Help us shape the modern orchestra

to be more inclusive, creative... Awesome!

Why be part of the National Open Youth Orchestra?

The National Open Youth Orchestra brings many opportunities. Playing with amazing musicians, feeling a sense of belonging, improvising and being creative with music, are some of the reasons young people enjoy being part of NOYO.

This is the first orchestra I have ever fitted into. I normally feel like I don’t fit in but I do in NOYO.

National Open Youth Orchestra musicians are supported to realise their musical potential through one-to-one lessons, rehearsals and concerts, in partnership with the Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, Bristol Music Trust’s National Centre for Inclusive Excellence in Bristol, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in Bournemouth, Midlands Arts Centre, B:Music and Services For Education in Birmingham.

Within the National Open Youth Orchestra, we play from notation, but also learn by ear. Because our orchestra is so diverse, our approach to music is very collaborative, guided by musicians’ abilities and creativity. We develop exciting new music with cutting-edge composers, with NOYO musicians very much influencing the process.

It’s a progression route

The National Open Youth Orchestra is for young disabled people either with physical impairments and/or learning disabilities who either already play music using acoustic or electronic instruments, OR already control assistive technology or a communication aid (such as an Eyegaze computer) to a standard that could translate to playing an electronic instrument such as the Clarion.

It’s also for young non-disabled people who already play an acoustic or electronic musical instrument with fluency and flair.

All NOYO applicants need to demonstrate a passion for music, the potential to play a musical instrument with a high degree of control and expression, and a determination to persevere both musically and personally.

I like being in NOYO because they have taught me so much. It has helped me to build my confidence performing and being around others.

Hear it from NOYO musicians

Ella plays the Clarion. Check out her innovative digital instrument, and listen to her Mum Kim’s reasons for supporting Ella through her journey with NOYO and music. With big thanks to Cesca Eaton for the film.

Transcript for the video of NOYO Clarion player Ella

Jaidon plays electric guitar, acoustic guitar and bass, and talks about why it’s worth applying. This video contains some audition footage. With big thanks to Tom Holman for the filming and Bertie Gibbs for the editing.

Transcript for the video of NOYO guitar and bass player Jaidon

Alumni Abbie gives great tips about how to prepare for the audition. This video contains some of her audition footage. With big thanks to Tom Holman for the filming and Bertie Gibbs for the editing.

Transcript for the video of NOYO alumni Abbie

Lizzie who plays in various music groups gives an insight into why she considers the National Open Youth Orchestra to be one of the most creative.

Transcript for the video of NOYO violinist Lizzie

Apply now

We invite young musicians to join the National Open Youth Orchestra through an audition process. We have limited places available in reach region, so it’s important we get to know you and understand if this could be the orchestra for you!

If you’re interested in becoming a Member, a good start is to read one of our previous Applicants’ Information Pack. It gives a lot of useful information about being in the National Open Youth Orchestra, and how to apply.

Alongside Members, we also offer Trainees places to young disabled people with musical potential who we support for up to three years to develop the skills and confidence needed to join the orchestra.

During the audition process, we decide if candidates should be offered a place as Member or Trainee. The application process and the form to fill is the same for everyone.

Due to COVID-19, we’re not sure yet when we will open applications again. If you’d like to receive an alert when we do, please email

In the meantime, read the past Applicants Information Pack to find out more.

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