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It's sometimes quite daunting to join a new music ensemble. What level am I? Do I need to read music? How well do I need to sight-read? These are some of the common questions that many individuals have before they join. Therefore, we'd like to take a moment to briefly outline what to expect when you join a VPOPS Ensemble. If you are unsure about which level to join, please feel free to contact us for a recommendation. 


Participants with any background is welcomed to join our level 1-4 ensembles. Only our level 5 ensemble require an audition in advance. Below is a description of each level and their expectations.

Level 1: Pure beginner, can't read music, never sang or played an instrument before. Want to get started with something easy! Low commitment requirement.

Level 2: Less than 2 years of musical experience, can read some basic music. Still learning basic technique, but not completely clueless. Can produce at least a one octave scale in 2 different keys. Low commitment requirement.

*Level 3: Can read music independently at a moderate pace, and can produce most pitches within 2 octaves with basic quarter and eighth note rhythms accurately. 2-4 years experience. Have a moderate understanding of music, but would like to mature in tone, consistency, and musicality. If you've done music throughout elementary, this is a great place to start. Medium commitment requirement, slow pace.

*Level 4: 5-7 years experience. Can read music comfortably fairly accurately without assistance. Can handle some technically challenging passages and ranges, with the ability to tune and harmonize with others. Still struggling with fast and complex rhythms, but wanting to master more difficult techniques. If you have participated in music ensembles throughout high-school or college, this would be an ideal level for you. Medium commitment requirement, fast paced.

*To ensure all individuals are keeping up with the ensemble, participants may be asked to submit audio recordings to show fluency with the material. These assessments will help us ensure individuals are placed in the right level/seat/voice, and are performance ready.

Level 5: 8-10 years experience. Can sight-read music fluently, with good control over tone, dynamics, articulation, and tempo. If you have studied music seriously in the past, and are currently active musically, this would be the ideal level for you. See audition requirements for Level 5. High commitment requirement and very fast paced.


Please prepare the following excerpts for your audition recording. Please submit your recording by email within 7 days of registration. For singers, please prepare your vocal range, IE: Alto, Mezzo, Tenor etc. For instrumentalists, please prepare any part/seat you’re comfortable with.

Singers: Excerpt 1 (First 6 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 6 pages)

Flute: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Oboe: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Clarinet/Bass: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Bassoon: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

F Horn: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Trumpet: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Trombone: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Tuba: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Percussion: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Violin 1: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Violin 2: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Viola: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Cello: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)

Double Bass: Excerpt 1 (First 3 pages), Excerpt 2 (First 3 pages)


Talent comes in many shapes and forms. However, not everyone shares the same musical training and background. At the Vancouver Pops, we have a graduated program that allows any individual to find the perfect place to start at their current level and appetite for music with a lot of room for development. Level 1 is designed for absolute beginners, with zero knowledge of music reading and music theory, or less than 1 year of experience with their instrument. Level 2 is designed for anyone with less than 2 years of formal training, with some foundations, but would like to learn much more. These sessions will provide instruction in the areas of basic music notation, rhythm, and pitch tuning. For those who have had past experience with music, but are not fully confident in their skill level and knowledge, our level 3 programs are a perfect place to "get back" into music, to improve technique, range, endurance, and execution of intermediate rhythms. The level 4 and 5 programs provide previously trained musicians (5+ years) a challenging, and fast-paced program to further their skill, technique, and musicality in a performance-oriented environment.


Music reading is required for all level 3-5 programs. While having a good ear and natural musicality is important, being able to read music is a fundamental “language” skill for any progressing musician in an ensemble. If you do not yet know how to read music, it is recommended that you start at the level 1 class.


Above all else, commitment is the number one priority. Commitment refers to attendance, punctuality, and personal practice. Being in an orchestra or choir is not a solo venture, and hence requires diligent personal practice and thorough rehearsals together as a group. If you miss a rehearsal, you will indeed miss a great deal of practice and perfecting, plus the group misses out on your part of the music. TIP: Try to avoid schedule conflicts (don't think of rehearsals as optional), stay health-conscious, and if you must miss one, have a friend record the rehearsal or come in for a make up session with the director to catch up. Regardless of how skilled any one individual is, we must work together as a group in order to succeed as a group. If you have more than 2 missed rehearsals in a term, you may be, under the instructor’s discretion, moved to a lower level, withdrawn from the performance, or asked to rejoin the ensemble at a later time.