preparing the orchestral excerpts, it may offer ideas concerning appropriate tempo, articulation, and style.
  • Be prepared. While it is often the case that returning students will successfully audition and be placed into the ensembles that they have previously participated in, it is possible that ill-prepared auditions may result in placement of a different ensemble. Therefore, take the auditions seriously and prepare thoroughly. If you find that you tend to be nervous for auditions, try to find opportunities before your audition to perform your solo piece in public. (i.e. churches, community centers, nursing homes) Although it may be more difficult to practice sight-reading, it is possible by starting your practice session everyday with sight-reading of 16 measures or so of exercises from your technique books. 
  • Relax and have fun. While the music faculty places a great value on these auditions, remember that we sincerely want you to do well.

If you have any questions, please contact