SCO Youth Academy - Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost?

There is no audition/application fee. The course fee of £90 per participant is only applicable after places are confirmed. We do not, however, want cost to be a barrier and can provide bursaries for up to 100% fees and travel expenses. For enquiries regarding bursaries and support for travel and access, please contact Susan White at

What standard do I have to play at?

The SCO Youth Academy is open to school-aged orchestral musicians who have reached Grade 6+ for strings and percussion (including timpani), Grade 7+ for winds and brass.

If I don’t have ABRSM grades, can I still take part?

Yes, as long as you have a recommendation from your teacher and you are successful at the audition.

Do I have to audition?

Yes. Click here to learn more about how to prepare and submit an audition video.

How do I sign up?

-         Apply online at

-         You will receive an automatic response with instructions on how to submit an audition video within two weeks of applying. The deadline for audition video submission is Friday 4 September (midnight).

-         We will contact you by email on or before Friday 18 September to confirm whether we can offer you a place. At this point we will ask you to provide all the details we need from you, such as medical information.

Who will lead the sections?

Sections will be led by advanced pupils, and the leaders will be decided based on the audition results. Are you an advanced pupil interested in leading your section? Please indicate in your audition video if you would like to be considered for leader positions.

What if I can’t come every week?

We expect participants to be able to attend all 5 weeks, so if you are unable to commit to that, this may not be the right opportunity for you at this time.

Who will be coaching?

SCO second violin Gordon Bragg, who have been conducting the SCO String Academies, will conduct the orchestra and lead the coaching sessions. The SCO musicians will coach sections and play alongside you.

What is the repertoire?

The repertoire is Sibelius' Finlandia and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade movements I and III.

When will we be sent the repertoire?

You will receive your parts by email three weeks before the first session.

Do I need to learn the repertoire beforehand?

You should familiarise yourself with the repertoire, but we don’t expect you to perfect your part before you arrive at the course.

What is provided?

We will provide timpani and percussion instruments. You are expected to bring printed copies of your parts.

What do I need to bring?

A music stand, your instrument in a labelled case, printed parts, a pencil, drinks and snacks. If you play timpani and percussion, please bring your sticks.

Will there be a public performance?

There will be an informal presentation for family and friends at the end of the final session.

What do I need to wear?

Whatever you like – but for the final session, please wear concert dress in black.

What should I do if I need special assistance?

If you need help with access or other requirements, or to discuss financial support, difficulty accessing instrument and recording equipment, or any other issues due to lockdown restrictions, please contact Susan White at


Despite the current movement restrictions due to COVID-19, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and St Mary’s Music School are looking to the future and these remain exciting times. Our priorities are to ensure the health and safety of our audiences, stakeholders and staff. We are monitoring the situation carefully and closely following the guidelines provided by the Scottish Government. This event will proceed only when it is assessed to be safe nearer to the event date, otherwise it may be postponed until further notice.