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Primary Schools String Orchestra (PSSO)

The Primary Schools String Orchestra (PSSO) provides a tailored playing opportunity for players of string instruments in SA government primary schools.

The PSSO aims to help members:

  • foster a love and understanding of music
  • develop skills in ensemble playing
  • build friendships with other musicians from a broad cross-section of SA government schools
  • perform in concerts and at high-profile venues.

Repertoire for this orchestra includes exciting and challenging music representing a wide range of musical styles. Gaining confidence in performance is an essential part of musical learning.

The PSSO is a touring ensemble (metro and country areas).


All violin, viola, cello and double bass students in SA Government schools, years 5 to 7 in 2020, are eligible to apply. Entry is by audition. Students auditioning for this ensemble might consider also auditioning on the same instrument (in the 1 audition) for inclusion in one of the 2020 Festival of Music Orchestras. Continue reading for more information.

Please note that all positions for cello have been filled for 2020; positions on violin, viola and double bass are available for audition – please see below.


Audition dates for PSSO 2020

Students wanting to audition on violin, viola or double bass must contact the instrumental music leader, Learning Pathways on 0458 185 152 to arrange a booking.

Audition requirements

Students intending to audition must be attending a SA government school and be in years 5 to 7 in 2020 to be eligible to apply.

Students learning from private or department instrumental music teachers are encouraged to audition.

The standard required is beyond beginner level. The duration of each audition is approximately 10 minutes.

Applicants will be asked to present the following:

  1. Scales: All scales and arpeggios are to be played from memory.

    • Any 2 octave scale and its arpeggio detaché whole bows.

    • Any 1 octave scale, slurred 2 notes to a bow and its arpeggio, slurred 3 notes to a bow.

  2. A prepared piece of music chosen to demonstrate current technical and musical ability.

  3. All of the relevant prepared excerpts. Select the relevant instrument to download your excerpts:
  4. A small piece of sight reading, provided at the audition.

All applicants must print and complete the student ensemble application form (PDF 194KB) and bring it to the audition. 

Audition criteria

Orchestra members will be selected based on their ability in these areas:

  • accurate intonation

  • strong clear sound

  • spiccato bowing

  • accurate reading of rhythm, pitch and volume variation

  • good, healthy, accurate posture and hold of the instrument and bow.

Additional skills

  • Shifting for violins and violas to 3rd position, cellos to 4th position.

  • Commencement of vibrato (for violins, violas and cellos).

Want to be in more than one ensemble?

Opportunities to be part of Primary School Music Festival, Festival of Music Orchestras are available for 2020. More information is on the Primary Schools Music Festival website.

To audition once for more than one ensemble:

Want to apply on more than one instrument?

You must book an audition for each instrument you want to apply for. 

Expectations of members

Ensemble members are expected to:

  • participate in all programmed performances and events

  • attend rehearsals and learn music for performances

  • cover the costs of membership, including providing suitable clothing

  • engage positively with the entire PSSO team.

Attending rehearsals

Rehearsals will start in term 1, week 2, 4 February 2020. Rehearsals are on Tuesdays from 4.00pm to 5.45pm, at Mulberry Hall, Norwood Primary School, Osmond Terrace, Norwood.

Members are expected to learn the music before rehearsals. If necessary, they should ask their instrumental music teacher for help.

If a member can’t attend a rehearsal, they should notify the conductor.

Rehearsal and performance uniforms

Members should wear school uniform to rehearsals.

Students must purchase the PSSO uniform top, approximately $45. These will be ordered at the start of the school year.

For performances, members must provide their own performance uniform. This is plain black pants, socks and shoes.

Membership fees

The membership fee for the PSSO is $55 per year (pro-rata).

Instrumental Music Leader, Learning Pathways

Phone: 0458 185 152
EmailEducation.Ensembles669 [at] schools.sa.edu.au