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National Children's Orchestras - questions

(15 Posts)
Wafflenose Thu 15-May-14 09:30:19

We have been wondering whether DD1 might like to try out for NCO in the future. I've been on their website and had a good read - at the moment, she is right at the bottom end of their recommended grades on her instrument, so I don't know whether we will apply this year or next. I was wondering, though, about your children's experiences of NCO. If your child has had a place, please would you let me know:
-how old they were
-which instrument
-approximate standard
and also how they found the audition?

Replies also welcome from parents whose children didn't get in - did they find the audition a positive experience? And were they given helpful feedback?

DD1 is young yet, so I'd like to find out as much as possible about what to expect if she decides to have a go.

Thank you!

JulieMichelleRobinson Thu 15-May-14 14:33:31

I didn't end up doing it, but auditioned when I was... don't know, maybe ten or eleven and grade 5/6 on violin. As far as I recall, there wasn't even an in-person audition back than. I didn't get in on violin, but was offered a place on viola (clearly they have more violin applicants, like everyone else!). We turned that down as I'd never ever ever read the alto clef before - I play viola all the time now, which is ironic.

JulieMichelleRobinson Thu 15-May-14 14:34:07

Don't they have a training orchestra now, anyway, or something?

Wafflenose Thu 15-May-14 14:43:03


The training orchestra is for strings only. DD1 would audition on her second instrument (flute - first study is recorder!!) which I imagine is very, very competitive! Hence wondering whether to go for it this year, or wait until next year, when she would still be the right age for U11s but hopefully quite a bit better.

Theas18 Thu 15-May-14 15:13:10

Have you considered NYRO wafflenose?

Wafflenose Thu 15-May-14 17:14:39

Yes, Theas... she's not good enough for that either! Yet.

Theas18 Thu 15-May-14 18:36:54

Aww I bet she is nearly. Try a playing day ( there were all standards ar out local one) and the Easter course is non auditioned and tends to be younger kids.

Wafflenose Thu 15-May-14 19:19:47

We did a playing day last year when she was 7, but couldn't fit it in this Easter holiday. Yes, she's Grade 5 on the descant, but her treble reading is far from fluent, and she doesn't know all the high notes or sharps and flats. So I would say barely Grade 2.

Oh well, it's nice to know all this is at least available! We will keep working at it.

nicky10000 Mon 24-Aug-15 15:10:32

Hi Wafflenose. I realise your discussion was a while ago. I believe it is well worth your little one auditioning for the NCO. The auditions are extremely friendly all staff are fantastic so even if they don't get in its a good experience for them. My little one auditioned when she was 7 and got put on the reserve list and joined the regional orchestra which did her the world of good and auditioned for this years course and got a place she has had an absolute ball and can't wait to audition for next year. Hope that helps. Nicky

Wafflenose Tue 25-Aug-15 13:55:21

Hello nicky10000, she has just got back from Under 10s and had a great time! She started learning new audition pieces today, and if she doesn't get back in, we will probably do NYRO instead. Thanks for your reply, and I'm glad your daughter liked it too.

musicjane Wed 14-Dec-16 21:03:19

National Children's Orchestra is one of the best experiences of my son's life, I wholeheartedly recommend it. I think this post has got a bit confused between NYRO (National Recorder Orchestra) and NCO (National Children's Orchestra.....As a professional recorder player with a son in NCO I know both organisations! NYRO have playing days (grade 3 and up) and a recommended standard of grade 5 standard for Easter course. NCO is always auditioned regionally and nationally, though there are open days. The auditions are non threatening and an encouraging experience but the standard is very high. I know of grade 7 violinists at 11 who didn't get in. Conversely my son has been Principal Clarinet for the orchestra and there are children with much higher grades who sit 'below' him in his section. It is about how well you play, what your tone is like and how you interpret the music (oh, and your sight-reading) rather than whether you have ploughed through grades. Go to an open day, have a listen and have a go...Good luck!

Wafflenose Wed 14-Dec-16 21:05:31

Thanks, musicjane - she has just got in for her third year, and we have a new thread about it somewhere. I don't think we were confused about NYRO - we were going to apply for that too. We'll do that (on recorder of course) when she doesn't get into NCO on her flute any more.

musicjane Wed 14-Dec-16 21:12:07

My fault just scanning the messages!

stringchild Wed 14-Dec-16 21:26:21

Hi musicjane - mom of a NCO clarinet here too; is your DS back in for 2017?

yes we know of children of very high grades not getting in this year, some who have been in in previous years. It is definitely a lovely audition experience, but very tough competition wise.

musicjane Wed 14-Dec-16 22:13:08

Yes, he is. Which orchestra is he in? T has been in since Under 10s and this year is in Under 13s....Wondering if we are matching orchestras though as there was only 1 other boy in the Under 12s and I don't think you are the same mum?

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