Youth orchestra

For National youth orchestras, see National Youth Orchestra (disambiguation)
A youth orchestra performing onstage.

A youth orchestra is an orchestra made of young musicians, typically ranging from pre-teens or teenagers to those in their mid-20s. Because young children do not usually start playing double bass until a later age than those playing the smaller instruments, double bass players in youth orchestras tend to be in the early to mid-20s. The typical youth orchestra involves members from across an entire city or town. In some cases, there are national youth orchestras, which consist of the best young musicians in a country, as determined by auditions. More rarely, there may even be international youth orchestras. Youth orchestras are led by an adult conductor who is often a music teacher or orchestral musician. In addition to leading the rehearsals and performances, the conductor teaches orchestral playing techniques, performance practice and music ensemble skills to the children and youth.

Instructional elements

While a professional orchestra will receive the parts and have a few days of rehearsal, and then play several performances, in a youth orchestra, the ensemble rehearses the concert program for several months. This additional time gives the conductor lots of time to coach the orchestra and teach them how to learn the many skills required of a skilled large ensemble player, which include:


Like professional orchestras, youth orchestras play concert programs that focus on the standard orchestral repertoire, such as overtures, concertos (usually with a skilled youth orchestra member playing the solo, while their colleagues play the orchestral parts), and symphonies.

Notable youth orchestras

Notable youth orchestras include:



United Kingdom





United States


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