Membership of the ensembles is by audition and is open to musicians aged 30 Years and under. There are three SYJO ensembles, grouped roughly by age but all auditioned on the basis of playing ability. Reliability is, of course, expected of all SYJO program members.
Mid – year applications are welcome at any time, as long as there is a vacancy in one of the bands. Annual auditions are held in October – November. Audition dates and requirements are available here from July each year.
As a rough guide, musicians in SYJO3 will need the equivalent of AMEB Grade 4 playing ability. Musicians in SYJO2 will need the equivalent of about AMEB Grade 5-6 plus have a background playing jazz at school or elsewhere. SYJO2 members should also be genuinely interested in jazz music.
Prospective members of the premier group, SYJO, need the equivalent of about AMEB Grade 8-AMus. They also need experience playing in jazz groups and a genuine interest in jazz music. Players auditioning for a “solo chair” (any of the saxes, trombone1, most trumpet parts and all rhythm section parts) must be experienced jazz improvisers at a high level of at least Conservatorium of Music First Year level.
These levels are a rough guide only. Auditions are competitive and not just standards – based. That means that we select the best candidate out of all those who try out for a part. Entry to SYJO3 is more flexible than the higher bands. We are keen to encourage young players and to help them develop their potential.
Joining one of the SYJO bands does involve a commitment to attend all rehearsals (every week during term) and performances. If for some extraordinary reason a player cannot make a rehearsal or gig, they are expected to find a substitute player to cover their part in their absence. Musicians who frequently miss rehearsals are not welcome in SYJO. We are not interested in supporting musicians who expect to be made to look good just through the hard work of other people.
There is usually at least one performance per term, and occasionally two or three. Sometimes we may do a trip “out of town” or a mini – tour, such as to the Merimbula Jazz Festival.
In return for a firm but modest commitment, we offer great musical and personal rewards.
We don’t have stars in SYJO, we just have members. Every musician contributes to the success and growth of everyone in each band. SYJO is an opportunity for musicians with potential to realise it and develop into truly outstanding musicians. In the top level band we offer continuing involvement in music for excellent musicians who are not studying jazz at university or planning a career as a professional. For tertiary jazz students and players with professional aspirations we offer professional development, experience rehearsing regularly in an outstanding group, interesting repertoire and contacts.
For younger musicians in the two school aged groups SYJO provides an environment in which to play fine music with like-minded peers in an encouraging and stimulating environment. It is also a chance to learn from the best and most successful jazz educators in Australia.
What ever the age or stage of the musician, everyone has things still to learn and personal challenges yet to overcome. Musicians who accept this and are open to growth tend to be the ones who ultimately excel.
Parents and musicians: however good a player is, chances are that over the years we have met, taught, heard and/or worked with better. What matters most is not what you are, but what you are willing to become.
Membership Fees 2016
Fees include Association membership, tuition, venue costs, music and administration. Fees are payable every semester (six months or two school terms) to Sydney Youth Jazz Orchestra Inc. All members of the SYJO bands are on scholarships funded by our sponsor Jazz Workshop Australia.
SYJO : $50/semester