<August 2015>


Whether it's at Orchestra Hall or right in your neighborhood, the Wu Family Academy provides music education for all.

Since 1970, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE) have provided Michigan's musicians of all ages a comprehensive music education experience. CYE's twofold mission is to cultivate every student's artistic and creative potential through rewarding musical experiences while continuing to develop meaningful skills outside of the arts. CYE Faculty believe music can provide youth with the necessary tools to develop imporant life skills such as critical and analytical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication, and teamwork, as well as believing that students can discover success no matter what path in life they choose.

The DSO's Civic Youth Ensembles offer as part of the classical curriculum: wind ensembles, symphonic orchestras, string orchestras, and chamber training. As part of the jazz curriculum offers big bands, jazz combos, and a creative jazz rhythm ensemble. 


Acceptance into the Civic Youth Ensembles is by audition only. Auditions are open to all late elementary school through high school instrumental music students. Students are expected to be enrolled in school and their school music program if available. All interested musicians must audition, regardless of previous involvement with the Civic Youth Ensembles. All audition results are final.

Auditions are scheduled at 15-minute intervals and are heard by an adjudication panel consisting of CYE and DSO artistic staff and Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians. This adjudication panel will place students in the appropriate ensemble for their skill level, as demonstrated by their audition. Students need not make an ensemble selection during the application process.

Each student will be asked to perform the following at their audition:

Requirements for a Classical Audition: 

  • An etude or a solo work that best represents his/her technical and artistic playing abilities. The solo piece should be unaccompanied and no longer than 3 minutes in length.
  • Two one-octave major scales (chosen by the judge) up to four sharps/flats for wind and brass instruments (chosen by the judge); Two two-octave major scales up to four sharps/flats for string instruments (chosen by the judge)
  • Sight reading
  • *Percussionists are required to prepare a snare solo and a mallett solo. A timpani solo is optional. Please note, there will NOT be a marimba available at the audition.

Requirements for a Jazz Audition:

If a musician would like to audition on more than one instrument or for both the jazz and classical program they must schedule separate audition times for each instrument/genre.

Before an audition will be scheduled, all application materials must be received including the application form and $25 audition fee.

Questions? Please contact the DSO Civic Youth Ensembles office at 313.576.5060 or civic@dso.org