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 via email Ensembles@nyos.co.uk

What is the Closing Date for Applications?

The closing date for all applications is midnight on Tuesday 28 September 2021. Please note that you must apply to NYOS before you are able to submit an audition.

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 piece.

What will I have to prepare?

All applicants are put through the same audition process, meaning you apply to NYOS as a whole and, if successful, are invited to join the orchestra appropriate for your experience and that the audition panel feel you are best suited to. In preparing for your audition, if you are aiming to gain a position in the Junior orchestra please submit one piece and one excerpt, for the Senior orchestra please submit one piece along with two excerpts and if aiming for the Symphony orchestra, please submit two contrasting pieces and two excerpts. We understand that applicants may not have access to an accompanist so we are happy to accept unaccompanied pieces or indeed accompanied pieces but without the piano part. 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.

When will auditions take place?

All auditions are completed by submitting a video recording to us. There are no in-person auditions. You will be asked to submit your recording by Friday 25 October 2021 for entry into the 2022 classical orchestras.

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 instructions within our Recording Guidelines.

Recordings must be of sufficient quality and must be submitted to the NYOS website NO LATER than Friday 25 October 2021.

Please make sure your recording is of sufficient quality to ensure you have the best possible chance of gaining a position in NYOS.

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 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.

When will I hear about the result of my audition?

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

What are the course dates for 2022?

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.

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, by 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 email ensembles@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 have any further questions please contact us via email at ensembles@nyos.co.uk