YOBC ENSEMBLE PLACEMENT
for New & Returning Students
 
YOBC strives to unite artistry and education to create enriching ensemble experiences for young musicians. We are fortunate to have more than 10 different ensembles at YOBC, and we aim to place students in the band or orchestra that will best help them succeed.
 
Auditions for New Students
Auditions for new students are held in May, with placement decisions following shortly thereafter. Our judges take into consideration the expected improvement during the 4-month period between May auditions and the beginning of the season in September.
 
Placement for Current Students
Returning students, on the other hand, receive placement recommendations from YOBC conductors following season-long evaluation. A conductor may recommend a student either be placed in a different group or continue participating in their current ensemble.
 
Both recommendations are common, and a student who is asked to remain in his or her current ensemble should not view this as a punishment. Instead, it is simply because the conductor believes the student's current ensemble is still appropriate for his or her skill level. Our goal is to find a group that is sufficiently challenging, without going so far as to frustrate or discourage. And while we do acknowledge the value of peer groups, placement in any ensemble is contingent only on musicianship and not a student's age.
 
Placement Requirements
YOBC is frequently asked what a student can do to satisfy the requirements for placement in the next ensemble. To fully answer this question would require in-depth explanation of all the skills a musician requires. The short answer, however, is “practice.”
 
Practicing is the most dependable way to improve one's musical abilities, and therefore the best way to prepare for higher-level YOBC ensembles. That said, every individual learns at a different pace, and how long it takes for a student to be ready to move up is determined on a case-by-case basis. Still, there are two main areas where students can aim to improve:
 
  • Technique, or how well a student can play his or her instrument, is one of the most fundamental criteria for determining ensemble placement. Technique is typically improved by practice at home and by studying with a private teacher. The best way a student can demonstrate his or her technique at YOBC is through careful preparation of the ensemble repertoire, thereby illustrating both the ability to perform challenging repertoire and dedication to the ensemble.
  • Ensemble skills, on the other hand, are evaluated during rehearsals all year. Ensemble skills include behavioral attributes such as attentiveness and etiquette as well as musical skills like counting, sight reading, following the conductor, and playing in unison with the rest of the ensemble.
 
If a student continues to cultivate his or her skills in both of these categories, he or she will undoubtedly enjoy a successful and positive experience at YOBC.

 

String Placement for Current Students

Wind/Percussion Placement for Current Students

Orchestral Placement for Current Winds/Percussion Students

 

FAQs

You will find the following information helpful in answering questions frequently asked about placement in YOBC ensembles.

 

Are YOBC ensembles based on age or ability?

How long will a student stay in each ensemble?

When will ensemble assignments be made?

Can students be promoted during the year if they improve?

What is the right level of challenge for students?

Are YOBC ensembles based on age or ability?

YOBC ensembles are ability-based. Students are assigned to the ensemble that best matches their technical, musical, and ensemble skill set. Students in each ensemble may vary in age by as much as 4-5 years. Assignment to Advanced Division ensembles is made with additional consideration for ensemble balance and instrumentation.

 

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How long will a student stay in each ensemble?

Since student placement is based on their demonstrated skills, there is not a specified length of time that they will be assigned to spend in each ensemble. As a general rule, students should expect to spend more than one year each ensemble.

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When will ensemble assignments be made?

Students will be notified of their ensemble placement for next year after the spring concert, prior to registration.

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Can students be promoted during the year if they improve?

YOBC’s focus/curriculum is on building the concept of ensemble playing. Therefore, changes to ensemble assignments will not be made during the school year. It is our expectation that each and every student will be improving throughout the season. Therefore, the ensemble itself will also improve and grow musically as the year progresses.

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What is the right level of challenge for students?

The ideal learning environment should offer students a level of challenge that fosters learning. Often students will identify only music containing technical difficulty as challenging. However, the technical challenges of music represent only a small portion of the musical skills students need to master. Repertoire with limited technical challenge will allow the conductor to focus on the important challenges of playing in tune with themselves and other students; playing a phrase musically; playing with a good, clear sound and correct articulation; and building other ensemble skills. Rather than having students wholly concentrating on technical difficulties, pieces with fewer technical demands allow the conductor to better engage students' ears toward tuning, timing, and expression as a unit. Conductors will also select some pieces that provide technical challenge. These pieces are do-able but will require more practice and concentration. Each conductor gives careful attention to choosing repertoire that is challenging on all of these levels, to help maximize student learning.

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