National Youth Orchestra of Wales Audition - Ifan Llywelyn

I was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales (the “Nash”) for the fifth time this year – for the first couple of years I was on violin but for the last three years I have been on trombone. I like both sections equally – but there are more ‘rests’ in the trombone parts!

I’ve been auditioned on both instruments each year. When you have submitted your application form (or forms, if you want an audition on more than one instrument) you will receive a link to the ‘audition pack’ for your instrument. Everyone who applies is given an audition. This year’s audition packs can be seen here:

You will need to choose two contrasting pieces of grade 8 standard or above – but you don’t have to have taken the grade 8 exam (or any exams at all). You can check in the syllabus, or old syllabuses, to see what pieces are of the required standard. One of them is usually expected to be a twentieth-century piece. The people auditioning you will be very friendly, but you will still probably feel nervous (if you’re like me), so it’s worth choosing pieces you can play confidently and well!

You will need to play a selection of scales, arpeggios, chromatics etc, as on the ABRSM grade 8 list. There are further instructions for individual instruments in the audition guidelines. Everyone hates scales, but getting these right is an easy way of gaining easy marks on the day.

You will need to prepare orchestral exerpts from your audition pack. These can be quite tricky, so it’s worth investing time to getting them right, as they are considered important. You will need to make sure that you take note of all the markings on the copy, and it’s worth looking up any terms you don’t understand in a dictionary, as they will often ask you the meaning of a specific term in the audition. It is also worth trying to listen to recordings of the pieces (most of them will be on Youtube), so that you can get a really good idea of the character and tempo of the piece.

Finally you will be given two short pieces for sight reading in the audition room – you will be given a few minutes to prepare these and to play them through. You will need to be careful with any tricky rhythms, complicated accidentals, or with dynamic or tempo markings –so it’s worth taking your time and not rushing. There will be a lot of new music to learn on the course, so the auditioners want to make sure that you can read music correctly and confidently.

When you reach the audition centre on the day, you will be taken to a room or hall with others to warm up. If you play a brass or woodwind instrument, you must not feel shy warming up in front of other people who are also waiting for their audition - quite often if you begin to play, they will do the same! In the audition itself, if time is short, you might be stopped after a few bars – this is not a reflection of your playing, but probably due to the fact that they’re running late, and they’ve heard enough to make a decision on your playing.

Finally, enjoy the experience – and hope you get a place in the orchestra, because it’s an unforgettable experience! Good luck!


Who's Who

Manager: Mr Geraint Evans

Strings: Mrs Jacky Hassan | Ms Cathryn Murray | Ms Holly Cook

Piano: Mrs Rachel Gregory

Harp: Ms Kay Davies

Woodwind:  Miss Ali Greeley | Mrs Victoria Harwood

Brass: Mr Aidan Hassan | Mr Harvey Hassan

Percussion/Rock: Mr Mark Wenden

Vocal: Ms Elinor Powell | Ms Menna Rhys (was  Griffiths )

Contact Details

Ceredigion Music Service
Canolfan Rheidol
Rhodfa Padarn
Llanbadarn Fawr
SY23 3UE

(01970) 633 614