East County Youth Symphony - Advanced Orchestra


The Pre-Orchestra Division is a tuition-free six-year program. It was founded in 2008 as a training group for the East County Youth Symphony. The main purpose of this program is to supplement private lessons by introducing our young musicians to large ensembles. Students in the Pre-Orchestra Division typically will advance to the Symphony Orchestra.

The First Year curriculum is designed to determine the level of interest and ability to learn music for children six to ten years old. The major components of study are introduction to violin, small ensemble, piano, and music theory. As we all know - studying with a private teacher and practicing at home alone can cause some frustration and be a little too difficult for a young musician. These classes open a whole new world to those who like to communicate, learn from others, and play well known songs like "Jingle Bells" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb" together. Young musucians are making new friends and improving their skills in a competitive and fun enviroment. All of these factors together strongly motivate our students to practice at home and continue their private instructions.

After the first semester, each student's progress is assessed to determine if he/she will be invited for a second semester. Each subsequent term is by invitation only and determined by testing, progression of skills, and attendance.
Ages 6 - 10
Age is determined by the actual age on February 1 if applying for the Spring Session and September 1 if applying for the Fall Session. These classes are open to all beginners.
Ages 8 - 14
Age is determined by the actual age on February 1 if applying for the Spring Term and September 1 if applying for the Fall Term. Acceptance to these classes is by audition only. It is recommended that young musicians have at least six months of private lessons prior to the audition for .

Spring Term January - May App. Deadline: February 10th
Fall Term August - December App. Deadline: September 10th


Where do I rent a violin for my child?
Many of our families are renting instruments from "Harper's Music" (241 Third Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910 tel: 619.398.2505), "Alan's Music" (8510 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, CA 91942 tel: 619.466.1938) - contact the stores for more information. East County Youth Symphony also has limited amount of violins for rent. To check the availablity email ecysaudition@gmail.com.

How to choose the right size violin for my child?
Ask your child to hold his/her arm horizontally to the side (just like you hold the violin) and measure the distance from the neck to the center of the palm.

14.0"-16.0" 1/16 size
16.0"-18.0" 1/8 size
18.0"-20.0" 1/4 size
20.0"-21.5" 1/2 size
21.5"-23.0" 3/4 size
over 23.0" 4/4 size

Note, a violin that is a little too small is OK. A violin that is a little too big can make the proper positioning of hands impossible. Additional information: ARTICLE 1; ARTICLE 2; ARTICLE 3.

Do you require a private instructor?
Yes. A private instructor is required for all musicians except those who are attending Zeta level (First Year). Though, we strongly recommend to hire a private teacher as soon as it is clear that your child is enjoying music.

Do I have to buy books?
Yes. Pre-Orchestra instructors are using "Essential Elements 2000" Violin/Viola/Cello Book 1. You can buy it from local music stores (sometimes they do not have them in stock - call first). Also, you can order it online HERE.

Following is the full course of study for those young musicians who maintain interest and are invited to return each term:

Instructors: Irie Morales, Carina Voly, Alexandra Keegan.
Rehearsals: in-person rehearsals will resume as soon as Covid-19 Sate regulations allow us to have more than 40 people in one room for 1.5 hours.

Before then, all our classes are online.