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CYSO Policies



In keeping with the purpose of the CYSO to provide a quality musical experience for its musicians, our staff hold all students responsible to themselves, their peers, and ultimately to the music itself. Therefore once young musicians have been selected as a CYSO student, it is their responsibility to:

  • Prepare and practice the music between rehearsals

  • Attend all rehearsals and performances

  • Be seated 10 minutes before the start of all rehearsals

It takes a serious commitment to help ensure a quality musical experience for everyone. Therefore:

  • You cannot have more than three (3) unexcused absences per season

  • You cannot have more than two (2) excused absences per performance cycle

  • You cannot miss the two rehearsals immediately before a performance

  • You cannot miss a dress rehearsal

Excused absences are:

  • Serious illness

  • Death in the family

  • Religious holidays

  • Required school performances where you play the same instrument that you play in CYSO

  • College auditions and visits (this applies to seniors only)

Unexcused absences include, but are not limited to:

  • Sports events

  • Non-music school events

Please tell your Ensemble Manager no less than three weeks in advance when you have an unavoidable conflict.

Inclement Weather Policy

In the event of inclement weather, CYSO will post an announcement on the website banner as soon as possible. Please use this as your first resource. CYSO Managers will also follow up with emails. 

CYSO normally follows AACPS Weather Policy, which is as follows: 

  • If AACPS are closed all day (code red or code blue), CYSO will not have rehearsal as all schools are closed.

  • If AACPS are open one or two hours late, a decision will be made based on conditions by lunch time and based on AACPS after school activities status.

  • If AACPS dismiss early, CYSO will determine whether or not CYSO will hold rehearsal after consult with Bates Middle School.

  • If AACPS cancels after-school activities, please check the CYSO website as CYSO will determine whether or not CYSO rehearsal will take place.


Proper student behavior is expected at all times.

  • Eating, drinking and reading is not permitted during rehearsals.

  • Cell phones must be silenced and put away during rehearsals.

  • Talking and whispering is distracting to other players; no conversations during rehearsals, even while your section is not playing. All musicians need to give their conductor their full attention at all times.

  • Display respectful behavior towards your conductor, ensemble managers, and fellow musicians. If a problem arises, please speak to your ensemble manager, who will address the issue. If the problem persists, contact the Executive Director for assistance.

  • Please remember we are guests in our practice space, and do not touch or use any materials not belonging to you. This includes the pianos, keyboards, and blackboards.


We are asking parents and students to assist in the setup and breakdown of rehearsal spaces.

  • For rehearsals taking place in classrooms, chairs, desks, and stands and some equipment needs to be shifted or moved upstairs from the ground floor storage location to accommodate an ensemble, and then the room needs to be returned to its original layout.

  • For rehearsals taking place in the cafeteria, chairs, stands, and equipment need to be moved upstairs via the elevator from the ground floor storage locations, and then taken back down to the storage area at the end of rehearsal.

Please note that all room assignments are subject to last minute changes throughout the season based on space requirements provided by Bates Middle School.

Ensemble managers, students and parent volunteers are asked to work together to set up and break down all rehearsal spaces. Some ensembles will also provide a map of the space and set-up plans.

The exceptions are:

Chamber Orchestra

SETUP - Ensemble Managers will set up chairs, stands, and equipment, which have been moved to the cafeteria by the stage crew ahead of the rehearsal.

Symphony Orchestra

SETUP - Ensemble Managers will set up chairs, stands, and equipment, which have been moved to the cafeteria by the stage crew ahead of the rehearsal.

BREAKDOWN - students are responsible for putting chairs, stands, and equipment away.

  • Violins & Violas will rack the chairs and move them to the designated ground floor hallway.

  • Cellos & Bass will rack the stands and move them to the designated ground floor location.

  • Brass will move the conductor’s podium, stand, and stool to the ground floor storage closet.

  • Wind & Percussion will move the percussion equipment to the ground floor storage closet.


Instruments and Equipment

  • Students are responsible for their own instruments and equipment. Percussionists are the exception because they only need to supply their own sticks and mallets. They are also responsible for setting up and storing the CYSO- owned percussion equipment.

  • All members must bring a portable music stand to all rehearsals. Please label all stand parts.

  • We encourage parents to insure valuable instruments. CYSO does not assume responsibility for damage to or loss of student-owned instruments and equipment.


  • Music is sent to students by email or made available in the student portal of our website. The exceptions are for the Junior and Senior Flute Ensembles who receive their music from the conductor.

  • Students are responsible for printing their own music copies and keeping them in their CYSO music folder. Students must have their folder and music for each rehearsal and performance.

  • Students should always bring a pencil to make notes.


Students are expected to master their music prior to rehearsals and should ask their conductor and private teacher for help with difficult sections in addition to the following:

  • Listen to your conductor so you know what to practice during the week.

  • Schedule time for practice along with homework and extracurricular activities.

  • Use your home practice time efficiently by focusing—set goals, keep notes, and use a metronome.

  • Come to rehearsal physically and mentally prepared to work.

  • If you are relying on sight-reading after you are first introduced to the music, you are not pursuing a sound strategy.

Students - it is most important that you PRACTICE SLOWLY!

  • Think about how the music makes you feel and express that through your playing.

  • Understand the history of the piece and what the composer is saying.

  • Listen to how your part relates to others and play as a member of your section and of the orchestra as a whole.

  • Pay attention to your posture—it is extremely important to the quality of your music.



Call times are published in the newsletter one month prior to a performance and posted in the calendar. This is the time when ensemble musicians need to be ON STAGE and ready to play. For example, if your call time is 2:30pm, you should plan to arrive 15-20 minutes earlier to get settled and warmed up. If you have an excused reason for tardiness, please let your Ensemble Manager know at least three weeks ahead of time and fill out the form online.


  • Ladies: Formal black long sleeved or three-quarter length sleeved top and ankle length skirt, dress, or dressy pants, black stockings, and black shoes.

  • Gentlemen: Black tuxedo or black suit with white shirt and black bow tie, black socks, and black shoes.

  • Jazz Ensemble only: black long-sleeved button-down shirts, black pants (no jeans), black socks, and black shoes.


  • Please stay for the entire concert. If you must leave prior to the end of the concert, please do so during the intermission.

  • If you must enter or leave the auditorium during the concert, please do so during applause.

  • If you have small children with you who are not able to remain seated or quiet, please take them out of the auditorium.

  • Please be sure to turn off all cell phones and other electronic equipment during the concert.

  • No flash photography is allowed.

  • Video recording and photography are for your private use only and must be done at the back or sides of the auditorium only. Due to copyright restrictions it is a violation of the law if a recorded performance of a copyrighted piece is uploaded to a public location on the internet.

Juries and Seating

Juries will be scheduled during each concert cycle to assess the student’s mastery of the music.

  • Students will meet with two jurors for 5–10 minutes to perform a passage that the conductor has specified in advance.

  • The conductor can chose to change the seating order based on jury outcomes.

  • The Conductor may re-audition the top scoring players to select a Concert Master.

  • If you are not performing at the appropriate level, you may be required to return for a second jury or be asked to re-audition for the ensemble at a future date.

Musician Contract

I commit to abide by the rules of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra as detailed in the CYSO Handbook. I understand that the CYSO maintains professional standards of musicianship and conduct, and I will live up to those standards. I commit to prepare for and attend rehearsals and concerts of the CYSO Orchestra of which I am a member. I understand that more than three (3) unexcused absences are grounds for dismissal. Furthermore, I will not consume alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs while at any CYSO rehearsal or sponsored event. Further, I will cooperate with my peers in the teamwork necessary to build an ensemble of the highest standards of musical accomplishment. I will remain loyal to previous commitments to school, community, and teachers, remembering that these continue to contribute to my achievements.

CYSO Bullying Policy

The Chesapeake Youth Symphony (CYSO) is committed to affording all of our members the highest value musical education and performance experience as possible. To this end, our mission is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all of our students. We respect our students’ varied backgrounds and the life experiences they bring to our organization and similarly expect our students to respect each other and the artistic staff of CYSO. Therefore, any  actions or behaviors to the contrary are completely counter to our mission and our efforts to provide quality experiences for our students.

Effective immediately, CYSO has established guides that we will follow for incidences of bullying. As drawn from a Maryland Department of Education policy, “bullying, harassment and intimidation mean any intentional conduct, including verbal, physical or written conduct, [or shunning], or an intentional electronic communication, that creates a hostile … environment by substantially interfering with a student's … benefits, opportunities or performance, or with a student's physical or psychological well-being. The conduct must (1) be motivated by an actual or a perceived personal characteristic including race, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ancestry, physical attributes, socioeconomic status, familial status, or physical or mental ability or disability, or (2) be threatening or seriously intimidating. Electronic communication means communication transmitted by means of electronic device, including a telephone, cellular phone, computer and pager.” (The full policy can be found here)

Any CYSO student experiencing bullying during a CYSO rehearsal period, performance, or travel under CYSO auspices, or any parent/guardian learning of same, should report the event to the student’s CYSO ensemble manager and complete the form below. If the ensemble personnel manager observes what appears to be bullying, s/he should also complete the form. The manager will report the incident to the Executive Director immediately after being notified by the student or after personal observation and submit the form to the Executive Director within 24 hours. The Executive Director with the Ensemble Manager and or Conductor will do the following:

  • Meet individually with the victim in the presence of his/her parent

  • Verify the bullying with witnesses

  • Meet with perpetrator(s) and parent(s) to include the victim if deemed appropriate in order to mediate a dispute if there is an ongoing problem

If there is a second incidence of bullying after mediation, the Executive Director will report the situation, and submit documentation, to the CYSO Board, which may consider suspension of the offender for the remainder of the current semester or permanent expulsion from CYSO to include a forfeiture of tuition.