Participation and Attendance Policy

Expectations for Participation 

Your personal progress as a musician, along with the collective progress and success of your ensemble, depends on your FULL participation. By joining SMYOC, you make a commitment both to yourself and to your fellow ensemble musicians to do the following:

  • Participate in all rehearsals (in accordance with the Attendance Policy).

  • Practice your music between rehearsals to achieve mastery of it well before the concert. The primary purpose of rehearsals is to build ensemble skills as you work collectively toward an artful performance of the repertoire. Rehearsals are NOT primarily for individual musicians to learn their parts. Do not plan on learning your parts only during rehearsals!

  • (Instrumentalists): Study with a private teacher if at all possible. Technical mastery of an instrument takes a long time, and private study is key to ensuring skill development and resolving technical challenges.

  • Be on time for rehearsals and ready to participate before the scheduled start.

  • Engage fully in rehearsals: follow instructions, pay attention, avoid distracting talk, put away electronic devices.

  • Support one another: praise good work; offer help and  encouragement when needed; hold each other to high standards.


Attendance Policy 

The SMYOC attendance policy recognizes that school, sports, and family activities may sometimes conflict with SMYOC rehearsals and that many of our students juggle multiple important commitments. We also recognize that unexpected illnesses and emergencies can occur.

However, all absences take a toll on the collective progress and overall success of the group, and therefore we ask you to commit to the rehearsal schedule with a seriousness of purpose and deep sense of commitment to the group. Please go out of your way to avoid absences.

Excused vs. Unexcused Absence

  • Your SMYOC Group Manager will take attendance at every rehearsal. 

  • If absences do occur, SMYOC makes a distinction between Excused and Unexcused Absences.

  • For an absence to be Excused, the Conductor and/or Manager of the group must receive written notification by submitting your notice on the absence report online at least 24 hours prior to the rehearsal in question.

  • If you send a short-notice text or email, the absence may be considered Unexcused.

  • Also be aware that phone reception in some areas of Southern Maryland is exceptionally bad; last-minute texts, calls or emails may not be received.

  • In the event of a sudden absence (such as a family emergency or illness), please notify your Conductor, Manager and/or the Executive Director as soon as possible.

A student should accumulate no more than 3 Excused Absences in a concert season.  

Procedures for Follow-up

When a student is absent without explanation, please anticipate a phone call, text or email from your manager who will try to find out why the student was not at rehearsal. If this happens more than once: 

  • The Conductor, Manager, and/or Executive Director will initiate a conversation with the student and/or parent.

  • After 3 Unexcused Absences, the Conductor and/or Manager will initiate a mandatory conversation/meeting with the student and parent.

  • If there are more than 3 Excused Absences OR more than 2 Unexcused absences, the Conductor may require the student to sit out for the next concert. There is no tuition refund for a student who is asked to sit out for a concert due to excessive absences. 

  • Please be aware that the last 2-3 rehearsals leading up to a concert are extremely important for the group. Students who miss any of the last few rehearsals before a concert, and especially the FINAL rehearsal, whether Excused or Unexcused, may be required by the Conductor to sit out for the upcoming concert.

  • After any missed rehearsal, it is the student’s responsibility to contact fellow musicians, the Manager, and/or Conductor to find out what was missed. The student is responsible for getting caught up on all updates and announcements as well as technical details within the music (e.g. changes to breath points, volumes, tempos, bowing/fingerings, passages rehearsed, etc.)

Make use of absences very sparingly and carefully; individual absence takes a toll on the collective whole.

Late policy

  • It is very important to be on time for all rehearsals. All students are expected to show respect to their fellow musicians by being ready to rehearse at the start time.

  • If a student is repeatedly late, the Manager will communicate directly with the student and/or parents.

  • If a student is late enough to have missed a substantial piece of rehearsal, the Manager may treat the tardiness as an Unexcused Absence.


Weather Policy

In the event that a rehearsal or concert has to be cancelled for inclement weather, the information will be posted on our website and emailed out to SMYOC families. Because we rehearse in public school facilities, we must follow the weather decisions made by the public school system.

Please consult the CCPS website to find out whether or not school has been closed.