Music for a lifetime: Educating musicians to create a better world



  1. Auditions for initial placement in the Youth Orchestras of Prince Wili?am will be held in the spring after the concert season or in the fall before rehearsals begin; however, new members are accepted throughout the season. Please contact the YOPW office to schedule an audition. Current members must re-audition to move to a different YOPW ensemble. Move-up auditions will be held only in the spring, unless a vacancy must be filled during the season. Members may only audition to move up one level per season.


  1. Section Leaders will be selected by each conductor based on auditions, participation, and leadership skills. Each section leader will have leadership responsibilities beyond those of section members. Principal players of each string section are responsible for checking bowings on individual parts and marking them if missing.
  2. All members of the orchestra are responsible for knowing their assigned part to the best of their ability and should confer with their private teachers and/or section leaders whenever necessary.
  3. Members are responsible for bringing their instruments (including mutes, extra strings, etc. if applicable), their music, a pencil with an eraser and a music stand to all rehearsals. Instruments should be in good working order. All items should be clearly marked with the student's name.


  1. All rehearsals will take place at Gar-Field High School, unless otherwise notified. (Please refer to the Season calendar and weekly announcements.)
  2. The regular rehearsal schedule is as follows:

      • Intro to Preparatory/Preparatory Orchestra/Primo Orchestra/Repertory Orchestra/Cadet Percussion
      • 6:30-7:45 p.m.
      • Concert Orchestra/YSO/Percussion Ensemble
      • 6:30-9:00 p.m.
  3. All rehearsals will begin promptly at the scheduled time. Musicians should arrive at least ten minutes before the start of rehearsals to be seated and tuned.
  4. A short rehearsal break may be scheduled for the Concert and Youth Symphony Orchestras. All musicians are expected to remain in the general rehearsal area and return to the rehearsal room on time.
  5. Rehearsals will conclude at the scheduled times, provided that the rehearsal begins on time. A conductor may on rare occasions extend a rehearsal for several minutes. When rehearsing pieces that do not require full instrumentation, those musicians not playing may be released early or asked to arrive later. In most cases, the conductor will schedule the rehearsal order to allow these dismissals. Whenever possible, these musicians will be notified at a prior rehearsal, by e-mail or by phone.
  6. Absolutely no food or drink is allowed in any rehearsal room. (Water bottles are permitted as needed.)
  7. Musicians will not be permitted to do school work or any other activity during a rehearsal that will affect their concentration or that will distract other orchestra members.
  8. Cell phone use is prohibited during rehearsals and concerts. Any cell phone in the rehearsal or concert space should be silenced or turned off. This policy applies to all musicians as well as parents and other visitors who attend rehearsals and concerts.
  9. Musicians should place their instruments in their cases when they are not in use. Students should not touch other students' instruments without permission. Instruments are fragile, and students are to avoid running or horseplay to reduce the risk of damage to instruments. Read more about insuring your instrument.
  10. Behavior that interferes with concentration during rehearsals is inappropriate and will be addressed by YOPW. If a musician is inadequately prepared or engages in inappropriate behavior, the conductor or coach will speak to the musician and will notify the Executive Director. If the musician does not correct the inappropriate behavior at subsequent rehearsals, the parent or guardian will be notified. If a student continues to misbehave, the Executive Director will schedule a meeting with the musician, parents, and the conductor. Failure to correct behavior after this meeting may result in dismissal from the program.

Sheet Music

  1. Practice copies of music will be posted on the online member board. Students are responsible for making copies prior to the first rehearsal. Close to the starting of the season, and once paid in full, students will receive the user id and password to the online member board via email. Students should sign up for the online member board as soon as they are registered so that they will have access to all ensemble information. Each member will be issued a music folder to hold all practice copies. No original parts may be taken home by any student unless the Executive Director or Music Director has given permission. All practice copies must be returned to YOPW no later than the day of the concert.
  2. Due to copyright restrictions, students must use original printed parts at performances, not photocopies.
  3. There will be a fine for lost or damaged music. The fines will be set at the replacement costs of the music plus postage and any late charges assessed to YOPW for rental music.


  1. An ensemble cannot properly prepare for a performance unless all its members work together at rehearsals. For this reason, attendance at all rehearsals and concerts is required, except in cases of illness or family emergencies. Musicians are expected to be punctual and to remain for the duration of all rehearsals and concerts.
  2. Students are to be in their seats, ready to tune ten minutes before the start of rehearsals and at the specified time following breaks. Two (2) late arrivals will equal one absence for purposes of determining participation in concerts and the YOPW program unless arrangements have been made prior to the absences.
  3. All absences must be called into the YOPW office (703-590-7083) or emailed ( by the student's parent or guardian, no later than 9:00 am the day of the rehearsal. A written note prior to the absence will be acceptable. Any late notice will be considered an unexcused absence.
  4. If you must leave rehearsal before your normal dismissal time, you must present to the Executive Director or Music Director a note from a parent or guardian asking for an early dismissal. Leaving rehearsals early disrupts the orchestra's preparation, is strongly discouraged, and should be done only in the event of illness or family emergency.
  5. Any student leaving at break time without permission will be considered absent for the entire rehearsal.
  6. If a student accumulates absences, the following will apply:
    1. Missing two rehearsals for any concert will result in a warning and parental contact.
    2. Missing three rehearsals or the dress rehearsal for any concert will require the conductor to evaluate the student's preparedness and determine whether the student may participate in the performance.
    3. A cumulative total of six absences at any point in the season will result in an evaluation of whether the student may continue with the YOPW program.


  1. Current tuition fee schedule
  2. There is an additional $200 charge for each student participating in the Chris MacMurray Chamber Program.
  3. A $100 deposit must be paid by May 1 for each current member who wishes to retain a place in the YOPW program for the following season. Deposits for new students who audition for admission to the program are payable at the time of acceptance into YOPW. The deposit is non-refundable and is credited towards the student's tuition.
  4. Any remaining tuition balance is due before the first rehearsal. Please note that all students need to be registered online. There are no more paper forms available. Thank you for helping us little by little become paperless.

    To pay your student tuition balance click here, and follow the instructions below:
    1. In the drop down menu select the number of YOPW students you wish to pay for.
    2. In the drop down menu select 0 for adult.
    3. Click 'book' next to the correct ensemble.
    4. If you already created an account when paying your child's deposit, sign in with your email and password and proceed to complete payment with a credit card.
      Please note, there are no additional fees for paying with a credit card.

    To pay with check or money order:
    1. Please make checks payable to YOPW (Youth Orchestras of Prince William), and mail payment to 4339 Ridgewood Center Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22192.
    2. Please note all payments should be made before the first rehearsal. No payments will be received during opening night.
  5. No refunds of tuition will be issued after the second rehearsal.
  6. Unless prior arrangements are made, failure to remit tuition fees by the date of the first rehearsal may result in suspension from YOPW until fees are paid.
  7. Some scholarships are available. Contact the YOPW office or the Executive Director to apply.
  8. YOPW offers a Tuition Installment Payment Plan for families who wish to pay for tuition over time.

Read More About Tuition and Tuition Installement Payment Plans

Concert Attire

  • Students must wear the specified concert attire for all performances. If a student is not dressed appropriately, he or she may not be permitted to perform or may be reseated for the performance.

    • Preparatory, Primo, and Repertory Orchestras:
      • Ladies – white blouse with long sleeves and appropriate neck line (no sheer sleeves), long, full black skirts, black hosiery, and black shoes. Only cellists may wear slacks.
      • Gentlemen – long-sleeved white dress shirt, with black bow tie, black slacks, black socks, black dress shoes.

    • Concert and Youth Symphony Orchestra:
      • Ladies – long black dresses with or without sleeves. (You may wear a long black skirt and a sleeved-black blouse in place of the dress, as long as it looks like one piece.) Appropriate necklines, no sequins, no sheer sleeves. Only cellists may wear slacks.
      • Gentlemen – black tuxedo or black suit with white dress shirt, black bow tie, black socks, black dress shoes.
    • Selection and Sources of Clothing:

Chris MacMurray Chamber Music Program

  • YOPW will sponsor chamber ensembles (string, brass, and woodwind) to enrich the YOPW instructional program. These groups serve as YOPW representatives for a variety of community service and private events. YOPW supports these ensembles by providing rehearsal space, coaching and loaning music for their use.
  1. This program is open to any musician enrolled in Repertory, Concert or Youth Symphony Orchestras. Musicians interested in participating in this program should inform the Executive Director and prepare to audition on September 21. Audition requirements are the same as those for the orchestra in which the musician participates, except students may select any two of the assigned scales and a solo of comparable difficulty may be substituted for the assigned orchestral excerpts.
  2. The chamber ensembles rehearse once a week with coaching from a professional musician every other week. YOPW will loan sheet music to these ensembles as selected by the coach and the ensemble.
  3. Each group will rehearse standard repertoire for that type of ensemble and is expected to perform annually at the YOPW Spring Recital and may be asked to perform at a minimum of two community service events that serve the Prince William area. Musicians will not be paid for these performances.

    YOPW often receives requests for ensembles to perform at private functions and YOPW books the chamber ensembles for these events. YOPW charges such clients to recover administrative costs and to provide an honorarium for each musician who participates in these performances.

Arrivals Departures and Parking

  1. The designated area for discharge and pick-up of YOPW students is the bus tunnel on the side of the school. If you prefer to park and escort your child in and out of the building, you may enter the building using the doors adjacent to the auditorium.
  2. Please do not park, wait, discharge, or pick up students in the lanes outside the auditorium entrance. This area is poorly lit, and vehicular traffic here creates a hazard for our students. Vehicles stopped here block the view of oncoming traffic for students and parents who are walking between the building and the parking lot. Vehicles that discharge or wait to pick up students in this area will be reminded to move to the bus tunnel.
  3. Gar-Field High School prohibits parents or students from parking or standing in the area between the entrance road and the loading dock area. Please do not drive into the area unless:
    • You are dropping off or picking up materials required for rehearsal or concert support;
    • You have a handicapped permit;
    • You have received explicit permission from the Executive Director to enter this space; or
    • You are loading or unloading a bass or percussion equipment. (If you are carting a bass or percussion equipment, please enter the area only when you are ready to load or unload. When waiting to load, do not wait in this area; park your vehicle in the lot until your student is ready to depart.)
  4. There is a great deal of pedestrian traffic all night at rehearsals, and the lot is poorly lit beyond the loading dock area. When you are entering or leaving the parking lot, please drive slowly to protect the safety of our students. As an additional precaution, we urge parents of younger students to escort their children to and from the building.

Audio/Video Recording of Concerts

  1. Audio and video recording of performances is prohibited. This policy is based on the current copyright and privacy laws and YOPW's licensing agreements. We are committed to providing high quality recordings of our performances at affordable prices as allowed by these restrictions.
  2. Still photography is also prohibited. This policy is based on the current privacy law and the fact that flash photography during a performance is distracting to the performers. If you want to take photographs, you may take them after all performances are over.

Inclement Weather

  1. If Prince William County public schools fail to open or if they close during the day on a scheduled rehearsal day, then that evening's rehearsals will be canceled. However, weather conditions may change during a day when schools are open and make it necessary for us to cancel a rehearsal. In such cases, a bulletin will be placed on the office voice mail system, and notification via email and the website forum will be sent out about 3 p.m. You may assume that the scheduled rehearsal will take place, if we have not provided a notification of cancellation by that time. (Please make sure we have an email address for you that you will be able to check during the day.)
  2. We recognize that our families come from a variety of locations and that many of you travel long distances to attend YOPW rehearsals. We try to learn as much as we can, but we cannot always be aware of road and weather conditions on all your routes. If you feel it is dangerous to attend a rehearsal, please stay home! Your safety is our primary concern.


  1. Seating for each ensemble is at the discretion of the conductor. Each conductor will make the final determine of all seating assignments. Seating decisions will be based on seating auditions, educational objectives, adherence to YOPW policies (especially attendance and behavior), and leadership abilities.
  2. Students who are not present for seating auditions will be seated at the discretion of the conductor.
  3. Concert Orchestra and Youth Symphony Orchestra will hold at least two seating auditions per season. Primo and Repertory Orchestra will hold a minimum of one seating audition per season. Preparatory Orchestra seating is determined on a rotating seating.