Anyone's dc auditioning for NCO?

(29 Posts)
ImNotaCelebrity Sun 07-Oct-12 22:56:42

So, as the title says ... anyone's dc auditioning for the National Children's Orchestra?
DS has his at the end of October. He's good, but not amazing, so he's realistically trying to get a place in the training orchestra. I teach him myself, and I don't really know anything about the NCO or the auditions, other than what I've read on the website. Can anyone give me any tips to help him to be as prepared as possible?

Colleger Mon 08-Oct-12 15:07:39

My son is and was in it last year. I assume it's a string instrument?

Sight reading and good tone are the biggies. It's difficult to know how to prepare as it depends on who they are up against. This year has the most applicants!

Wafflenose Mon 08-Oct-12 16:17:48

DD isn't auditioning, as she is not good enough, but I will follow with interest, as she might want to in a few years.

Generally, though, it's much better to play slightly simpler pieces securely, rather than something more demanding with errors. Sight reading is something you can practise every day using a couple of lines of tunes he hasn't yet learned to play. Playing in ensembles helps greatly with sight reading and rhythm too - does he have much experience of this? DD plays in the school orchestra, and plans to join the town's children's orchestra when she's old enough.

Good luck to your DS!

lonelyplanet Tue 09-Oct-12 16:08:54

My dd has an audition in a few weeks. Again we have no idea what to expect, or even if she is a suitable level. I hope it will be a positive experience even if she doesn't get in.

maggiethecat Thu 11-Oct-12 16:51:06

dd auditioning but we're being very open minded about it and chances of getting in. Even if she isn't offered we think the experience will be a good one - she's been more focused in her playing, paying attention more than usual to intonation.

Colleger, I've never played but I have worked out that nice tone will be a determining quality. Dd doesn't like to take my advice though (but you don't play mum!)

Good luck to your ds Celebrity.

Colleger Thu 11-Oct-12 22:51:39

Lots of good points. It's always worth applying because, if not successful, some children are offered places in the regional orchestras and have opportunities to take part in concerts.

Fwiw, my son did play a piece that was slightly above his level but he got in. It really depends on the competition though and I think this will be the toughest year.

Teamthrills Sun 14-Oct-12 22:38:10

Ahhh wish I'd looked in to this more.

Dd's teacher tends to send children she feels are good enough (ie outstanding violinists) for auditions. I think violin is very competitive, so it is difficult to get in. Our teacher said it's usually for children who have done grade 5 by the time they are 9...

Dd will be turning 9 next month & is taking grade 5 in March. She also plays pieces at grade 7 level, so maybe I should have asked about auditioning?? What do you think?

Colleger Mon 15-Oct-12 07:42:39

I would call them up and ask if she can audition as a late candidate. Strings are in shortage at the moment so children who are at a lower level are getting in.

Teamthrills Mon 15-Oct-12 20:08:51

Really?? Bit annoyed her teacher didn't suggest it for her, although I know she sent 3 others who are at a high level for the audition. I should have looked in to it.

ImNotaCelebrity Wed 17-Oct-12 00:05:03

Thanks for all the tips. Yes, he's been playing in local string orchestra since complete beginner and is leading at the moment. (They played Flop Eared Mule last year, which is one of the training orchestra videos on the website.) He plays in his school orchestra too.
He's 8 and will be doing grade 4 next term, so he's doing well, but nothing amazing. He has a spark about him though, which I hope they'll pick up on because he's far from perfect technically! Sight reading worries me ... could go either way!!
I suspect he won't get in, but from
the sounds of it, it will be a really positive experience.
Thanks again for the advice.

MorningPurples Wed 17-Oct-12 16:48:25

Teamthrills, it looks like the auditions haven't closed yet, particularly for outside London, so you might still be able to get one if you are interested.

The website lists the approximate grade levels of the children in the various sections, though they say that actually having done the exams/grades isn't important - just that it gives an idea of level.

Timetraveller Thu 25-Oct-12 23:19:34

Hi, my Dd is auditioning on Saturday. She plays oboe, so I'm hoping there won't be too many other oboists. Her brother is accompanying her on the piano. She's playing 2 pieces at grade 6 level, and one of them has lots of fast notes - sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn't! I think I'll be more nervous than her...
Good luck to everyone auditioning. Do you know how long we have to wait to find out the result?

Colleger Thu 25-Oct-12 23:38:31

I think we found out around the 22nd Nov last year. Our audition is Saturday too.

Timetraveller Thu 25-Oct-12 23:57:12

We're at Bushey at 11.30. Hope it goes well for you.

frantic51 Fri 26-Oct-12 00:06:50

Things must have changed since my three were in it, (youngest is 17 now). None of them ever did sight reading in their audition and you couldn't be in the regional orchestras unless you were in one of the national orchestras. TBH I think that the younger orchestras are a bit of a waste of time/money and the standard of the orchestras below the under 13s is not really all it's cracked up to be (though that might well have changed now too). My older two enjoyed them well enough, though youngest wasn't too keen and only did a couple of years. Never been one to force the DC into something that costs an arm and a leg if they're not enthusiastic! grin

Good luck for the audition! smile

chocoluvva Fri 26-Oct-12 00:08:32

I'mnot, The form asks for relevant experience. I was surprised when my DD got in to the NCO of Scotland on violin - which is her second study although her sightreading is good as she has a lot of experience of orchestral and ensemble playing.
But I wondered if they read about all her experience and took her general musical aptitude into account as well as her technical ability.
I know a very young violinist who got in and I wonder if they were interested in 'catching' her at an early age to develop her technical ability as they could see how good her overall musicality is IYSWIM.

maggiethecat Fri 26-Oct-12 15:12:11

Good luck to you all! Dd had hers and it sounds as if it went well in the sense that she did not come out declaring disaster (as she is prone to doing).

She said sightreading was fine as they only let her do one line, because of age I think.

Colleger Fri 26-Oct-12 22:14:08

Frantic51, I think you're views must be out of date as the calibre of the candidates is top class with many being grade 8+, even in the younger orchestras.

The amount of lines does depend on age.

Timetraveller Sat 27-Oct-12 22:47:15

Well, my dd had her audition today, and it seemed to go ok. Apart from getting lost trying to find the venue and almost being late! She was happy with the way she played and knows she did her best, which is what I was hoping for. She didn't find the sightreading too difficult. Now the wait - we were told probably mid December, which seems a long time. Good luck to everyone who auditioned.

Colleger Sat 27-Oct-12 23:14:45

The reason the wait is so long is because the U13 and Mains concert is in December and they don't want to upset current applicants if they haven't got in again but still have to perform one last time.

Glad everything went well. DS thought it went "great" but I'm not taking his biased view as fact. He did say the sight reading was easy but he may have got it all wrong! Lol!

Blanketsandpillows Sat 27-Oct-12 23:29:41

I once auditioned for something very similar. I wasn't good enough and knew it. My mum might have felt it was a good experience for me-I didn't-I knew I wasn't good enough and found it humiliating. No point to this really other than to really think before you send your DC's to something they may it be ready for!

maggiethecat Sun 28-Oct-12 10:15:12

Fair point but how do you know if dc is not ready? I would imagine that a teacher might offer guidance and if a child was out of his/her depth I would hope a teacher might indicate.

Also important to know your child.

frantic51 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:52:45

Apologies everyone! My DD has just told me that they DID do sight reading for NCO, it was NYO that did didn't require it.

Colleger Never meant to imply that the standard of the children involved was anything less than good, just had my reservations about the standard of tuition/training being value for money in the younger groups. But, as I said, that may have changed now.

Good luck to everyone taking auditions! smile

Colleger Mon 29-Oct-12 21:34:51

Ah I see. Yes I agree to some extent as my son didn't feel challenged on the younger courses.

maggiethecat Thu 06-Dec-12 22:50:06

Found out today that Dd got in! When I picked up the letter I had a good feeling as the envelope was thicker than what would be expected of a 'no'.

She seemed happy enough although she has expressed preference for the NYOS (she thinks adjudicators seemed nicer) - she won't know about that until January.

Colleger you were spot on about tonal quality - they commented that her tone is developing well (does this child believe anything that I say??)

Now we just have to deal with how we're going to fund it....

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