Who can apply for the SNYO auditions?
If you are a young musician between 10 and 18 years old (as at the date of the audition) with a strong passion for orchestral music, the SNYO may be the place for you! You may audition on any standard orchestral instruments:
violin, viola, cello, double bass
flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon
horn, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, tuba
harp, timpani and percussion
For questions regarding auditions on the piano and other instruments, please refer below.
Can I still join the orchestra if I play the piano?
There are also opportunities for young pianists between 10 and 13 years old (as at the date of the audition), who are Singapore Citizen or PR, and interested to learn an orchestral instrument to audition to join the SNYO. For those successful at the audition, the instrument will be assigned by the audition panel based on the needs of the orchestra.
We welcome pianists between the ages of 10 to 13 who have achieved a performance standard of at least an Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Grade 8 and are interested to learn an orchestral instrument in order to play in an ensemble to audition with us.
I play a band instrument which is not a standard orchestral instrument. Can I still apply?
Yes! Even if you play a non-standard orchestral instrument like euphonium or saxophone, you may apply to audition on the instrument you currently play. At the time of audition, you should be Singapore Citizen or PR. Should your audition into the SNYO be successful, you will be assigned to learn an orchestral instrument.

You may choose to play contrasting excerpts from your band piece(s) for the audition and/or a piece of your choice and an etude. We will suggest that you avoid pieces from the graded music exam syllabus.
Are there any prerequisites for the audition?
The SNYO auditions for violin and cello are highly competitive, and we receive a high volume of applicants at each audition. Violinists and cellists are expected to play above the standard of the ABRSM Grade 8 at their audition. Your fluency in scales and arpeggios are expected. Please note our new audition requirements which include excerpts for violin and cello, which you may download from our Audition Information page.
For applicants auditioning on the piano, the expected playing level will be above the ABRSM Grade 8 standard. Only pianists aged 10-13 who are Singapore Citizen or PR are eligible to apply.
For applicants on all other instruments, there are no prerequisites regarding prior music qualifications.
Can I still apply if I do not fulfil some prerequisites?
At the SNYO, we believe that young talents can be nurtured to achieve musical excellence. Achievement in graded examinations are not the sole indicator for talent and potential. We will consider other factors in your application and your application may still be considered even if you do not fulfil all the audition prerequisites.
We seek your understanding that applications which do not meet the requirements regarding age and citizenship will not be shortlisted for the auditions.
What should I prepare for the audition?
Scales: Scales and arpeggios assessed in the audition will not be limited to any music examination syllabus by examination boards. If you are a violinist, cellist or pianist, you must be able to play scales in all keys (major and minor) from memory. For audition candidates on other instruments, you are recommended to be able to play a few major and minor scales.
PiecesYou will need to prepare to perform *two contrasting pieces from different musical eras. Accompanists are not allowed in the audition. The pieces may be of any duration, but in the interest of time, the audition panel may stop you before you finish the entire piece. It is recommended to not choose a piece used in graded examinations.
Examples of good audition pieces include movements from a concerto or sonata, or etudes, which demonstrate technical facility and musicality.
*Violin and cello applicants need prepare only 1 piece along with the provided excerpts.
Percussion applicants are to prepare 1 piece for pitched percussion and 1 piece for unpitched percussion.
Excerpts: If you are auditioning on the violin or cello, you will be expected to prepare the excerpts listed on our Audition Information page.
Musicianship Tests: You may be given a piece to sight-read at the audition. Sight-reading is an important skill as the SNYO musicians are expected to learn new pieces quickly and regularly for concerts. In addition, you may be assessed on your aural, sight-singing or rhythm skills. The audition panel may also have a short chat with you to get to know you better.
I have submitted my application. What do I do?
Keep practising! We will try to get back to your application within 2 weeks. If you are still unsure whether we have received your application, you may drop us an email or make an enquiry via our website.
What is the audition panel looking for in candidates?
The audition panel is looking for a combination of qualities, including but not limited to: tone quality, intonation, accuracy of rhythm accompanied by strong sense of pulse, and musicality.
Candidates who do well at the auditions tend to demonstrate a sense of musicality through stylistic awareness and interpretation as well as observance of musical expressions and details such as dynamics, articulation and phrasing. Good musicianship skills are also important, and may be assessed through aural, rhythm, sight-singing or sight-reading tests.
For candidates auditioning on instruments that are highly competitive such as the violin, cello and piano, we expect a higher level of technical competency and demonstrated mastery of all major and minor scales. In SNYO, we strive to develop ensemble and orchestral skills in our members, which are different skill sets required from solo playing. We therefore look for candidates who have a strong interest to play in an orchestra and enjoy playing in a group as well.
What should I wear to the audition?
Though we do not have a dress code for the audition, please dress appropriately and comfortably. It is also preferable to wear covered shoes and not slippers or sandals.
Will I have time to warm up?
It is recommended that you warm up at home before arriving at the audition venue. Audition applicants will be allocated a short warm-up time prior to the audition.
Will I have to memorise the music?
You will not have to memorise the music. Music stands will be provided for your use during the audition.
What if I can’t make it to the audition? Can I reschedule?
If you can’t make it to the audition, you will be required to notify us via email ( as soon as possible. If you are still keen to audition and meet the age requirements, please submit a new audition application via our website when the next application cycle opens.
Will I definitely play on the instrument that I auditioned on?
Based on the needs of the orchestra, we may on occasion propose a switch of instrument (for instance, from violin to viola or even double bass) when there are opportunities to develop and expand the potential of our members. These proposals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Those auditioning on non-standard orchestral instruments, however, will be required to pick up a new standard orchestral instrument in order to join the SNYO.
For those who are offered the opportunity to learn a new instrument, the SNYO will assign you under the Individual Instrument Tuition Scheme (IITS). Details regarding the scheme can be browsed here:
Do I need to join a CCA in school if I successfully join the SNYO?
The SNYO is recognised by the Ministry of Education (MOE) as an official Co-Curricular Activity (CCA). If you are studying in an MOE school, your participation in the SNYO will count towards your CCA points. However, if you have enrolled in your school via the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme, please do check with your school teacher in-charge regarding the expected level of commitment and you may have to prioritise the relevant school-based CCA and balance it with your external CCA(s).
My audition was not successful this time. Can I apply to audition again?
As entry into the SNYO is highly-competitive, applicants may consider to audition again if your first audition was not successful.
For those who intend to apply to audition again, do note that the SNYO will only be able to consider your application after one year (from your most recent audition date), in order for your musical development and for you to demonstrate progress as well as significant improvement in your playing.
We seek your understanding that the SNYO is unable to provide feedback regarding your audition due to the high volume of audition applications that we receive.
For prospective applicants, you may also refer to the next section of Audition Tips.


Preparing for the audition:

  • Submit your application before the deadline (one month before the audition date)
  • Plan your practice – remember that all components of the audition are important
  • Make sure you read all the audition information carefully
  • Find out how to get to the audition venue beforehand – be sure that you can find your way there and that you will arrive at the audition venue punctually
  • Ensure that your instrument is in good shape, and bring along spare accessories just in case
  • Get sufficient rest before the audition

On the audition day:

  • Do plan to arrive punctually for your audition as this gives you ample time to calm down and warm up before the audition
  • Ensure that you are not distracted by feeling hungry or thirsty during the audition as it could affect your performance
  • Put your best foot forward in the audition and enjoy every minute of it!