We want to ensure that all eligible young musicians apply for the opportunity to take part in Scotland’s National Youth Orchestras. If you don't see an answer to your question below please contact Head of Ensembles, Judith Archibald by phone on 0141 332 8311 or via email juditharchibald@nyos.co.uk

What is the Closing Date for Applications?

The closing date for all applications is midnight on Friday 20 September 2019.

Do I Qualify?

You qualify to apply to the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland if you are Scottish and aged between 8-25 years old, or have Scottish links i.e.

  • Live in Scotland
  • Study in Scotland
  • Have family ties in Scotland but live elsewhere

If you meet any of these criteria then we would like to hear from you!

Am I good enough?

Our guidelines for the appropriate standard are as follows:

NYOS Junior Orchestra (aged 8 and over):   ABRSM Grade 5

NYOS Senior Orchestra (aged 12 and over): ABRSM Grade 7

NYOS Symphony Orchestra - The National Youth Orchestra of Scotland (aged 25 and under): ABRSM Grade 8

I haven't sat the exam, can I still apply?

YES. Our guidelines are just that: guidelines. We don’t need to see any certificates but we do need you to make a realistic assessment of your potential. In any case, auditioning for NYOS is FREE and preparing for the audition will provide you with invaluable experience.

May I apply on more than one instrument?

YES, but please complete a separate application form for each instrument. Please note that a doubling instrument (i.e. cor anglais, piccolo, bass clarinet etc.) does not require a separate form. However, if you intend to offer this at audition please include the applicable excerpt in your preparation as well as one accompanied piece.

What will I have to prepare?

To be considered for the NYOS Junior or Senior Orchestras you should prepare one accompanied piece. To be considered for the NYOS Symphony Orchestra, we will expect to hear two contrasting pieces (one of which can be unaccompanied). In addition candidates should prepare the relevant orchestral excerpts all of which can be found here.

If you wish to offer a doubling instrument, an additional excerpt must be prepared along with one accompanied piece on this instrument. Sight reading may also be given.

When will auditions take place?

Auditions will be held during October, November and December 2019 for entry into the 2020 classical orchestras.

Where will auditions take place?

There are two audition methods open to all applicants. Candidates can submit a recorded audition (please continue reading for more information) or, subject to demand, NYOS will hold auditions in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and London.  Please note that due to audition venue accessibility, live Harp and Percussion auditions will only be held in Glasgow, or alternatively a recorded audition can be submitted.

If my audition date does not suit, can I change it?

If you have elected to attend an audition at a preferred location and your allocated date and/or time is not suitable, please let us know as soon as possible and we will do what we can to re-arrange it for you. Alternatively, you may want to consider submitting a recorded audition (details below).

Can I submit a recorded audition?

Yes, all recorded auditions can now be submitted to the NYOS website via Youtube. You do not require a Youtube account to upload an unlisted video, though you may need to create a Google account. Please follow the intructions within our Recording Guidelines

Recordings must be of sufficient quality and must be submitted to the NYOS website NO LATER than Friday 25 October 2019.

If we do not think that your recording is of sufficient quality you may be asked to attend an audition in person.

Please note that accompanied pieces should be recorded with piano. Excerpts are expected to be played unaccompanied.

Can I bring my own accompanist to the audition?

No.  NYOS will provide an official accompanist at all auditions. Candidates will have the opportunity to have a short 5-10 minute run-through their accompanied audition piece(s) with the official accompanist before going in to play to the audition panel. Orchestral excerpts will not be accompanied.

If you intend to submit a recording instead of attending an audition, it will be your responsibility to find an accompanist.

Why orchestral excerpts instead of sight reading?

Orchestral excerpts are the standard for orchestral auditions across the world and allow us to judge an applicant’s musical awareness beyond the confines of a piece, which may have been prepared over a period of many months. Frequently we encounter applicants who play brilliantly in audition but struggle in an orchestral setting.

How do I prepare the excerpts?

Whether applying for the Junior Orchestra for the first time, or whether a seasoned NYOS member, we want to judge whether the applicant understands the excerpt from a broad perspective. This means not only playing the notes correctly but being aware of rhythmic complexities and other musical nuances. The ONLY way to prepare orchestral excerpts is by listening to a recording of the piece. We are especially keen to ascertain which students have worked out what is going on in the rest of the orchestra as well as in their own part. We might even ask them to tell us something about the piece.

When will I hear about the result of my audition?

Results will be emailed to all candidates once all the auditions have taken place and certainly by the end of December.

What are the course dates for 2020?

Please find the course dates for all classical orchestral courses here

Is there financial support available?

No student who successfully auditions for any NYOS ensemble will miss out due to financial circumstances.

Please click here to see details of the payment options available

Click here to see our Directory of Trusts & Foundations

Click here to see to see the Local Authority contact list

NYOS bursaries are also available to help those who genuinely can't afford to pay the fees. For more information, or to make an application, please contact Carol Biggar, Finance Manager, at the NYOS office on 0141 332 8311 or email carolbiggar@nyos.co.uk

Do I need to be available for all course dates?

We expect students to be available for all the course dates, however if you do have any problems with the dates then please get in touch with Head of Ensembles, Judith Archibald by phone 0141 332 8311 or email juditharchibald@nyos.co.uk to discuss this.

Students may be excused from a course for one of the following reasons:

  • The student is already representing their country with another national music organisation e.g. NYOGB, NYCGB etc.
  • The student is representing their country in another activity e.g. sport.
  • The student is required to attend activities relating to further education studies e.g. university terms clash

Students may not be excused for one of the following reasons:

  • The student has chosen to attend another course or activity knowing that it will clash with a NYOS course with no mention to NYOS.
  • Their family has booked a holiday.
  • The related activity is of local or school level.


What are the annual membership fees?

Details of the annual membership fees for each orchestra can be found here

Further Information

If you still have questions please contact Head of Ensembles, Judith Archibald by phone on 0141 332 8311 or via email at juditharchibald@nyos.co.uk