Welcome to Lyceum Orchestras! For more information on our three Salt Lake City orchestras, click here. Our American Fork campus features eight audition-only ensembles and is able to place most students in a performing group that meets the student at the threshold of their learning. Lyceum ensembles are divided by ability, not age, although we do require that students be going into 8th-12th grade to audition for Concert Orchestra and 9th-12th grade for Philharmonic. School ensembles come first! We encourage all students to participate in their school ensembles and ask that all participants practice at home and work with a private teacher. Any absence related to participating in school ensembles is excused including missing Lyceum concerts for your school ensembles.
Audition Requirements and Instructions
Auditions for the 2023-24 season are now open! With our convenient recorded auditions, your cell phone recording of a recent recital or solo performance may be all the audition you need! We ask for roughly five minutes of solo playing for Concert or Philharmonic and 2-4 minutes for other ensembles. The solo should demonstrate the strengths of the player, memorization is preferred, accompaniment is optional. Also submit the student playing a scale of their choosing. The scale should highlight student’s mastery of range and tone. Play the maximum number of octaves possible with good tone. The scale and solo can be in separate videos or together. Percussionists must show proficiency on timpani and mallet instruments.
The preferred method is to upload your cell phone video to YouTube, Google Drive, iPhotos, Dropbox or other file sharing format accessible via a link. Copy those links into the appropriate field on our audition form. You should receive a confirmation email upon submission and expect to hear from us soon regarding placement. Please verify that your video link is accessible for others to view (not private). Questions? Contact us at Lyceum@ahsmail.com.
Students currently enrolled in the program who wish to return to the same ensemble may fill out an Intent to Return form. Students wishing to matriculate to the next ensemble must submit an audition by April 21st to receive priority seating and will be notified no later than May 1st regarding next year’s placement. Returning Lyceum students who have not enrolled by May 1st may forfeit their seat to new applicants. Seating is limited in all of our ensembles.
Each year there are usually openings in each of our eight ensembles. New students or students returning after a year or more away, should send in a recorded audition at their earliest convenience to be considered for next season. Priority auditions for the new students wishing to join the 2023-24 season open on May 1st and will remain open through August 23 or until all open seats are filled. If the initial recorded audition does not yield the desired result, students may submit additional auditions for the desired ensemble. Once a student enrolls in an ensemble their placement is considered final for that season.
Following the audition, most applicants receive an email admitting them to one of our eight ensembles and the corresponding summer music festival placement where applicable. Questions about what level is right for you can be answered by the detailed ensemble descriptions on our About Us page. We try to avoid dividing ensembles by Suzuki book or ASTA levels and instead look to universal measures like vibrato, shifting, and the ability to play in difficult key signatures. When choosing an audition solo take these factors into account. For example a string player applying to Prelude needs to be able to play extensions but shifting is optional; Crescendo — limited shifting and some vibrato; Chamber – first through fifth positions and fluent vibrato, Symphonic – shifting into upper positions and difficult key signatures; Concert – full range of the instrument, Philharmonic – mastery and fluency across full range of the instrument. Try to choose a solo and scale that fully demonstrates your current level of mastery across the full range of the instrument.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do returning students have to audition? Only students who wish to move up into the next ensemble should audition. Students wanting to return to the same ensemble where they currently participate can simply fill out the form emailed to families on April 1, 2023. If you did not receive the intent to return form, please email Lyceum@ahsmail.com
Should my child move up an ensemble every year? Almost without exception the answer is no. For example, a violinist’s skill level in our ensembles ranges from middle of Suzuki book 1 for Prelude to approximately Suzuki book 9 for Philharmonic. If you were to make good progress learning the equivalent of 1 book (or level) per year, you would re-enroll in the same ensemble twice along your Lyceum path. Suzuki books are used here as an example, please do not interpret this as us endorsing one learning method over another. Plan on students enjoying two years in at least a couple of ensembles along your way to Philharmonic.
What does “Priority Seating” mean? Returning students who send in their auditions by April 21 are considered for advancement before auditions are considered from applicants new to the Program. For example, if only 2 cellos are graduating from the ensemble the existing participant whishes to join then it is very likely those two open seats will be filled by students auditioning internally before applicants who are new to the program are considered.
When will hear back about our audition placement? Priority auditions for returning students will be notified on or before May 1st. Students have until May 7th to reserve their seat. New students who submit their audition by May 1st will be notified by May 15th. Students who submit their audition by September 1st will be notified prior to the first rehearsal of the year. Auditions are accepted until ensembles are filled. In some cases this occurs in May and in other instances students are accepted mid-season as availability allows.
Is my audition result final? The advantage to auditioning early is that if you don’t like the audition result you have time to submit another audition. Upon request we can provide you with feedback that can help your subsequent auditions meet the performance standard of the ensemble you aspire to join. Just ask, we’re here to help you love music more!
What solo should I play? The most advanced, classical solo you can play well. In addition to overall fluency on the instrument, we are looking for specific things like vibrato, shifting, and key signatures. Fiddle tunes or hymn arrangements may not showcase those skills even if the student possesses them. See the Placement section above for more specifics.
How does age/maturity factor into placement? We place students primarily by skill level but have minimum grades for Philharmonic (9th) and Concert Orchestra (8th). We also take into account the average age of the ensemble and input from directors regarding behavior and maturity.
How hard should my orchestra music be? Not as hard as your solo music! Think about how much time students spend learning one solo piece and how much help they get from a private teacher to learn that one piece, then consider how much music an ensemble learns in a concert cycle. Take into consideration how few rehearsals there are to learn the music and how much less personal attention students get in that learning process. If the orchestra music is as hard or harder than the student’s solo music, that student may be in the wrong ensemble or may need extra help from a musical parent and/or private teacher to be able to properly contribute to the group.
We want the audition process to be fair, convenient and well-communicated. If you have any questions regarding any of the Lyceum programs at American Heritage School, please do not hesitate to contact our Orchestra Manager at Lyceum@ahsmail.com.