Parents' Frequently-Asked Questions
- Why are there two orchestras instead of
- For some of our concert pieces all the students
play together in one large orchestra, but because of our wide range of
ages (8 to 18) and skill levels (2 to 14 years of study) we have found
the musical and social experience for all our performers to be better
if we divide into two groups. Each group plays challenging repertoire
of high quality, and each group has equal time with the conductor and
with the coaches. The musical difference is that the Concert
Orchestra plays music that is arranged to include a wider range of
instruments and skill levels. The Symphony Orchestra plays the same
standard repertoire that professional orchestras perform.
- Why do youth orchestras cost
- You might wonder why we ask openly for donations
far in excess of tuition. Sad to say, but most youth orchestras fold
after only a few seasons. Tuition pays for a small fraction of the
costs of running a youth orchestra. Basically, we assemble the
equivalent of a small town of 100 or more people every Sunday for
rehearsals. The organization that requires is considerable. We have a
staff of professional musicians that includes an excellent coaching
staff and our conductor. We depend on our staff to organize
everything from auditions to rehearsals to concert venues. Things
never go according to plan and our staff is great at problem
solving. We have a librarian; you wouldn't believe how complicated it
is to assemble and organize parts for two separate orchestras with
dozens of pieces of music. But first we have to search and buy our
music! We rent rehearsal space and concert halls and are required to
have insurance policies to protect our lessors and our employees. We
print posters and programs. We mail materials to students and parents,
audiences, teachers, and schools. We pay for concert recordings. We
meet continually with schools, teachers, and other organizations like
the Los Angeles Philharmonic to discover and pursue the best
opportunities for our students. Most of this activity and its
associated expenses will remain invisible to you. But when you sit in
the theater amazed at how our orchestra has improved, please know that
it happens because of all the effort going on underneath. That's why
we ask for your help in fundraising.
- Why does the orchestra play two (or more!)
performances of the same music? And the second concert is downtown and
on a week night - that's so difficult for us!
- Performing really focuses the attention of the
performers. Just as attending all of the rehearsals is critical in
building a good performance, a first performance provides an
incredible springboard for the next one. We are fortunate to have our
second performances at Zipper Hall at the Colburn School, a wonderful
performing space. Most performers will never get the opportunity to
play in a place this good, and we get to do it twice a year! Alas, it
is a wonderful space that is not affordable for us on the weekend, so
we take it during the week and count ourselves lucky.
- What should I do if another student is
bothering my child?
- Kids constantly surprise us when they act like
kids, and we do want to help all of our young musicians grow into
responsible and considerate adults. No child here should feel that
acting in a rude fashion is acceptable, or that no help is available
if another child is acting inappropriately. Please let us know if
there is a problem, and in a timely fashion so that we can remedy
things before feelings are irrevocably hurt! The program director is the
one to call for any issue like this one.
- Whom should I contact about other
- Bonnie is the one to contact about lost
music. Find her in the theater just before rehearsals or send a message through "Contact Us".
- Sandi is the one to contact with your
marketing or publicity ideas.
- Russell should be contacted about
repertoire, seating placement, or about a decision to leave the
- Your child's section coach should be
approached at rehearsals with technical questions specific to the
music your child is playing.
- The program director is the one to contact about anything else, in particular: if your child
is sick and will miss a rehearsal, if you have questions about the
time or place of a rehearsal, if you want to place an ad in the
concert program or buy concert tickets, if you want to set up an
audition, if you want to volunteer with the orchestra or if you want to make a donation.
- How do I prepare my sheet music for practice and rehearsals?
- Let's talk about sheet music. Before each semester starts, you should have received copies of the music from us - the librarian can help you with this. At rehearsals, both Russell and your coaches have things to tell you about the music (that's why we have rehearsals.) We want you to spend time writing those things (in pencil, please, so it can be changed!) onto your music, during, the rehearsal, so that you'll remember it. This makes those plastic sheet protectors, though neat and tidy and otherwise spiffy, not a good idea. Instead please punch holes in your music and put it in a binder, with the page numbers on side without the holes - this makes it so that the page turns work. Your coach will check to make sure you've got it right, and it can be fixed if necessary.
- Should I have insurance for my child's
- We recommend that you do so, especially for fragile
instruments like the strings. We need for you to encourage your child
to keep track of his instrument and to make sure that it is put
somewhere outside of the line of traffic. Especially at the Colburn
School there is very little room for instruments and lots of kids
acting like kids (good kids, but still kids.) One source for insurance
is the Musical Instrument Insurance Agency, (800) 421-1283.