Orchestral Standards

Orchestral playing is a very different skill to solo playing. The first time for anyone playing in an orchestra can usually be a little confusing.  

Many added techniques like rhythm, tempo variations, sight-reading, watching the conductor and listening to your fellow players become almost more important than playing your own part completely correctly. 

Usually the orchestral standard of a young musician is about two levels below their actual  playing grade. Once a player becomes more competent in orchestra playing it can be the most fulfilling experience.

For that reason it is very important that we listen regularly to our students at YMC individually at our yearly assessments. 

I am always free to listen to anyone anytime if they would like to join one of our YMC orchestras or simply would like some guidance.

Most of our orchestral music is on the website: Practise material 

It is much more satisfying and fun to play in an orchestra if you have practised your part!

Marina Solarek


Introduction to orchestral playing 
11.45 am Henry Hargreaves 

This is a string ensemble mostly made up of children 6-8 years of age. The standard of playing ranges from children who have just left their first year group lessons on violin, viola and cello to children who have taken their Grade 2/3

Preparatory First Orchestra 
9.30 am Fiona Nisbett

This is an orchestra for string and wind players mostly made up of children around the ages of 8-11 and the standard of playing ranges from children who have a good working knowledge of 3rd position i.e. Grades 3-4 on the violin or viola and the cellists should be Grade 3 upwards. Wind players should be Grade 3 upwards.

First Orchestra
11.45 am Marina Solarek

This is a string orchestra made up of children who are usually about Grade 5 standard on violin and viola and Grade 4 on cello. By this stage they should have a good degree of ‘instrumental’ knowledge in all the requirements for those grades.

Junior Orchestra
10.15 am Marina Solarek

In the Junior Orchestra (for string and wind players) we aim to work on more advanced repertoire and therefore grade 6 is expected from violinists and a good Grade 5 violists and cellists. Some of the repertoire includes wind players and members of the advanced wind ensemble (Grade 6 and above) take part in this orchestra on an occasional basis. Practise parts are always given it is of great benefit if the children look at them during the week. Some children might need to take their music to their teachers for a little extra help.

Chamber Orchestra
9.00 am Marina Solarek

The children in this orchestra usually have achieved Grade 7 – 8 on the violin and Grade 6 on viola or cello. We play some very challenging repertoire including works especially written for us and personal practice of the parts is certainly necessary.