Welcome to Lyceum Orchestras! With six audition-only ensembles, we are able to place most students in an orchestra that meets the student at the threshold of their learning. We encourage all students to participate in their school ensembles and ask that all participants practice at home and work with a private teacher. Lyceum ensembles are divided by ability, not age, although we do require that students be in 8th-12th grade to audition for Concert Orchestra and 9th-12th grade to audition for Philharmonic.

One Convenient Audition

We understand that auditions can be a real challenge and even a deterrent for some students to continue with their music. We want students to have every opportunity to show us their best work so new this year, students may record their Lyceum audition in the comfort of their own home at their convenience with as many tries as it takes to sound their best! The audition places most students in one of our six after-school ensembles. We recommend students submit their best possible audition at their earliest convenience. Rehearsals start Aug 28th for Philharmonic and September 4th for the other ensembles. See our calendars page for full details. We accept auditions year-round so long as there is space available.

Audition Requirements and Instructions

The audition should include a scale and roughly five minutes of solo playing — this could be multiple solos or an excerpt of a longer work. The solo should demonstrate the strengths of the player, memorization preferred, accompaniment is optional. The scale should highlight student’s mastery of range and tone. Play the maximum number of octaves possible with good tone. Percussionists must show proficiency on timpani and mallet instruments. The preferred method is to load the video to YouTube, Google Drive, Dropbox or other file sharing format accessible via a link. Then email the link(s) to Lyceum@ahsmail.com include in the email the name, instrument, age, and desired ensemble for which the student is applying if you known. A simple cell phone recording is more than sufficient quality. Please verify that the link is accessible for others to view (not private).

Returning Students

Students currently enrolled in the program who wish to return to their ensemble or graduate to the next ensemble in our program receive first priority because they have the opportunity to both audition and enroll prior to public auditions. Students already enrolled in one of our six ensembles can either submit a recorded audition or will be asked to audition live during our regular rehearsal time. Returning Lyceum students who have not enrolled by May 1st may forfeit their seat to new auditioners. Seating is limited in all of our ensembles.

New Students

New students or students returning after a year or more away, should send in a recorded audition at any time. In most cases, we are able to let applicants know soon regarding their placement. If the initial recorded audition does not yield the desired result, students may submit additional auditions for the desired ensemble. Once a student enrolls in an ensemble their placement is considered final for that season.


Following the audition, most applicants receive an email admitting them to one of our six ensembles and the corresponding summer music festival placement. Questions about what level is right for you can be answered by the detailed ensemble descriptions on our About Us page. We try to avoid dividing ensembles by Suzuki book or ASTA levels and instead look to universal measures like vibrato, shifting, and the ability to play in difficult key signatures. When choosing an audition solo take these factors into account. For example a string player applying to Prelude needs to be able to play extensions but no shifting, Crescendo — limited shifting, Chamber – first through fifth positions, Symphonic – shifting into upper positions and difficult key signatures, Concert – full range of the instrument, Philharmonic – mastery and fluency across full range of the instrument. Try to choose a solo that fully demonstrates your ability to play across the full range of the instrument.


We want the audition process to be fair, convenient and well-communicated. If you have any questions regarding any of the Lyceum programs at American Heritage School, please do not hesitate to contact our Orchestra Program Coordinator Denise Gorrell at Lyceum@ahsmail.com.