YSKC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Read about our 2021 Season Auditions and register today!


Orchestras Online – NEW!

Q: What is Orchestras Online?

A: For the 2020-2021 Season, Orchestras Online is the flagship program of Youth Symphony of Kansas City.  The program has been developed by YSKC Artistic Director Kirt Mosier.


Q: How will students participate?

A: Weekly sessions will be held via Zoom (real-time online video platform) on Sunday afternoons/evenings.  Each week, musicians will receive a video performance assignment that they will record and upload during the week.


Q: What can students expect each week?

A: Each week will consist of a 30-minute large group session where musicians will engage with conductors, listen to previously submitted student recordings, have Q & A chats with special guests and/or participate in masterclasses.  Following the first half-hour, students will participate in a 30-minute breakout sectional with professional educators and musicians.  Students will play their instruments in real-time, following a sectional coach via Zoom.


Q: Who can participate?

A: Orchestras Online is open to students in grades 5-12.  Students must register and submit an audition video to be placed within an orchestra.  Because the program is fully online, musicians from anywhere in the world are welcome to participate!


Q: In prior years, Youth Symphony offered several full orchestras.  How does that translate to Orchestras Online?

A: Our goal is to ensure that all musicians who want to participate can play a part in Orchestras Online.  While we aim to have a full orchestra experience for as many students as possible, depending on the number of students who audition and participate, it is possible that string orchestras will be also offered.


Q: How will students be placed in an ensemble?

A: Student placement in Orchestras Online is similar to any other music audition process.  Adjudicators will review each audition submission and students will be placed respectively, based upon their ability as demonstrated in the video audition.


Q: What technology do students need in order to participate?

A: The following materials are required for students to participate:

  • Internet-connected device with video camera
  • Secondary playback device such as an iPad/tablet, computer or smartphone
  • Headphones/earbuds
  • High-speed internet connection
  • Music stand (old-school technology!)


Q: What about microphones and other techie stuff?

A: Recordings will certainly sound and look better with a few additional tools.  While these are not mandatory for participation, they will enhance your experience (and your recording quality!)

  • External Microphone
  • Adjustable mobile device stand (if using a phone or tablet to record)

A video with additional information about technology gear will be shared here and through social media.


Q: Will there be any performances?

A: Yes!  A virtual concert will be premiered at the conclusion of each semester.  Weekly video recordings submitted by musicians will be compiled, mixed and edited to produce a final performance.


Q: Who will be leading the ensembles?

A: Orchestras Online is developed by YSKC Artistic Director Kirt Mosier.  Mr. Mosier and Steven D. Davis will lead the most advanced orchestra; PercussionKC is led by Clif Walker.  Additional orchestras will be led by YSKC conducting staff.


Q: If my child doesn’t have access to percussion instruments, how will they be able to participate in PercussionKC?

A: Please contact Mr. Clif Walker, PercussionKC instructor, by email at cwalker@youthsymphonykc.org with questions about percussion instrument access.


Q: What kind of guest lecturers can I expect?

A: YSKC is fortunate to have conductors who are highly respected in the field and well-connected with musicians, educators and other really interesting people!  Stay tuned!


Q: Are students required to participate in their school band or orchestra this season?

A: No.  As a result of Covid-19, we recognize that not all students will have the opportunity to participate in their school’s band or orchestra program.  In order to ensure an equitable opportunity to all musicians, YSKC’s school program participation requirement is waived for the 2020-2021 Season.


Q: How much does it cost to participate?

A: Tuition for Orchestras Online is $680 for the season.  PercussionKC tuition is $396.  An additional non-refundable enrollment fee of $35 is required at the time of program registration.


Q: Is financial assistance available?

A: Yes.  Tuition assistance is available for families with qualified financial need. The financial aid application form will be available after audition results are posted.  All families, including those applying for financial assistance, must pay the non-refundable enrollment fee of $35.


Q: Can you explain the rationale for the Orchestras Online tuition rate?  Wouldn’t an online program warrant a lower cost?

A:  In planning Orchestras Online, it became very clear that this initiative is every bit as complex – and in some ways much more complex – than providing an in-person orchestral education program as customary in prior seasons.

Although the delivery method is digital, every single session of Orchestras Online is dependent upon the work of numerous highly qualified instructors and administrators to ensure a meaningful educational experience.  This is the main reason why tuition for Orchestras Online is only slightly reduced from the prior year’s tuition rate.

Students will learn weekly from a variety of music professionals including conductors, sectional coaches, educators, orchestra musicians, music history professors and others.  Of particular note, students will participate in a sectional every week during the season.  While sectionals have long been an element of our educational program, weekly-occurring sectionals for all musicians is a new feature that greatly enhances the educational experience musicians receive.

In addition to the time spent by our professional educators to plan and instruct musicians, a great deal of work will happen behind the scenes in processing and compiling video submissions in-between weekly Orchestras Online sessions.  This work is essential to the educational program.


Q: If my child is recording their performance video and uploads it, isn’t that all there is to it?

A: Throughout the season, video and music production professionals will compile, edit and produce the weekly-submitted student performance videos.  At this time, we estimate that between 1,000 to 1,500 individual video files will be received per orchestra during one semester alone.  This painstaking activity requires multiple skilled individuals poring over the work at hand.

In producing these recordings, students will be able to hear their performance as the season progresses, which will aid in ear training and listening, and increase students’ intonation skills.  Submitted videos ultimately will be produced into a performance video that will be premiered at the end of each semester.


Q: Is a sibling discount available?

A: No.


Q: Is a volunteer hour requirement in place?

A: No.


Q: Who should I contact if I have questions that aren’t answered here?

A: Please email our Director of Operations, Russ Pieken, at rpieken@youthsymphonykc.org with the subject line “FAQ Follow-up.”