Is there an appeal process for placement decisions?

  • All placement decisions are final, having been very carefully considered by the VYOA conducting staff
  • Students may be placed on a waiting list if there are more qualified players of a particular instrument than can be accommodated in a specific orchestra. Sometimes this waiting list status may be given alongside a placement to the ensemble a level below
  • Students who decline a placement, thereby skipping a year, and then audition the next season with hopes for a specific placement should be aware that students who are already playing in our groups are given preference for promotion in close placement decisions

Will I be told my chair assignment as part of my placement information?

  • No. In an effort to deliver audition placements as quickly as possible, the VYOA conducting staff does not choose section leaders or make detailed seating decisions until after the placement letters are sent out. The conductors then spend a great deal of time over the summer choosing appropriate stand partners in the strings and deciding on the best way to assign wind, brass, and percussion parts.

I was a member of a VYOA ensemble this season. Doesn’t that mean that I will automatically offered a placement in that ensemble (or the one above it) next season?

  • While it is rare for students to be placed in an ensemble less advanced than the one in which they have been playing, a student’s demonstrated lack of progress or dedication in their ensemble work and/or audition may result in this kind of placement result. No one should take the audition and placement process for granted

How are placement decisions made?

  • The VYOA conducting staff use an evaluation system developed during thousands of auditions over the past two decades and consult closely over the course of auditions to identify and contextualize each student’s current level of development
  • Based on what we learn from the auditions (and to a lesser degree on what we know about students from previous interaction), the VYOA conducting staff aims to find the appropriate placement for over 400 students. Our goal is to offer each student a placement in an ensemble where they will experience personal challenges and growth and shared camaraderie and accomplishment.
  • For some instruments, placements can be heavily influenced by the number of available positions—flute and clarinet, for example, sometimes have more qualified candidates than there are available orchestral chairs. In these cases, students who are qualified for membership in a particular orchestra may be put on a waiting list pending the decisions of students who were placed ahead of them.