top of page

Loudoun Symphony Youth Orchestra (LSYO) FAQ

Most questions can be answered on the following pages: LSYO Ensembles and LSYO Auditions 

If the answer to your question is not found there or in the FAQ below, please send your question to our General Manager: 

Q: Do we need to live in Loudoun County to be a part of LSYO?

A: No, you do not need to live in Loudoun County, but rehearsals and performances are in Loudoun County facilities.

Q: Does my child have to audition to be part of LSYO?  

A: Membership in the LSYO is by audition only. Auditions for positions will be held in the spring at the end of the season and in the fall for the following season. All musicians audition every year, including returning musicians.

Q: Does my child need to be in a school orchestra or band to participate?

A: LSYO members are expected to take an active part in their school music programs.  This can be fulfilled by registering for a class or coming to another arrangement with your child’s music teacher that keeps them actively involved in their music program at school. We expect LSYO members to contribute in some way to their school music community: LSYO is not a substitute for school music programs. 

  • Homeschool and elementary students are exempt from this requirement.

  • To request an exemption for any other reason (Academies of Loudoun, unavoidable scheduling conflicts, etc.) please email the General Manager at All exemptions are subject to approval by the Music Director.

  • Verification of school participation may be requested at any time by the General Manager or Music Director. You may be requested to provide a class schedule for verification or obtain verification through email with the school’s music director.

Q: Do Suzuki group lessons or group lessons in general count as previous ensemble experience?

A: No, a group lesson is not considered a conductor-led ensemble. 

Q: Does my child need to be able to read music?

A: Yes. The following are required for the Prelude and String Orchestras: 

  • Prelude Strings: Prospective students should be comfortable reading and playing from basic music notation in the keys of D, G, and C major without letter names written under notes.

  • String Orchestra: Prospective students should be able to easily sight-read VBODA Grade I music and comfortably play from basic music notation without letter names written under notes and with a variety of basic rhythms.

Q: Does LSYO offer Financial Aid?

A: Loudoun Symphony Youth Orchestra provides financial aid to LSYO participants who have financial need through an application process once musicians are invited to join one of our ensembles. The Financial Aid Committee will consider your completed financial aid application on a case-by-case basis. 

Q: Does my child need to have a private instructor?

A: It  is highly recommended that all members take private lessons so that they are prepared for rehearsals each week. LSYO rehearsals are not class instruction.  

Q: Is weekly attendance required?

A: Weekly attendance is required. It is important for every musician to be at all rehearsals. Absences due to illness are excused, but parents are asked to inform the General Manager as soon as they know that their child will be missing rehearsal. Two or more absences in one cycle may result in the conductor sitting your child out for that cycle's concert. 

Q: Is there a minimum age for a child to be a part of LSYO?

A: LSYO accepts musicians starting in grade 2 and ending at graduation. We do not have a minimum or maximum age for each ensemble within these parameters. However, musicians must have the required experience and play at the expected level to participate in specific ensembles. For example, elementary-level musicians most likely will not meet the ensemble requirements to participate in the higher ensembles in their first year. 

Q: What instruments are accepted into LSYO?

A: We have four ensembles and the instrumental needs vary depending on the ensemble and cycle.

  • Prelude Strings and String Orchestra: Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass

  • Symphonic and Philharmonic Orchestra:

    ·       All Strings (as above)

    ·       All Woodwinds - not including Saxophone

    ·       All Brass - not including Euphonium

    ·       Percussion

    ·       Harp

    ·       Auxiliary instruments as needed (Piccolo, Bass Clarinet, English Horn, Contrabassoon)

Q: How long will my child be in the same ensemble?

A: Each of our four ensembles has unique expectations.  Those expectations include level of artistry, musicianship, technique, and experience as well as both musical and developmental maturity.  The expectation is that musicians will remain in their current ensemble for several years to prepare for the next level.

bottom of page