Audition FAQs

How do I know my student is ready for CPHO?

A student is generally ready after two years of private instruction, though we have had exceptional students with less instruction prove ready for the orchestra. Please refer to our Skills page for information about skill levels for specific instruments.

Personally, musicians should have the maturity to take responsibility for practicing their parts at home. They should understand that the conductor’s corrections are not personal and should accept correction respectfully at rehearsals. And they must be able to sit quietly while the conductor is working with other instrument sections as needed during two hour rehearsals. 

When and where do auditions take place?

Annual auditions take place in the summer preceding the start of fall rehearsals, at the home of the conductor, always with a parent in attendance. Dates will be selected and promoted beginning in the spring. While it is preferred that prospective members audition on the dates advertised, alternate auditions may be scheduled for those who will be traveling or otherwise unavailable for the advertised dates.

Although summer auditions establish the orchestra for the season, the CPHO roster remains open until the first rehearsal of the new calendar year. Depending on the needs of the orchestra, the conductor may continue to audition interested musicians through the fall; please don’t hesitate to contact CPHO for information about joining after the start of the season.

Is everyone who auditions invited to join CPHO?

No! In a smaller orchestra such as ours, nobody can hide in their section – every voice really does matter, because every voice will be heard! Because unskilled musicians could overshadow their sections and be obvious to our audience, auditions are not just a formality; they ensure that our members can at least play our easier parts (please see our Membership page regarding different membership levels.) Auditions also help the conductor gauge the skill level of the orchestra as a whole so that he can choose and arrange appropriate music for all of the musicians.

All invitations to join the orchestra are offered at the discretion of the conductor. Students who do not pass the audition are encouraged to continue working to increase their skills and to re-audition the following year.

Is there a limit to the number of musicians CPHO will accept?

Yes! For the sake of balance there are limits to the number of musicians we can accept playing the same instrument. Positions are offered on a first audition/first accepted basis with returning CPHO members given priority. Once we’ve reached our limit on an instrument, we’ll stop accepting auditions for it.

What instruments are played in CPHO?

In addition to the regular instruments you would expect in an orchestra  – flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussion (including timpani), piano, violin, viola, cello, and double bass – CPHO can often accept students on keyboard, saxophone, bass clarinet, and baritone.

Does CPHO provide instruments to members?

Piano, keyboard, and percussion instruments are provided for members to use at rehearsals and performances.  Members are required to acquire all other instruments for themselves.

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