Joining and Playing in the PLU Orchestras

How much do the orchestras rehearse?

The University Symphony Orchestra rehearses 2 evenings each week during the school terms, Monday and Thursday. Rehearsals begin at 7:15 pm and last until 9:45. Members are expected to attend all rehearsals for which they are called. Schedules are posted in advance online and in the music building.

KammerMusikeren rehearses during USO rehearsal times, most often on Thursdays, but not every Thursday.

Can I receive credit for playing in the orchestra?

Yes. The USO is a class, MUSI 380. It is worth 1 credit hour/semester. All participating students are expected to register. When doing so would create a credit surplus, permission can be given for 0-credit registration on a limited basis. Contact the conductor.

How do I join?

The USO is an auditioned ensemble, with auditions held every fall just prior to the beginning of the fall semester. While these auditions are required each year, they are conducted in a friendly and low pressure atmosphere. Remember, this is an audition for an opportunity to learn how to be a better ensemble player, not for a professional orchestra. The auditioners are interested not only in where you are now, but also in your potential.

You will find complete information about all of the ensemble placement auditions at this page:

What should I prepare for an audition?

Bring a short excerpt of anything you like. Try to choose something that shows a little lyrical playing and something a little more technical. It needs to be only 2 to 3 minutes in length. The auditioners will also have a few lines of an orchestra part for you to read.

In addition, our studio teachers at PLU have developed some great lists of excerpts for use in our ensemble auditions. Some of them are etudes, some are orchestral excerpts. Music majors especially should check these lists, but non-majors may use this material as well.

For woodwind and brass players:

For string players:

If you would like also to be considered for participation in KammerMusikeren, the auditioners will additionally ask you to play some scales in a number of specific bowing or articulation styles. More information is available at the audition page of this site.

Am I still eligible to play in the orchestra if I am not a music major?

Absolutely! We have many orchestra members majoring in things other than music — in fact, more than half! Some are even section leaders. Your major will not make any difference with regard to your eligibility for or placement in the orchestra.

Are scholarships available?

Yes. Scholarships are also available without regard to major. Scholarship auditions are held for prospective students each February. For current students, application for the next academic year can be made in writing to the Music Department during the current year.

Should I take lessons on my instrument?

We always encourage orchestra members to study privately, but it is not required for playing in the orchestra. It is, however, a requirement if you hold a scholarship in your orchestral instrument. You may ask the conductor about how to contact the appropriate studio teacher for your instrument.

May I join after the fall auditions?

We will gladly arrange late fall auditions up to the Registrar’s late add date (10th day of classes). Just contact Dr. Bell-Hanson.

While we encourage full-year membership, under some circumstances it is possible to join the orchestra later in the academic year. If a concert has already been played in the semester during which you join, you may not be able to receive course credit for participation during that semester. Please email or contact Dr. Bell-Hanson to ask about scheduling a special audition.