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About Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra and Hertfordshire Schools' Symphony Orchestra

The Hertfordshire Schools Symphony Orchestra and the Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra are auditioned ensembles.

Please note that although you can audition for both ensembles you will only be offered a place in one or the other. A guide to the standard is HSSO Grade 7+ and HCYO Grade 8+, but please note this is only a guide and you do not have to have completed exams to apply.

You will be placed in the orchestra we believe is more appropriate for you, your musical development, and your academic year. 

If you are successful, you’ll hear back from us by Friday 13 October 2023, and be invited to a trial day on Sunday 22 October 2023.

Our trial day is designed to get our returning orchestra members, and successful auditionees together at the beginning of the year so that everyone can get to know each other, and allow our tutors to decide upon seating positions within the orchestra that will support your development.

On the day, tutors will move people around within the sections, and may try different players in Principal or Sub-Principal positions to get a sense of your leadership skills. Not all players will be trialled in every seating position within your section, and you will only be trialled for a principal position if it is something you are interested/comfortable with. You can also indicate on your application form if you are keen to be considered for a principal position.

What do I need to prepare for my video audition?

Once you have completed your CYMG application form, you should start preparing the following for your video audition:

  • A 3–5-minute piece of your choice, or extract of a piece
  • 2x orchestral excerpts for your main instrument (details can be found in the right hand side of this page)

Solo pieces are an opportunity for you to showcase yourself as a musician. The choice of repertoire is completely up to you, but we recommend playing something you are comfortable with.We want to get a sense of your musical expression and technical ability through this piece.

You do not need to play with piano accompaniment, but you may do so if you wish.

Orchestral Excerpts

You must prepare one excerpt from group A, one from group B, in addition to a 3-5 min piece of your choice. 

The provided excerpts are for both HCYO and HSSO auditions.

Orchestral excerpts are an important part of the audition, and you are encouraged to prepare them thoroughly with your teacher. You may want to do some research on the pieces and listen to some recordings.

How to submit your video audition

Please email your audition video link to with the following email subject line: 

HCYO/HSSO AUDITION [delete as appropriate] – NAME – INSTRUMENT.

Please address the email to the County Activities Team.

Video audition submission deadine: Friday 29 September 2023

You must let us know well before this date if you are experiencing any difficulties by emailing

Important things to note when recording and uploading your video audition!

  • Video auditions must be recorded in one take with both audio and video, and uploaded to YouTube as an ‘unlisted’ video.

    When the video is uploaded and is set to ‘unlisted’ rather than ‘public’ it will only be made available to those who have the link. This is the most effective way to share your audition tape with us.

  • Please indicate the name of the piece you have chosen and which excerpt(s) you are playing in the description of the YouTube video.

  • Ensure you are clearly visible in the middle of the camera frame and arrange the camera and lighting so that you and your instrument are clearly visible. For string players, ensure that the bow and fingerboard are in full view.

  • Make sure the sound is as clear as possible – don’t cover up your device’s microphone!

County Activites Team contact information

Tel.: 01438 843797

We are based at Hertfordshire Music Service Central Office, Mid-Herts Centre for Music & Arts, Birchwood Avenue, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 0PS.