How to Apply

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Are you ready to join YOEC?

If you're ready to make great music and great friends in an environment that is both rigorous and fun, YOEC is the place for you. Click the pull-down menu above for ensemble descriptions and audition requirements, then contact us to schedule your child's or teen's audition appointment.

Annual Audition Schedule

Full-school-year members audition in May (new students), June (returning students) and September (summer recruits). Fall recruits and spring-only members can audition in January. Spring-only membership is a great option for students who participate in their school marching band programs.

General Audition Process

All of our placement auditions take place one-on-one with the student and the ensemble director. All auditions follow the same 3-step procedure:

  1. Prepared  piece: the student plays a solo piece of their choice. Whatever they are  currently studying with their private teacher will do.
  2. Scales: the ensemble director will ask the student to play certain scales. The scale selection and tempo will match the general level of their ensemble.
  3. Sight-reading: the ensemble director will place a selection of unfamiliar but level-appropriate sheet music in front of the student, and ask them to play a short portion of it. This is to assess the student's music-reading  ability.

Acceptance Policy

Because YOEC offers ensembles for students at nearly every level of study, from early beginners to conservatory-ready, we are able to place almost every student who auditions for us. If you have followed the eligibility guidelines for our ensembles, your child or teen will be offered a place with us.

General Eligibility Guidelines

Students who are in grades 1 to 12 AND are ages 6 to 18 may audition to be members of YOEC. String students may audition as early as within their first year of study. Flutists and percussionists who have studied for at least 1 full school year are eligible to audition. Other woodwinds and all brass may audition after at least 2 full school years of study. Each ensemble has space for one pianist and one harpist. Auditions for piano or harp will only be held when there is a vacant position.


Youth Orchestras of Essex County is open to all. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, gender or gender identity, sexual preference, physical ability, or ability to pay.

Missed the Audition Date?

 Not to worry! YOEC holds rolling auditions by appointment, and we continue to accept students for the current term for several weeks into the term. Call for an audition appointment. Our executive director and ensemble directors will advise you if your child or teen should begin the following term or if they can jump right in!