Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras (CVYO) Policies and Procedures

2020-2021 Musician’s Handbook


Our Mission:

Reaching and Inspiring Youth through Music: To enrich the current and future lives of Conejo Valley

and surrounding areas youth, of all ages, aspirations and levels, through a unique musical experience,

while also developing key life skills in a setting of mutual respect, learning and fun.


Welcome to the 60th Anniversary Concert Season of the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras!  To those of you who are returning, we are thrilled to have you back.  To those of you who are new, we welcome you and look forward to getting to know you and making music with you this season.


This handbook is intended to give you a brief overview of the policies and procedures of the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras (CVYO).  Answers to most questions regarding registration, auditions, scheduling, ticket sales or concert information can be found on our website,  It is expected that musicians and/or parents visit the site weekly to stay informed about the program.  LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM to get timely reminders!  In addition, you will receive a monthly newsletter via email.  Please be sure to read these emails thoroughly.  If you have further questions, or should you ever want feedback concerning your child’s progress in the orchestra, please feel free to contact us via our website or email us at


Thank you for choosing the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras as part of your musical education. We consider ourselves privileged to work with you!


*Please note: Because of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, our orientation meeting, rehearsal schedules, concert dates, locations and tuition rate may change. Additional logistical procedures for the safety of our musicians may be required.

Rehearsal Schedule

The orchestras rehearse on Thursdays throughout the school year, which consists of two semesters. The first semester begins on September 10th, 2020 and concludes with the January 31st, 2021 concert.  The second semester begins on February 11h, 2021 and concludes with the June 6th, 2021 concert.


Occasionally we ask musicians to come early or stay late.  If the need should arise, we will make every attempt to give you advance notice and post it on the website calendar.


Rehearsal times are as follows:


Conejo Valley Youth Strings 4-5pm

Conejo Valley Youth Preparatory Orchestra 5:15-6:45pm

Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra 7:00-8:45pm

CVYO Virtuosi 8:45-9:30pm

Brass Quintet 6:15-7pm


Note that vacation schedules are set according to our rehearsal venue availability.

Scheduled vacation dates are as follows:

November 26, 2020

December 24 & 31, 2020

February 4, 2021

April 1, 2021

Important Dates

Please mark the following dates and times on your calendar. Musicians are expected to perform at concerts, and attend their scheduled dress rehearsals.  Three or more absences in one semester or failure to appear at a dress rehearsal or a performance may jeopardize their standing with the orchestra, except in the case of an emergency or illness.



Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 7:00pm

Orientation Meeting for new and returning members.   

Westminster Presbyterian Church

We would like to see parents from every NEW and RETURNING musician.  We have had many new and exciting developments.  Come and hear about them!


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Rehearsals begin.


Sunday, October 25, 2020, 12:00 & 3:00pm **

“The Music of Our Future”, free admission children and families concerts/events

Bank of America Performing Arts Center, Scherr Forum

Preparatory Orchestra


Sunday, January 31, 2021, 3:00PM **

“Our Past & Our Future Part I”

All CVYO Orchestras and Ensembles in Concert

Bank of America Performing Arts Center, Fred Kavli Theatre

Compulsory performance and dress rehearsals throughout the day for all musicians.


Sunday, June, 6, 2021, 3:00 PM **

“Our Past & Our Future Part II”

All CVYO Orchestras and Ensembles in Concert

Bank of America Performing Arts Center, Fred Kavli Theatre

Compulsory performance and dress rehearsals throughout the day for all musicians.


CVYO Virtuosi Guest Performances**

  • Sunday in November, 2020, Dialogues Concert, location, date & time TBA

  • Sunday in December 2020, performance with the Westminster Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church, date & time TBA

  • Sunday in December 2020, Messiah Concert, location & time TBA

  • Sunday in February, 2021, Dialogues Concert, location & time TBA

  • Sunday in April, 2021, Dialogues Concert, location & time TBA


** Date, time and location subject to change. We will make every effort to ensure the above performance schedule however, we are subject to the guidelines set forth by the Bank of America Performing Arts Center.  Any changes will be communicated to our musicians and their families immediately.



Tuition is $350.00 per musician, per semester.  On-time discounts are available if tuition is received by CVYO on or before the first rehearsal of each semester.  Families with more than one musician receive an additional discount. Tuition received after the first rehearsal of the semester will not receive on-time discounts. Tuition received two weeks after the start of a semester incurs a late fee. If you are unable to pay tuition by the first rehearsal of a semester, or if you need to make installments, please make alternate arrangements by emailing  Also, please remember that it is CVYO’s policy that no musician will be denied the opportunity to play in an orchestra due to financial hardship.  Please email for further details concerning this matter.     


Early Withdraw

If a musician chooses to withdraw from the program within the first 30 days of the semester, a tuition refund, less a $100 administration fee will be granted. After the first 30 days of the semester there is no tuition refund given for any reason.



It is important to know that tuition collected covers 48% of the total cost per student.  In order for CVYO to maintain a lower tuition rate, every musician is expected to participate in fundraising.  Fundraising represents a large percentage (20%) of our budget, and without it, the orchestras could not function without significantly raising the tuition rate.  It is important that our grantors see that we are actively participating in fundraising.  Philosophically, we believe that fundraising gives musicians a chance to actively participate in the economics of their music education.


Every musician is expected to raise $125 net for the orchestra each semester. For families who choose not to participate in fundraising, they may instead opt-out of fundraising by including a fundraising donation with their tuition payment in the amount of $125.00 per musician, per semester. ($250.00 family maximum per semester)  Fundraising products are offered during the first two weeks of the new semester.


In the event fundraising product is dispersed to a musician and payment for the product is not received by CVYO, the musician will not be eligible to re-enroll until full payment has been made.


Easy ways to help support CVYO:

  • Inquire about and participate in your employers’ “matching donations” program.  (CVYO non-profit  ID#77-0423700)

  • Go to and sign your card up to support the Conejo Oaks Symphony, (CVYO), organization #82282.

  • Shopping on Amazon?  Signup at and choose to support the Conejo Oaks Symphony, Inc.  A percentage of eligible purchases will go to CVYO.

  • Sign up to volunteer for CVYO.  Our volunteers are the heart of our organization!

  • Please consider sponsoring a concert! Sponsorships start as low as $250, are tax deductible, and include concert tickets, recognition as a sponsor and more. Details are available at

·Individual donations are vital to the financial health of the organization.  Any amount will help and is greatly appreciated! Please consider CVYO for your tax deductible, charitable giving this year. (Non-profit ID #77-0423700) 


Rehearsal Guidelines


Musicians are expected to attend all rehearsals and it is a consideration with promotions and seat placements.  We do realize there can be conflicts with school and other activities that musicians are required to attend.  However, families must consider the Thursday rehearsal commitments when scheduling conflicting, optional activities.  Musicians should plan ahead when studying for school tests, etc. If you cannot attend rehearsal due to illness or a school concert, please report the absence 24 hours in advance.  (We realize this is not always possible due to sudden illness.) 

  1. Go to:

  2. Click on “For Musicians”

  3. Click on “Report an Absence”

  4. Complete the form and click “submit”

Musicians with any unexcused absence or three or more absences in one semester may, at the discretion of the conductor, be required to re-audition or may be dropped from the orchestra program.

Preparation for Rehearsal

The intention of the orchestra rehearsal is to focus on ensemble playing, correct style and historical interpretation; it is not to teach individual notes and parts.  Individual practice should take place at home and with the musician’s private teacher, who in most cases will be eager to take an active part in the musician’s orchestral success.  The more a musician works with the private teacher and practices at home, the more the entire orchestra can get down to the business at hand: making music.  A portion of the musician’s practice time should include the use of a metronome, which is now a required tool for our orchestra members.


Sometimes a particular piece of music is problematic and rehearsals for different sections are held individually, but again, the more work musicians put in at home the more we can focus on following the conductor, listening to other parts, blending and playing stylistically correct.


What to Bring to Rehearsals (Cell phones are for emergency only!)

Please bring your instrument(s), a pencil and all of your assigned music in your rehearsal folder to every rehearsal. Missing music and unmarked parts slow rehearsals down considerably. 


Please take good care of the music assigned to you, as much of it is rented CVYO may incur fines for damaged or lost parts.  Always mark your parts in pencil, never pen, do not fold it, keep it in the folder and turn it in the day of the concert.  A pencil should be brought to every rehearsal.  It is unacceptable for musicians NOT to mark their music at their section leader’s, coach’s and conductor’s request, as it is a waste of time when musicians need to be continually told to mark the same things. 


Cell phones may be brought to rehearsal, but, they must be used for tuning only.  ANY OTHER CELL PHONE ACTIVITIES DURING REHEARSALS OR CONCERTS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.  VIOLATING THIS POLICY WILL RESULT IN THE CONFISCATION OF THE DEVICE AND IT WILL NEED TO BE RETRIEVED BY PARENTS!   Repeated violations may result in expulsion from the orchestras.  Taking pictures during rehearsal is NOT permitted at any time.   


When to Arrive at Rehearsal

Please enter the rehearsal room through the center doors facing the courtyard only.  Check the white board for important information.  Arrive at rehearsal early enough to take care of your business (paying tuition, buying tickets, using the restroom, etc),  unpack your instrument, warm up and have your instrument tuned, ( if you need help) and be in your seat by the downbeat.  If your rehearsal is scheduled for 5pm and you are in the parking lot, you are late!  Please be respectful of the conductors and other musicians by being on time.  If you arrive late, sign in on the late arrival sheet so you will not to be marked with an unexcused absence.


Conduct at Rehearsals and Concerts

The musicians of the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras are amazing people and are very well behaved!  On occasion, however, talking can become a problem during rehearsals, which can be a nuisance to the other musicians and to the conductor.  Talking that occurs during rehearsals can significantly reduce the amount of material covered in rehearsal and hinder other musicians’ ability to listen and learn.  Our time is very limited and VERY valuable, so we ask that all non-musical talk take place before and after rehearsals.  No food or drink is allowed in the rehearsal room or in concert venues.  Always remember that we are guests at all of the locations where we meet, and our conduct should always represent appreciation and respect for our hosts.  Musicians can show this appreciation and respect by observing facility rules, staying in designated areas and conducting themselves in a courteous and polite manner.  Musicians must treat our volunteers, staff, coaches and conductors with the utmost respect.  Blatant disrespect will NOT be tolerated and you will be asked to leave. 


Please note: all musicians that perform during the 1st half of a performance are required to stay for the entire performance and will sit with their group in the balcony of the Kavli Theatre. Our volunteers cannot check out musicians mid-performance. Please email at least one day prior to a performance for emergencies requiring an early check out.


*Because the safety and well-being of every member of the orchestra is of the highest priority to us, we ask that you be prompt in picking up your musician.  If you are going to be late in picking up your musician, please plan on parking and coming inside to pick them up.  It is not acceptable for musicians to be waiting outside, alone, especially once darkness sets in.  Please be prompt!  Also, if you recognize other musicians from the orchestras waiting to be picked up, please notify a board member, staff member or conductor.


The Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras have maintained a well respected reputation in our community and has reaped its benefits for 60 years. With your support, we hope to continue well into the future!


Concert Attire

The goal for our musician’s concert attire is that it should be conservative yet elegant, so as not to draw attention to the individual musician, but rather, to enhance the performance with a look of cohesiveness.  Therefore, the following attire is appropriate:


Youth Strings and Preparatory Orchestras:

Young Ladies: Please choose a solid black dress or a black blouse with a black skirt or pants.  The skirt hemline should be below the knee, and dress or blouse sleeves should be at least elbow length, and should not be low-cut or backless.  Shoes should be black and worn with black socks, tights or hosiery.  It is acceptable for Youth Strings members to wear white blouses instead of black.  It is never acceptable to wear tank sleeves, spaghetti straps or midriff-baring tops.


Young Men: Please wear a long sleeve white dress shirt with a dark tie and black or dark slacks, black shoes and socks. Suit jackets are optional for the Youth Strings, but are required for young men in the Preparatory Orchestra.


Youth Orchestra:

Young Ladies: Young ladies in the youth orchestra will need to purchase a performance gown approved by the conductors.  For your convenience, we provide the opportunity for you to fit for and purchase a gown in the month of September. Black shoes and hosiery.


Young Men: A black tuxedo with a black bow tie is preferable; however, a dark suit is acceptable. Black shoes and socks.

Musicians who do not meet the above dress requirements will not be allowed to perform on stage.


Please note:

Other than small earrings, all other piercing and tattoos must be removed or covered when performing.  Again, it is important not to draw attention to any one individual while performing with the orchestra.   


Concert Ticket Sales

Tickets for the CVYO concerts held in January and June are sold at rehearsals three weeks prior to the concert, at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center Box Office and on-line at  It is to your advantage to buy the tickets at the rehearsals as you avoid additional fees and we pull the best seats for our families.  Information about other concert tickets sales will be included in our monthly newsletters.


Participation in School Ensembles

Members of CVYO are highly encouraged to participate in their school orchestra/band program, when such a program exists.  Such participation is vital to the musicians’ success in CVYO and beyond, and is a critical part of a musicians’ involvement in their musical community. Should a student musician not participate in their school music program, they should be prepared to explain why.

Private Music Lessons

It is the policy of CVYO that all its members are enrolled in private music lessons.  Students not enrolled in private lessons will find they are unable to sufficiently develop their technique and musical maturity, and will quickly fall behind their peers. Participation in CVYO will not replace the guidance of a private teacher.  Failure to adhere to a private lesson schedule may jeopardize your standing with the orchestra. 


Principal Player Auditions

Principal Auditions are available for Preparatory and Youth Orchestra string players.Auditions are during the second rehearsal of the semester. Wind, Brass, and Percussion principal auditions are held midway through the first semester. Information and sign-ups are at


CVYO Musician Ambassador Program

The mission of the CVYO Volunteer Musician Ambassador Program is to provide outreach to people in neighboring communities who cannot attend scheduled performances, inspire and act as role models for young children and students, and give CVYO musicians the opportunity to perform in a public setting and in small ensembles. CVYO Student Ambassadors earn community service hours for their participation. Sign-up at


Emergency Procedures

The safety of our musicians is of the utmost importance. Should an emergency arise which would require an evacuation, all musicians will gather at a predetermined site where parents/guardians will be contacted.  All musicians are required to check out with the conductor (or alternate person in charge) before leaving.  Any necessary updates will be posted on, Facebook and Instagram.


Our Conductors/Coaches/Staff and Volunteers

Our Conductors and Professional Coaches

Along with our top-notch Director Emeritus, Maestro Bill Benson, our fabulous Artistic Director, Alexander Tseitlin, and our amazing Associate Conductor, Rebecca Tseitlin, CVYO is blessed to have some of the most talented professional coaches in the business.  Our Conductors and Coaches have performed and taught throughout the nation and the world. They are dedicated, talented musicians who have produced students who have gone on to very successful music careers and lives. Simply too many accolades to mention!  CVYO’s conductors and coaches have one thing in mind –

To Inspire Youth Through Music!


Our Staff

CVYO enjoys a professional staff ready, willing and able to assist.  They are a true asset to the organization.  Along with the day-to-day operations of the orchestras, our staff has one main goal –

To Inspire Youth Through Music!



Our Board of Directors and Volunteers

Volunteers are the heart of CVYO!  (Musicians can volunteer too!)  Every Board position from the President and beyond is a volunteer position.  These are people from all walks of life coming together for one main purpose –

To Inspire Youth Through Music!

Please consider becoming a volunteer or Board Member. 


We have many vacant positions to fill that will take a minimal amount of time.  Our board of directors and volunteers need your help.  Please join us in making CVYO the best it can be!  Pay your tuition on time and volunteer where you can.  YOU will make a difference!  Go to, click on “Support CVYO” then click on “Volunteer/Advertise” to see our needs or, email!  Plan on attending our annual volunteer meeting in September.

Thank you!


Our website: CVYO.ORG

Last minute reminders and information at:

  • and



All musicians and/or parents need to check the website weekly, like CVYO on Facebook and follow CVYO on Instagram.

CVYO communicates important information in a monthly newsletter via email. Please be sure to read these emails thoroughly.


Did you know that CVYO does not advertise? You are our advertiser!

Please take brochures, business cards and fliers (available at rehearsals) to distribute to your friends, family,

schools and businesses.  We appreciate every concert ticket sold!  Should you need additional materials,

please email



About the Musician Agreement

All musicians are required to adhere to the Musician Agreement.  CVYO has grown to such a large number that we are continually turning down musicians for inclusion in the orchestras.  For this reason it is important that all musicians commit to participating in both semesters of the current concert season and attend all rehearsals and performances. It also means, more than ever, that it is a true honor to be a member of the CVYO!  If a musician is not serious about being a quality member of the CVYO, there are other musicians waiting to get into the program who will do what it takes to be quality members.  Therefore, the points of the agreement are what we believe to be the traits that make quality CVYO members.  The musician’s acceptance to our program is considered an acceptance of the agreement terms.  CVYO is dedicated to not only the musical education of its youth, but to the growth of its musicians as people.


Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras

Musician Agreement

Accepting a position in any orchestra/ensemble assumes agreement to the following:


  1. Attendance at both the dress rehearsals and concerts for all published performances. (mark your calendars now!)


  1. Commit to participate in both semesters of the current concert season.


  1. Attend regular rehearsals throughout the season, prepared and ready to rehearse each week.


  1. Report any absences via 24 hours in advance.


  1. Participate in fundraising activities to help finance the orchestra or, opt out with a fundraising donation.


  1. Treat all conductors, coaches, staff, fellow musicians and facilities with the utmost respect.


  1. Maintain lessons with a private music teacher. 


  1. Practice the assigned music and prepare the music to the best of your ability with the use of a metronome.


  1. Stay current and up-to-date on orchestra activities by checking on a weekly basis, liking CVYO on Facebook, following CVYO on Instagram and reading the monthly newsletters.


  1. Follow the dress requirements for concerts as outlined in the Musician’s Handbook.


  1. Consider Thursday rehearsals and dress rehearsal commitments when scheduling additional, optional conflicting activities.  Three or more absences in one semester or failure to appear at a dress rehearsal or a performance may jeopardize your standing with the orchestra, except in the case of an emergency or illness.


Conejo Oaks Symphony, Inc. DBA Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras—PO Box 4502, Thousand Oaks, CA 91359——805.523.8045

non-profit ID#77-0423700

  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Black YouTube Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Twitter Basic Black

Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras

PO Box 4502

Thousand Oaks, CA 91359



© 2017 by Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras