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 new members have before they join. 

Therefore, we'd like to take a moment to briefly outline what would be expected and not expected of you as a member. If there are further concerns with the issues below, please feel free to email us to clarify. 

LEVELS (General Guidelines Only)

Level 1 - Pure beginner, can't read music, never sang or play an instrument before.

Level 2 - Less than 2 years of musical experience, can read some basic music.

Level 3 - Can read music, and can produce some pitch and rhythms. 2-5 years experience.

Level 4 - Can handle technically challenging passages, ability to tune and harmonize. 6-8 years experience.

Level 5 - Can sight-read music fluently, with good control over tone, dynamics, articulation, and tempo. 9-10 years experience.

(If you are unsure about your level, feel free to contact us for a recommendation)


Level 1-3: There are no auditions, all registrants are accepted. 

Level 4-5: Audition Requirements

A) Prepared Sight Reading Excerpts: (Level 4 and 5)

Instrumentals: Treble Clef Bass Clef / Alto Clef

Singers: Treble / Bass Clef - omit letter E

B) 2 solo excerpts of your choice (2-3 minutes each) (Level 5 only)

The solo excerpts should be pieces that display your current skill, technique, and musicality.

C) One 4-measure live sight-reading passage (Level 5 only)


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 fit for their current level.  Level 1 is designed for absolute beginners, with zero knowledge of music reading and music theory, and less than 1 year of experience with their instrument. Level 2 is designed for anyone with less than 2 years of formal training. These sessions will provide instruction in the areas of music notation, rhythm, pitch tuning, and simple harmonies. 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, and to improve playing/singing technique, range flexibility, endurance, and execution of complex rhythms. The level 4 and 5 performance programs provide previously trained musicians (6+ years) a challenging, demanding, and fast-paced program to further their skill, technique, and musicality in a performance-oriented environment.


Music reading is required for all level 4-5 and some level 3 programs. While having a good ear and natural musicality is important, being able to read music is a fundamental skill for any progressing musician in an ensemble. If you do not yet know how to read music, you will be required to take a level 1 class.


We require this for three reasons, one, it gives us a chance to be introduced to the musical 'you', and second, it helps us place you in the proper group which would be conducive for your musical experience. Lastly, the auditions allow us to place you in your best seating and voice arrangement.


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 healthy, 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 work together as a group, and succeed as a group.