Frequently Asked Questions

What is OYO?

Established in 1975, OYO is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to teaching children music in an orchestral setting. OYO maintains two all-string (violin, viola, cello, bass) orchestras – Studio Strings and Strings; and two full orchestras, (all strings, brass and woodwind instruments) – Philharmonia and Symphony. Oakland Youth Orchestras draws students from public, private and home schools, in grades 2 through 12 from Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer and St. Clair counties.

Why choose OYO?

OYO offers experience playing in an orchestra on a level that few school orchestra or band programs in the southeast Michigan are able to rival. We foster the development of individual and group skills in an atmosphere of team building, commitment, and enthusiasm. OYO stresses excellence within a friendly environment.

Who are the conductors?

OYO conductors are professional musicians and experienced music educators who care deeply about music education and understand that making music is a gift that lasts a lifetime. See Conductor bios for more information.

How many students are in OYO?

OYO serves 350 students from Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer and St. Clair counties.

What kind of music does OYO play?

OYO offers students experience in a wide variety of music, including classical, jazz, contemporary, and pop. Especially in the more advanced orchestras, the focus is performing classical repetoire.

When and where are the concerts?

There are three concerts in a school year, held at Oxford Fine Arts Center in Oxford, MI on Thursdays in November, February, and May. Concerts start at 6:30 PM.

How do I join OYO?

Please see the Auditions page for complete requirements, dates and locations. Requirements vary depending on the students proficiency on their instrument and the orchestra level they are auditioning for.

All returning and prospective members of OYO must participate in an audition. Our main auditions are held each year in the Spring, and additional auditions for select instruments are held in August. Audition schedules are posted  in March and August. All audition signup is done online through our website www.oyomi.org.

OYO does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities.  Our goal is to offer the same opportunity to all students.

How do I know which orchestra my student belongs in?

Our conductors make this decision at the time of the students’ auditions. Here are some general guidelines:

Studio strings: Suzuki books 1 (completed) through 3. Generally grades 2 through 7.

Strings: Suzuki books 4 through 6. Generally grades 3 through 9.

Philharmonia: Suzuki books 5 through 7 (Strings). Generally grades 7 through 12

Symphony: Generally High School musicians

When and where does the OYO rehearse?

Rehearsal times and places are specific to the orchestra a student belongs to and are held on Thursdays in the evening.

  • Studio String and String Orchestras rehearse at University Presbyterian Church in Rochester Hills near Oakland University. Studio String students choose one of two offered rehearsal times: 5:15 – 6:45 or 7:15 – 8:45 pm. String Orchestra students rehearse from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.
  • Philharmonia and Symphony Orchestras generally rehearse at Oakland University, Varner Hall from 7:15 – 9:15 pm. Some off site rehearsals are scheduled at local Rochester Community School locations based on availability of Oakland University facilities.

Students are expected to practice their parts throughout the week.

When and how do I get my music?

OYO provides copies of the music and a binder to all students at least one week before the first rehearsal.

What is the attendance policy?

Attendance is recorded at each rehearsal. Students are expected to sign in with their Orchestra Manager when they arrive for rehearsal. Attendance conflicts must be presented to the conductor  in advance of the absence via the completion of an absence slip. Should there be more than three unexcused absences there is a conference called by the conductor to evaluate continued participation. The signed Musician Contract represents a full concert season commitment by the student to OYO.

How much does it cost to be a member of OYO?

For Studio String students: $250 a year; $25 is non-refundable before September 1st. Tuition is non-refundable after September 1st.
For all other student levels: $300 a year; $25 is non refundable before September 1st. Tuition is non-refundable after September 1st.

Parents are asked to volunteer in a position once per season (with many varying levels of commitment) or pay a $75 opt-out fee.

Tuition may be paid using our flexible payment plan. Please contact admin@oyomi.org for additional information.

Does OYO provide Tuition Assistance?

Yes. OYO provides tuition assistance based on financial need. Upon acceptance into one of the OYO orchestras, students may apply for partial or full tuition aid. OYO is committed to helping every student member in need of financial aid. For this reason 100% of students who apply receive some form of aid. Please see Tuition & Aid for more information.